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Source: Small Island Developing States

19 September 2019: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the University of Oxford have published a report on the role of nature-based solutions (NbS) in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Titled, ‘Nature-based Solutions in Nationally Determined Contributions,’ the report overviews current levels of ambition inclusive of NbS and discusses how they can be used to further global climate action.

The report finds that “although two-thirds of Paris Agreement signatories include nature-based solutions – actions to protect, restore and sustainably manage the world’s ecosystems – in their national climate targets, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement – these are currently not substantive or stringent enough.”

The report further concludes that NbS synergies in adaptation and mitigation are underused, and there is a major opportunity to scale them up in a range of carbon-rich ecosystems, beyond forests. It suggests that wealthier countries may have a significant opportunity to increase ambition on NbS in their NDCs, and recognizes the urgency of enabling these solutions with the right conditions and enhanced finance.

“Countries cannot afford to overlook nature’s full potential to help the world mitigate and adapt to climate change,” said the IUCN Acting Director General.

The report recommends to:

  • Build on the increasing global recognition of the importance of ecosystems for addressing both climate change mitigation and adaptation, and fully incorporate NbS into future NDCs;
  • Include NbS actions across a wide range of naturally occurring ecosystems;
  • Step up NbS actions that address climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as support sustainable development and biodiversity conservation;
  • Include more specific, measurable and robust NbS targets in NDCs and associated national implementation plans;
  • Align NDCs with other relevant national plans and international processes;
  • Mobilize funding; and
  • Include key NbS-relevant information in revised or new NDCs.

Speaking on the report, IUCN Acting Director General Grethel Aguilar said that, “countries cannot afford to overlook nature’s full potential to help the world mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

The report was published ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit. [Publication: Nature-based Solutions in Nationally Determined Contributions: Synthesis and Recommendations for Enhancing Climate Ambition and Action by 2020] [IUCN Press Release]

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