Nature-based solutions are also highlighted in the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change that was recently adopted by the European Commission.
How nature can protect us
Many countries are already restoring nature in river valleys and uplands to reduce downstream flooding risks. In coastal regions, natural vegetation helps to stabilise coastlines, while re-forestation is increasingly used for storing carbon. Nature is also brought back into cities by greening urban spaces or reopening old canals or rivers, which increases resilience to heatwaves and brings additional health and wellbeing benefits. Despite their increasing prominence, nature-based solutions could be mainstreamed further, the report notes.
Other key findings of the report
- An EU-wide mapping of existing and potential nature-based solutions can help to identify priority areas for enhancing ecosystem services and addressing climate change and biodiversity loss concerns.
- Agreed standards, quantitative targets, measurable indicators and evaluation tools for nature-based solutions at EU level can help to assess progress, effectiveness and multiple benefits.
- As nature-based solutions depend on healthy ecosystems, which are themselves vulnerable to climate change, their potential for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction may decline in the future.
- Stakeholder involvement, dialogue and co-design of tools and measures are key to increase awareness, to resolve potential stakeholders’ conflicts and to create social acceptance and demand for nature-based solutions.
- Further implementation of nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Europe requires development of technical standards, increased knowledge of potential trade-offs, collaborative governance, capacity building and sufficient funding.