IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions

IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions
Local people must be at the heart of nature-based solutions.

On 23rd July 2020 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launched a Global Standard for nature-based solutions (NbS). Through a two-year consultation process involving almost 1000 people, IUCN created this set of criteria to define what constitute successful and sustainable NbS. They can be used as guidance by governments, businesses, NGOs, communities and individuals who fund, plan, assess and implement NbS.

This is the first set of coherent guidance on how to design and implement NbS. It is therefore a crucial step in increasing clarity and precision of what the NbS concept encompasses, and how it can be successfully implemented. This helps distinguish NbS projects from other similar projects, and provides a simple tool for improving the quality of NbS projects. The Standard also acts a framework for learning how to improve NbS and sharing this knowledge globally in a structured manner.

The Standard consists of eight criteria:

  1. Identifying the societal challenge to which the NbS responds
  2. Designing the solution to respond to the geographic, ecological, social and economic scale of the issue
  3. Ensuring environmental sustainability
  4. Ensuring social equity
  5. Ensuring economic viability (criteria 3-5 are the three pillars of sustainable development)
  6. Balancing trade-offs between short- and long-term benefits
  7. Ensuring adaptive management
  8. Increasing sustainability by mainstreaming the NbS into policy, and linking to national targets of international commitments

These criteria are broken down into a total of 28 indicators.

The first addition of the framework can be found here, accompanied by in-depth guidance here. A self-assessment tool will allow users to calculate the extent to which a given intervention meets the eight criteria of the Standard.

Read the IUCN summary here, and Nature4Climate commentary here.