Benefits of Evaluating Ecosystem Services for Implementation of Nature-based Solutions Under the Paris Agreement

Gupta, H. and Dube, L. C. | Social-Ecological Systems (SES) | 2021 | Book (chapter) |


Ecosystems provide a variety of provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural services which are key to climate change adaptation and environmental sustainability. Current trends of biodiversity loss and overburdened natural ecosystems further challenge climate adaptation in the developing world. Scientists are trying to develop their understanding of the relationships among different ecosystem services provided by diverse ecosystems given its vital importance for landscape management, decision-making and policy development. The mechanisms in complex socio-ecological systems and their mutual impact have still not been studied, especially from the climate perspective. However, Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are increasingly gaining importance in climate debates, but methods to bring them into the Paris Agreement’s market and non-market mechanisms are still unclear. Evaluating the ecosystem services in nature-based solutions would instill confidence into the climate strategists, investors, financers and buyers for market and non-market approaches. Such evaluation could include socio-economic parameters so as to also benefit the livelihoods of the local communities. Monitoring of carbon regulating services and provisioning services will help in establishing robust market mechanisms. On the other hand, evaluating social and cultural benefits of the ecosystems are more beneficial for SDGs and non-market mechanism of the Paris Agreement. UNFCCC COP-26 will be instrumental in deciding the guidelines for the much-awaited Paris Mechanisms. In light of the rising concerns regarding the NbS, this chapter discusses the emergence of such a mechanism and assesses the need for the development of appropriate indicators and evaluation of ecosystem services to better monitor NbS projects. Such monitoring and evaluation could be helpful in drawing the benefits of the Paris Mechanisms and climate finance through avenues such as the green climate fund in the post-2020 period.