Building climate resilience through nature-based solutions in Europe: A review of enabling knowledge, finance and governance frameworks

Calliari, E. et al. | Climate Risk Management | 2022 | Peer Reviewed | Review |


The European Union (EU) has firmly positioned itself as a global leader in promoting and implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). The recently released EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, and Forest Strategy – all representing key pillars of the ambitious European Green Deal (EGD) – rely on NBS to both preserve and restore ecosystem integrity and increase climate resilience. Although research and policy in Europe have advanced the conceptualization and operationalization of NBS, a much wider adoption is needed to reach the ambitious goals of the EGD and fulfil its vision of transforming into a sustainable, climate-neutral, climate resilient, fair, and prosperous EU by 2050. In this paper, we review recent EU-supported research, policy, and practices to identify critical dimensions that still need to be addressed for greater uptake of NBS. While recognising the multiple societal challenges NBS can target, we build on the key messages from the ‘5th European Climate Change Adaptation conference ECCA 2021′ and focus our analysis on NBS for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. We screen a wide range of NBS cases across the EU and identify-three core challenges to implementation: the lack of a comprehensive evidence base on the effectiveness of NBS to address targeted challenges; the need for a greater involvement of the private sector in financing NBS; and opportunities for enhancing stakeholder engagement in the successful design and implementation of NBS. We take these challenges as the starting point for a broader reflection and critical discussion on the role of i) knowledge, i) finance, including investments in NBS and divestments from nature-negative projects, and iii) governance and policy frameworks to enable the uptake of NBS. We conclude by identifying options for the EU to foster the uptake of NBS in research, policy and practice.