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Guidance Document

IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions


Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a powerful ally to address societal challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and food security. As the world strives to emerge from the current pandemic and move towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we need to ensure that future investments in nature reach their potential by contributing to the health and well-being of people and the planet. To this end, and with growing interest by governments and businesses to adopt and apply NbS, the first-ever IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions was developed to guide users through NbS applications and set benchmarks for their progress.

Through public consultation reaching hundreds of stakeholders from 100 countries, the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions was developed to be facilitative, incentivising and enabling users to implement strong Nature-based Solutions.

The IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions is a self assessment that consists of eight criteria and associated indicators, which address the pillars of sustainable development (biodiversity, economy and society) and resilient project management. The document is accompanied with an in-depth Guidance that instruct users how to perform a self-assessment with the standard to (i) design new NbS, (ii) upscale pilots by identifying gaps and (iii) verify past projects and future proposals. The output comes in the form of a percentage match compared against good practices, with a traffic light system to identify areas for further work and adherence to the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions.

The governing body of the IUCN Global Standard will be responsible for revising the criteria every four years, enabling improvement and incentivising engagement with the Nature-based Solutions approach across sectors.

Reference information

IUCN website
International Union for Conservation of Nature

Published in Climate-ADAPT Feb 23 2021   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Nov 01 2022

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