Nature-based Solution is a key approach to improve climate resilience and environmental protection

Published: Mar 6, 2024 Reading time: 4 minutes
Nature-based Solution is a key approach to improve climate resilience and environmental protection
© Photo: Jan Mrkvička

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are defined by IUCN as solutions that “address societal challenges through actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems, benefiting people and nature at the same time”. 

At PIN, we understand Climate resilience as the “capacity of social-ecological system and its human components (individuals, households, communities) to anticipate and absorb external shocks and stresses while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, and transformation toward low carbon societies”.

In that sense, Nature-based Solution is a key approach to improve climate resilience and environmental protection.

We know that in the countries where we work, climate change and environmental degradation is affecting people who extensively rely on natural resources for their lives and livelihoods, raising gender inequalities and disproportionally affecting already vulnerable groups. Furthermore, the complexity of interactions in the ecosystems can lead to emergent properties that keep the ecosystem resilient to stresses and changes. In even more complex socio-ecological systems, it is therefore necessary to keep complexity of interactions and diversification at all levels, and investing in nature is an utmost priority to ensure a system can cope with, adapt and transform to emerging challenges.

At PIN we want to build on NbS with an ecosystem approach to promote restoration and improvement of ecosystem services that can give necessary benefits to the people directly or indirectly depending on these. People disproportionally affected can become active players in this positive change and benefit of an inclusive and participatory approach. This integrated and holistic approach is also part of PIN’s flagship “Productive & Climate-resilient Landscapes (PCRL)”, where NbS at community and household scale can found a solid background.

Some key initiatives are listed hereinafter:

• We can count on a multi-year long-lasting initiative in the central highlands in Ethiopia funded by the Czech Development Agency to support the environment, livelihoods and agriculture. This long-lasting programme is recently capitalising and adjusting the lessons learnt and good practices in agriculture and natural resource management to improve climate resilience of smallholder farmers. The practices at individual and community level have their roots in NbS, focussing on soil and water conservation, watershed restoration, anti-erosion biological measures. This programme can also contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester and stock carbon. Some lessons learnt can be found in the document “Best Practices in Landscape Management

• We are leading a Conservation Livelihoods initiative in the Western Province in Zambia in partnership with WWF, thanks to the support of the Jersey Oversea Aid. The “Enhancing Livelihoods Opportunities through Ecosystem Protection” is built on having an integrated approach for self-reliance of local communities that can enhance the protection of a unique ecosystem such as the Barotse floodplains. The intervention is leveraging NbS to unlock the potential of conservation and ecosystems protection as livelihoods, working on floodplains, rangelands and forests. As a result, this will bring socio-economic benefits to local communities and preserve these complex ecosystems. The adoption of household solutions for cooking, such as biogas and fuel-saving technologies, and bioslurry as soil amendment, together with participatory planning and management of natural resources, cannot only provide NbS to develop local communities, but also finally lower the human pressure on key resources such as forests and rangelands.

• We are investing resources that can improve our in-house knowledge on climate stresses and shocks through our internal Toolkit on gender and social inclusive climate vulnerability assessment (GESI-CVA). The main aim is to feed our initiatives by evidence-based data. As a result, some main recommendations are suggesting to take NbS and EbA (Ecosystem-based Adaptation) approaches to help people adapt to climate change and face environmental challenges. Some examples can be found in Iraq, where the need to promote NbS is recommended for future programming in Iraqi farmlands also to help farmers stay rather than migrating in search for more favourable conditions.

• We are allocating internal funding to promote innovative NbS:

o in Zambia, we are piloting biochar production and its application to soil. We intend to: enable small-scale farmers producing maize to improve their income from sustainable farming, improve the soil conditions and increase resilience to droughts and increase yields, remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soil as stable carbon.

 o In Democratic Republic of Congo, we are testing the substitution of hardwood charcoal by bamboo charcoal to reduce deforestation. The fast-growing bamboo is also contributing to limit the soil erosion in an area affected by landslides and deforestation.

o In Cambodia, we advocate for and support local authorities and communities in the creation and maintenance of green community spaces at neighborhood and metropolitan scales to build stronger and more resilient urban communities. We conducted a study on Urban Green Spaces recommending to pilot innovative collaborations with the private sector and to conduct participatory redesign and optimization of existing urban green spaces

Autor: People in Need

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