Nature-Based Solution and Re-Naturing Cities

Machteld van Dijk

Nature-based solutions harness the power and sophistication of nature to turn environmental, social and economic challenges into innovation opportunities. They can address a variety of societal challenges in sustainable ways, with the potential to contribute to green growth, 'future-proofing' society, fostering citizen well-being, providing business opportunities and positioning Europe as a leader in world markets.

Nature-based solutions are actions which are inspired by, supported by or copied from nature. They have tremendous potential to be energy and resource-efficient and resilient to change, but to be successful they must be adapted to local conditions. Many nature-based solutions result in multiple co-benefits for health, the economy, society and the environment, and thus they can represent more efficient and cost-effective solutions than more traditional approaches.

Four principal goals

Four principal goals have been identified that can be addressed by nature-based solutions:

Enhancing sustainable urbanisation through nature-based solutions can stimulate economic growth as well as improving the environment, making cities more attractive, and enhancing human well-being.

Restoring degraded ecosystems using nature-based solutions can improve the resilience of ecosystems, enabling them to deliver vital ecosystem services and also to meet other societal challenges.

Developing climate change adaptation and mitigation using nature-based solutions can provide more resilient responses and enhance the storage of carbon.

Improving risk management and resilience using nature-based solutions can lead to greater benefits than conventional methods and offer synergies in reducing multiple risks.

Nature-based solutions

Based on the four goals, seven nature-based solutions for R&I actions are recommended to be taken forward by the European Commission and Member States:

Urban regeneration through nature-based solutions
Nature-based solutions for improving well-being in urban areas
Establishing nature-based solutions for coastal resilience
Multi-functional nature-based watershed management and ecosystem restoration
Nature-based solutions for increasing the sustainability of the use of matter and energy
Nature-based solutions for enhancing the insurance value of ecosystems
Increasing carbon sequestration through nature-based solutions

This report was produced by the Horizon 2020 Expert Group on 'Nature-Based Solutions and Re-Naturing Cities', informed by the findings of an e-consultation and a stakeholder workshop.

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