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Biodiversity and ecosystems for transformative adaptation action

Biodiversity and ecosystems for transformative adaptation action

Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th November, will be biodiversity day at COP27, focusing on discussions around nature and Nature-based Solutions (NbS)Nature-based Solutions are actions that involve working with and enhancing natural habitats for societal good through restoration, management and protection; such as preserving and regrowing forests, and restoring wetlands and peatlands as carbon sinks, or regrowing mangrove swamps as barriers against storm surges and higher sea levels.

Nature-based Solutions received much attention at Cop26, but this has so far been more muted in Sharm el-Sheikh. The next major UN biodiversity meeting, Cop15, will take place in Canada from 7th December 2022.

Discussions about climate must go hand in hand with discussions about the environment and hence biodiversity. This not only means looking at how to ensure biodiversity is maintained and promoted but also how nature itself can be a vital instrument in climate proofing the planet. 

From ecosystem-based approaches to green infrastructure and urban greening, biodiversity holds the key to solving a wide range of climate related issues. However, understanding the meaning behind such terms as Nature-based Solutions is only the first step.

 Indigenous populations have worked with nature to buffer against the impact of environmental change impacts throughout history. However, only recently has awareness grown that nature can provide a cost-effective way of adapting to climate change whilst also protecting the ecosystem services on which we depend.

Progressively more countries are recognising the value in utilising our natural environment as a major part of the solution to the effects of climate change. In fact, political leaders participating in the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity on September 2020, representing 93 countries from all regions, and the European Union, committed to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. By doing so, these leaders are sending a united signal to step up global ambition and encourage others to match their collective ambition for nature, climate and people with the scale of the crisis at hand.

 On 19 July 2022, the High-Level Meeting “Moment for Nature” witnessed a signed joint statement of 59 countries from all regions, which acted to send a united message to step up global ambition to address the interdependent crises of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and climate change.

New commitments to investing in NbS have recently been unveiled in September 2022, with the launch of international initiatives aimed at catalysing biodiversity finance and conservation. Major initiatives include a ten-point plan for financing biodiversity, endorsed by 16 initial countries; and the next phase of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC for Nature and People 2.0), supporting the protection of at least 30% of land and ocean globally, announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica on behalf of the President of Costa Rica. An accelerator for action on biodiversity was also announced by the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia on behalf of the President of Colombia.

The announcement that Germany is increasing its international biodiversity funding to €1.5 billion per year, represents the highest total international yearly financial commitment of all industrialized countries to biodiversity conservation, so far.

However, with vast sums of money being invested in biodiverse solutions, how do countries, cities, corporations and individuals keep abreast of the changing policy landscape?