Nature Based Solutions: Opportunities in a time of biodiversity crisis and climate emergency

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 09:30

Last year, Ireland and CIEEM declared a climate emergency and biodiversity crisis with Northern Ireland doing in early 2020. These declarations recognised that both crises are inextricably linked and cannot be addressed in isolation. It is vital, as never before, that the work of CIEEM, its members and our professions continue to be at the forefront of targeted action. We believe that Nature-based solutions (NbS) must play a key role and we are happy to announce this as the theme of the Irish Conference 2021.

NbS received extra support in the recent publication of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill in Ireland. This new Climate Bill explicitly contains a clause to allow for climate action funding to be granted for projects that “support projects that seek to increase the removal of greenhouse gas, particularly nature-based solutions that enhance biodiversity”. And with a new Climate Act for Northern Ireland being expected in 2021, we want to take this opportunity to explore what is currently happening on the island of Ireland and where we can better implement NbS in our work.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines Nature Based Solutions (NbS) as “actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems, which address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”

These can fall into five categories:

  • Ecosystem restoration approaches: ecological restoration, ecological engineering and forest landscape restoration
  • Issue-specific ecosystem-related approaches: for example, climate adaptation
  • Infrastructure-related approaches: green infrastructure and natural infrastructure
  • Ecosystem-based management approaches: integrated coastal zone management and water resources management
  • Ecosystem protection approaches: area-based conservation