Nature-based Solutions: the new kid on the block

A common example of a nature-based solution in the Cook Islands is planting of vegetation, such as coconut or toa (ironwood) trees, along the coastline to act as a buffer against strong sea surges and reduce impacts of coastal erosion.
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Nature-based solutions (NbS) are actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, which address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services, resilience and biodiversity benefits.

NbS at its core has existed in many countries but the terminology, as defined in the UNEA Resolution 5/5 mentioned above, is new. A common example of a nature-based solution in the Cook Islands is planting of vegetation, such as coconut or toa (ironwood) trees, along the coastline to act as a buffer against strong sea surges and reduce impacts of coastal erosion. This improves resilience and adaptation to climate change impacts and can provide benefits to both nature and people.

NES Biodiversity Co-ordinator, Jessie Nicholson, attended the Final Intergovernmental Consultations on Nature-based Solutions in Nairobi last month. The five main themes discussed at the consultations were 1) Best practice; 2) Standards and criteria for NbS; 3) Measuring benefits and costs; 4) Finance for NbS; 5) Opportunities and obstacles: NbS and climate mitigation; and lastly 6) Policy for NbS. 

Jessie noted “the consultations provided valuable insight to the experiences and challenges of implementing NbS by many countries. The value of traditional knowledge and cultural practices in providing local communities with resilience to environmental change was highlighted by many delegates to guide future NbS actions, as was the need for securing finance for NbS through public, private and aid funds”.

NbS will be mainstreamed into the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan that will be reviewed and updated by 2025.To learn more about the consultations, see here

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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