“Nature-based solutions are often seen as simply being a matter of mitigation or climate offsetting,” says Lucas Black, WWF’s vice president for climate finance. “But for us, it’s about a lasting relationship with a landscape or seascape that meets the funding needs in full and creates multiple benefits for people. Climate change mitigation is just one of many benefits.
Braña Varela agrees. “Serving people and nature is central to our work, as well as climate impacts,” she says. “For example, we must ensure that the frenzy around carbon markets does not lead to the disregard of indigenous rights.
“We need lasting partnerships on the ground,” says Braña Varela, “to balance the needs of nature, people and the climate. It’s the difference between just measuring carbon and ensuring benefits are shared with local people, monitoring if biodiversity is increasing, assessing trade-offs, and so on.
“We also need to look at water supply and quality, soil health – we look at the benefits and the risks in full,” Black says. “It’s not just tons of carbon sequestered or emissions avoided, it’s a greater good, valuing and protecting natural capital on the ground based on rigorous science and measurement.”
The WWF approach
In practice, WWF’s approach to nature-based solutions is holistic, landscape-based and community-centred. Ensuring that interventions deliver real and lasting gains for nature and people requires
- deep engagement with local governments and communities
- concepts and plans that use the best science and measurements available
- clear and measurable objectives that quantify the impact
- forward-looking plans that ensure that project interventions are self-sustaining and deliver the expected benefits in the future