The Biden administration announced the release of its Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap, with recommended actions including updating policies and unlocking funding to increase the deployment of nature-based solutions to address climate change.

The announcement, made at the COP27 climate conference by President Biden’s National Climate Task Force chair John Podesta, marks the U.S.’ first strategy to scale up nature-based solutions.

Nature-based solutions, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), are “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.” The solutions are one of the key tools to help meet global decarbonization goals, with projects that are typically included in the definition encompassing those focused on redeveloping forests or wetlands, which protect or transform land, improve biodiversity, and enable nature to absorb CO2 from the environment.

Despite the potential impact and effectiveness of nature based solutions to address climate change, however, the new Roadmap points out that “they are not adopted at the scale and pace that are both possible and urgently needed.” The Roadmap highlights several challenges to accelerating nature-based solutions, including insufficient awareness causing options to be overlooked, regulatory and policy hurdles that may inadvertently promote conventional solutions over nature-based solutions, difficulty accounting for costs and benefits, particularly in light of the long-term nature of nature-based solutions’ impact, insufficient funding, limited knowledge and skills, and a need for more research into solutions’ effectiveness.

According to the Roadmap, “Addressing these six challenges would help drive a dramatic increase in the use of nature-based solutions.”

In order to address these challenges, the new strategy focuses on several key strategic areas for action, including updating federal policies and guidance to make it easier to consider and adopt nature-based solutions, and recommending that Federal agencies do more to prioritize nature-based solutions in funding decisions. For the government’s own facilities, the Roadmap recommends expanding the use of nature-based solutions in the design, retrofitting, and management of federal facilities. The Roadmap also provides recommendations to expand educational and workforce training offerings related to nature-based solutions in the government and private sectors, and for federal agencies to advance research and innovation on nature-based solutions.

In a statement announcing the release of the Roadmap, the White House said:

“President Biden is committed to unlocking the full potential of nature-based solutions for achieving climate goals and combatting nature loss, especially for communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental injustices.”

Click here to access the Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap.

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