Existing ecosystem-based initiatives at EU level

1. Ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA)

The EU Adaptation Strategy recognises multiple benefits of ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation. Ecosystem-based adaptation is defined as "the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.” [CBD 2009]

For more information visit the European Commission webpages on Adapting to Climate Change

2. Green Infrastructure (GI)

Green Infrastructure is defined as a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. It incorporates green spaces (or blue if aquatic ecosystems are concerned) and other physical features in terrestrial (including coastal) and marine areas. On land, GI is present in rural and urban settings.

For more information visit the European Commission webpages on Green Infrastructure

3. Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM)

Natural Water Retention Measures are multi-functional measures that aim to protect water resources and address water-related challenges by restoring or maintaining ecosystems as well as natural features and characteristics of water bodies using natural means and processes. The main focus of applying NWRM is to enhance the retention capacity of aquifers, soil, and aquatic and water dependent ecosystems with a view to improve their status. The application of NWRM supports green infrastructure, improves the quantitative status of water bodies as such, and reduces the vulnerability to floods and droughts. It positively affects the chemical and ecological status of water bodies by restoring natural functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide. The restored ecosystems contribute both to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

For more information visit the European Commission webpages on Natural Water Retention measures

4. Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (ecoDRR)

The European Commission promotes ecosystem-based approaches that contribute to the conservation, enhancement and restoration of biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystems services in urban, rural, coastal and natural areas. These initiatives constitute a positive and cost-efficient way of supporting disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, while often providing significant co-benefits in terms of climate change mitigation or human health, safety and well-being.

The European Commission document on Disaster Risk Reduction

5. Nature-Based Solutions (NBS)

Nature-based solutions to societal challenges are solutions that are inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience. Such solutions bring more, and more diverse, nature and natural features and processes into cities, landscapes and seascapes, through locally adapted, resource-efficient and systemic interventions. Nature-based solutions must benefit biodiversity and support the delivery of a range of ecosystem services.

For more information visit the European Commission webpages on Nature-Based Solutions