Ask Oppla question by Sander Jacobs

How can I avoid that advocating nature based solutions will speed up classic development and long term damaging effects versus positive (sustainable) effects?


The aim of nature based solutions (NBS) is to provide ways of working with development to that these solutions are sustainable and that a range of positive effects are realised. This is reflected in the EU's Expert Group on NBS (link to report who defined NBS as aiming 'to help societies address a variety of environmental, social and economic challenges in sustainable way'. In this report (Annex 3) there is a list of actions that could be considered NBS.

I think the key role of NBS is to demonstrate that there are alternatives to conventional forms of development that can be based on nature and bring multiple benefits. These, therefore, if properly devised and implemented should not lead to 'classic development' and should lead to positive effects. There is an increasing body of evidence and examples that demonstrate this (there are some examples in Annex 4 of the report).

Posted on: 3 Mar 2016 - 15:23

The key to this is to clearly demonstrate and communicate the benefits to users of applying NBS over technical measures.

Posted on: 3 Mar 2016 - 16:23

I agree with Pam and Ben, BUT, the question was 'how to avoid', which is more subtle than stressing the positive side of NBS. We have seen and experienced caveats and perrils in the application of ES concept -also assumed intrinsically positive- , so how to take these lessons forward? Can we find a way to 'check base', to verify is a certain NBS scenario has been doing better (sustainability/planetary boundary speaking) compared to a business as usual, and is there a way to 'build this in' into protocols?  

Posted on: 3 Mar 2016 - 17:23