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Nature-based Solutions - State of the Art in EU-funded Projects

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Nature-based Solutions - State of the Art in EU-funded Projects. Independent Expert Report. December 2020. Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission). DOI
10.2777/236007

  • Edited by Tom Wild, Tiago Freitas and Sofie Vandewoestijne
  • Authored by Tom Wild, Harriet Bulkeley, Sandra Naumann, Zoran Vojinovic, Carlo Calfapietra and Kym Whiteoak

Between November 2019 and May 2020, six independent experts undertook the analysis of EU-funded projects in the area of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in order to assess their impact and valorise their results. Their work highlights the added value and policy relevance of EU-funded NBS projects. Working closely with European Commission expert staff and supported by the network of Horizon 2020-funded NBS projects, the experts have produced six sectorial reports and a final consolidated report.

EU research and innovation projects were scanned for results pertaining to key areas such as biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation (including flooding), water quality, air quality and microclimate, and sustainable communities. The reports contextualise the reviewed projects by presenting the state of the art in the sector, including policy developments, research results and key lessons learnt. The resulting evidence base includes figures and monetary values showing the relative cost-effectiveness of NBS and exploring how they support policy implementation.

The reports also identify knowledge gaps and propose policy recommendations to strengthen strategies and actions for the uptake of NBS, in order to deliver targeted and efficient interventions that can contribute to solving societal challenges in Europe and beyond.

Sectorial reports:

Biodiversity and nature-based solutions - This report presents evidence on NBS benefits and successes in the domain of biodiversity, climate and other policy objectives as well as to sustainable transition processes. 

Nature-based solutions for climate mitigation - This report explores how Nature-based Solutions can contribute to climate mitigation through storing and sequestering carbon and through reducing energy demand. 

Nature-based solutions towards sustainable communities - This report examines how far Naturebased Solutions can contribute to transformative action for sustainable communities. It examines how such initiatives enable participation and inclusion in the design and implementation of sustainability at the local level and the extent to which the outcomes of NBSs are transformative for communities. .

Nature-based solutions for microclimate regulation and air quality - Air quality and temperature significantly affect human health, especially in urban areas. This report highlights different kinds of Nature-based Solutions that help improve air quality and regulate microclimate and that present a combination of other environmental and social benefits, including mental health.

Nature-based solutions improving water quality & waterbody conditions - This report presents evidence on Nature-based Solutions improving water quality and waterbody conditions, and highlights how NBS can support water policy implementation.

Nature-based solutions for flood mitigation and coastal resilience - This report presents evidence on the contribution of Nature-based Solutions to flood mitigation and coastal resilience and highlights how NBS can support flood-related policy implementation.

Final summary report:

Nature-based Solutions - State of the Art in EU-funded Projects - This report summarises outcomes from the EC individual expert reports delivered through its ‘Valorisation of NBS Projects’ initiative. EU research and innovation projects were scanned for results pertaining to key areas such as biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation (including flooding), water quality, air quality and microclimate, sustainable communities, innovative governance and business models, and market challenges and solutions. Evidence from the reviewed projects (and the EC’s NBS policy topic area) is framed within knowledge from the wider literature, to give as full a picture as possible about the state of the art. Contextualised information is provided on policy developments, research results and key lessons. The resulting evidence base includes figures and monetary values showing the relative cost-effectiveness of NBS, and exploring how they support policy implementation. Policy recommendations and knowledge gaps are also highlighted to support the strengthening of strategies and practical action for the uptake of NBS, to deliver targeted and efficient interventions to help solve societal challenges in Europe and beyond

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