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World - What Is Holding Back the Promise of Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation?

The case is increasingly clear that nature-based solutions offer cost-effective ways to address climate change adaptation. This perspective piece examines the issues that deserve greater attention to expand the use and financing of such measures.

The benefits of using green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to address the adaptation needs arising from climate change are increasingly clear. Such projects have been shown to be cost effective, to provide social benefits, and also to mitigate emissions that contribute to climate change.

Meanwhile, the need is great. According to the Climate Policy Institute, an estimated $180 billion annually will be needed over the next decade to cover the cost of adaptation – a figure that the public sector cannot meet on its own. In recognition of the shortfall, finance mechanisms have surfaced to fund nature-based solutions by enabling investment from a range of private and public-sector actors.

So, why are so few projects in the pipeline?

The problem is certainly not a lack of interest. More than 150 people attended a recent seminar on the subject that I helped to organize with the UN Environment Programme and The Nature Conservancy at Climate Week NYC. Our seminar on private-sector adaptation finance and nature-based solutions in coastal areas (recording here) is one of many events, such as Financing Nature Based Solutions for Water Security and Financing Blue Carbon, that have recently explored the issue.

These events raise matters that must be addressed to generate greater investment in nature-based solutions, particularly in coastal and marine areas, and to capitalize on the potential of these strategies. Discussions at the Climate Week NYC seminar raised key insights about issues that should be high on the agenda.

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