The United Nations called for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration for the protection and revival of ecosystems around the world and for the benefit of people and nature. To achieve global goals it aims to halt the degradation and restore the ecosystem.
Whereas, nature-based solutions or NbS are actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.
Though conceptually, NbS is not a new thing, however, this term has been getting popular in academic discourses and policy realm in recent years.
NbS in 2020
In Bangladesh, discourses on NbS have been going on for a while. In 2020, in between the Covid pandemic and its consequences, various initiatives on climate emergency and disaster management took place in this country. In an Op-Ed, Haseeb Md Irfanullah wrote about three milestones regarding NbS in Bangladesh.
Firstly, a portal on NbS activities in Bangladesh was launched, which became a repository of various NbS related documents and publications. This platform, in collaboration between the University of Oxford, UK and the Bangladesh-based International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), helps to mainstream nature-based Solution along with building a network on this issue.
Secondly, there were plenty of publications and discussions all along the year which made the topic popular among the researchers, especially young researchers. Finally, the third milestone for NbS in 2020 took the NbS conversation to a higher level, in policy and advocacy realm so that this can be integrated with the country’s planning processes.
The year 2021 followed the path of the previous year. This article will capture some insights from the first year of the third decade of this millenia, in terms of nature-based solutions.
Scientific articles and policy briefs
Like 2020, last year there were some scientific peer reviewed journal articles and policy briefs published on NbS. In November 2021, a systematic review article published in the journal named ‘Frontiers in Environmental Science’ by AC Smith and five other authors to address the knowledge gaps in terms of NbS and climate actions specifically focused on Bangladesh.
In Mid-2021, an policy analysis by Islam et al published in the ‘Journal of Science Policy and Governance’, which reviews relevant national level policy documents from past three decades to investigate NbS as a potential framework to address climate change and societal challenges. Both of the articles have reviewed documents to provide a clear cut view on NbS and Bangladesh in the scientific and policy realm.
A policy brief on tackling climate change with nature-based solutions in Bangladesh was also published in 2021, with some recommendations for the policy makers focusing on four success factors.
Newspaper reflections and op-eds
In january 2021, the Bangladesh-based publication Climate Tribune, a climate change focused monthly magazine, declared a special issue on nature-based solutions, where authors wrote about various sides of NbS interventions.
There were articles about NbS and locally-led adaptation, Urban NbS, Climate-induced displacement and NbS, environmental restoration and refugee protection, carbon capture, indigenous knowledge, financial aspects of NbS, and financial aspects of conservation actions. There were other articles and op-eds on NbS published all along 2021.
In the Daily Star, an article published on urban NbS to promote NbS for towns and cities which are exposed to various disasters. Another article covered the opportunity of NbS to fight disasters in the Indian Ocean region.
In February another article on NbS showed the potential of floating agriculture as a Nature-based Solution. Finally a very recent article which connected the dots between nature and prosperity in Bangladesh, also talked about the Nature-based Solutions.
Conferences and symposiums
In January 2021, International Centre for Climate Change and Development hosted a session at Gobeshona Global Conference 1 on building capacity for NbS. The session focused on enhancing the understanding on NbS implementation and ways to increase them. NbS also was a matter of talk in the COP26, which was held in the last quarter of 2021. In a press release, it has been said that the Nature-based Solutions win in science and on the ground.
Grants and projects
In august 2021, ICCCAD received a short-term small-grant on “Understanding the economic recovery potential of nature-based solutions (NbS) in Bangladesh”. The goal of this project is to enhance understanding of the short- and long-term economic recovery potential of investments in nature and have this knowledge inform the design of economic, climate, and development policy for the Global South where ICCCAD will contribute to explore the economic recovery potential (ERP) of NbS in Bangladesh.
In 2021 the discourse on NbS reached substantial maturity in professional and journalistic literature. Scientific articles on policy as well as knowledge development gave a solid base of argument, whereas newspaper articles and policy briefs have taken the discourse further to the non-academic communities.
Furthermore, conferences helped the concept to be mainstream in a more subtle way. Covid 19 taught us that the future will be a time of multiple disasters at a time.
It is evident that, without considering nature, it will be impossible to further develop society. Nature-based solutions can be a great tool in this regard, especially in vulnerable countries like Bangladesh.
Originally this article was published on February 13, 2022 at Dhaka Tribune.
Author: Sakib Rahman Siddique Shuvo is working in ICCCAD as an intern, his research interest lies in contemporary geographical issues and ecosystem. Can be reached at [email protected]