Developing countries are on the front line of climate change. Despite this hardship, they are taking actions to achieve resilient development by addressing the nexus of disaster risk, climate change and socio-economic development by using nature-based solutions (NBS).
NBS have multiple benefits as buffers from climate-related impacts; resilient water-related services, resource base for important economic sectors such as fisheries and tourism; and can increase the resilience of vulnerable communities that depend on natural resources through sustainable livelihoods.
The World Bank has been piloting nature-based solutions in its disaster risk management operations. Between 2012 and 2019, nearly 70 projects included some use of nature-based solutions, but these have so far been limited to relatively small-scale individual case-studies. As the Bank’s work in making cities more resilient to rising climate and disaster risk gains pace, so does the potential for considering, assessing and costing nature-based solutions as feasible options for better risk management.
As with conventional engineering solutions, the effective application of nature-based solutions requires a comprehensive assessment, implementation and monitoring process. It requires an understanding of the drivers of risk as well as the functioning of the ecosystems that can be protected, expanded or constructed. The design of a balanced risk management strategy using nature-based solutions requires a long-term time horizon and a large spatial scale, which poses challenges for government priorities, budgets and procurement systems.