TMG Think Tank for Sustainability
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Creating an enabling environment for nature-based solutions to climate change

Global goals will not percolate by themselves, local evidence is fundamental to implementing nature-based solutions to climate change

by Bruno St-Jacques, Anna Kramer and Jes Weigelt | 2019-09-25

Creating an enabling environment for nature-based solutions to climate change

Millions of people from more than 185 countries took part in last Friday’s Global Climate Strike to demand climate justice for everyone, a testimony to the growing demand for real action to prevent the foreseeable consequences of the climate crisis. This unprecedented mobilisation was organised ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit, which kicked off Monday in New York City and where roughly 60 UN member states are set to present concrete measures and commitments their countries will take to tackle global warming.

Commitments and measures need to go beyond proclamations of good will and proposed patchwork solutions. They need to translate into regulatory frameworks and investments in an enabling environment if ambitious objectives are to be met. With the UN sustainable development goals threatened to fail, there is a strong call for rethinking what type of investments bring about sustained impacts on a broader scale. We need to determine what type of enabling environments can create long-term impacts, ensure broader outreach, and benefit the most vulnerable populations.

Addressing land degradation: informed action over words

In many instances, programs implementing nature-based solutions such as sustainable land management and ecosystem restoration have failed to produce lasting impact. A prime reason for those shortcomings is the lack of local institution-building: the establishment or strengthening of institutions that would be in a position to sustain those initial investments in the long run.

Consequently, we believe there is a need to strengthen local solutions for more inclusive investments and learn from community-driven processes to develop complementary measures to national policy reforms and to inform the implementation of international development agendas. Only through such exercise can we convincingly engage ourselves into improving the well-being of the more than 3 billion people affected by land degradation. Strengthening local processes that successfully address land degradation trends is pivotal to achieve global development goals.

What we can do about it

We have developed a community-driven investment guide to support the implementation of nature-based solutions during the next decade. It presents investment opportunities to create an enabling environment for sustainable land management and ecosystem restoration. The strategies provide possible entry points based on existing successful projects and approaches which serve as guidance and inspi­ration for strengthening community-based approaches towards an enabling environment.

Our strategies stem from the analysis of cases mostly coming from Western, Eastern and Southern Africa. The next step is to broaden our knowledge by learning from additional successful projects and initiatives implemented in other regions of the world. We therefore call on you to take part in this continuous learning process and share your insights and experiences so we can jointly build an expanding evidence base for creating an enabling environment for sustainable land management and ecosystem restoration through community-driven processes.

We have little more than 10 years left to achieve the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Now is a crucial time to make sure that investments channeled through global calls for action live up to their stated goals. Let’s do it together.

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