Study finds national and international frameworks are imperative for implementing nature-based solutions in Asia – BIOENGINEER.ORG

Recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), nature-based solutions (NbS) address solutions that combine human well-being, environmental sustainability and benefits for biodiversity. NbS are also key elements of recovery strategies after the COVID-19 pandemic. The NbS includes a range of elements, ranging from ecosystem-based climate change mitigation to ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction measures. Although the techniques behind NbS may not be new, their inclusion in national and international governance frameworks for their effective implementation is.

Recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), nature-based solutions (NbS) address solutions that combine human well-being, environmental sustainability and benefits for biodiversity. NbS are also key elements of recovery strategies after the COVID-19 pandemic. The NbS includes a range of elements, ranging from ecosystem-based climate change mitigation to ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction measures. Although the techniques behind NbS may not be new, their inclusion in national and international governance frameworks for their effective implementation is.

Most NbS studies are focused on Europe. The European Union early adopted the NbS and ensured its promotion by linking the NbS to the European Green Pact and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The region has firmly established links between the NbS and various actors (governments, institutions, businesses, etc.). But the same cannot be said for Asia. There is still a lack of a cohesive regional strategy for the implementation of NbS in Asia, as well as limited cross-sectoral local and national governance to promote NbS and green recovery strategies. The large number of developing countries in Asia is also a problem for the promotion and implementation of NbS.

In a new study, published in Policy and governance, researchers Dr. Kanako Morita from the Institute of Forestry and Forest Products Research and Associate Professor Ken’ichi Matsumoto from Toyo University, Japan, elaborated on the challenges of managing NbS implementation in East, Southeast and South Asia regions. “Implementing NbS management in countries at different stages of economic development is inconvenient, as is developing NbS measures with different institutions and actors,” explains Dr. Morita.

The findings of their study showed that climate change mitigation, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and infrastructure are three areas where NbS is widely used in Asian countries. These areas are also related to climate security issues, including environmental security. However, there is room for further work, in particular to ensure uniformity in the implementation of the NbS in the different regions. “Current discussions on NbS governance are focused on urban areas, but NbS are relevant in a wide range of landscapes and seascapes and across boundaries. Especially in developing countries, there is a need for international cooperation in the management of the NbS, ” notes Dr. Morita, in this context.

The researchers found that the NbS has links to international frameworks related to the UNFCCC and the CBD in the field of climate change (climate change mitigation), with clear national strategies, policies and international financial mechanisms. The Paris Agreement is one of the main drivers of this development. Unfortunately, however, discussions on cross-sectoral strategies, such as the application of the NbS to post-pandemic green recovery, have so far not been extensive in Asian countries.

In the area of ​​DRR, the NbS are linked to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). Japan is investing heavily in promoting ecosystem-based DRR (Eco-DRR). But the same cannot be said for other Asian countries. While some countries have incorporated Eco-DRR into their national strategies, domestic governance and enforcement measures remain poor. Financial mechanisms for the inclusion of NbS in the Eco-DRR need to be developed and clarified. Moreover, developing countries in particular need both financial and technical support for the proper implementation of the NbS for Eco-DRR.

Finally, the researchers did not find official links between the NbS and international frameworks in the field of infrastructure. “There is no consensus on what the NbS means for infrastructure. This makes it very difficult to establish national policies or frameworks, and, more importantly, financial mechanisms for the implementation of the NbS. says Dr. Morita.

Taken together, the study highlights the fragmentation of institutions and actors in Asia, and the unique challenges it poses for different types of NbS. The study also highlights the need for cooperation between local, national and international actors, including governments and institutions. “Our analysis recognizes the need for a cross-sectoral framework that will align the need for NbS with relevant actors and institutions at different levels. We also recommend the development of guidelines for the inclusion and promotion of NbS in local and national politics, as well as international cooperation, ” concludes Dr. Morita.

Implementing these proposals will certainly help address the tragedy of the common good that is on our faces – climate change – as well as the benefits for biodiversity and people, both in the short term, after the pandemic and in the long term – sustainable development.

About the Institute of Forestry and Forest Products Research, Japan
Inaugurated as a forest experiment unit in Tokyo in 1905, the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) was largely reorganized in 1988, when it received its present name. Throughout its more than 110-year history, FFPRI has conducted interdisciplinary research on forests, forestry, the wood industry, and tree cultivation with a program based on sustainable development goals. FFPRI currently wants to work with a number of different stakeholders, such as international organizations, government agencies, and industry and academic leaders, to conduct much-needed forest-related research and ensure the conservation of these renewable resources.

Website: https://www.ffpri.affrc.go.jp/ffpri/en/index.html

About Dr. Kanako Moriti from the Institute of Forestry and Forest Products Research, Japan
Dr. Kanako Morita earned her PhD. with the Tokyo Institute of Technology 2010. She is currently a Senior Scientist at the Institute of Forestry and Forest Products Research, Japan. Her research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to improving climate change, biodiversity, forests and renewable energy sources. Her work focuses on governance and financial mechanisms to meet the needs of sustainable development and climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region. Dr. Morita is also an assistant professor at Keio University in Japan, a visiting research fellow at the United Nations University and a visiting researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Studies in Japan.

Funding information
This research is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 19K12467, 18H03428, 18K11800, 19H04340, Environmental Research and Technology Development Fund (JPMEERF20181001) Environmental Restore and Conservation Institute, 5 Environmental Reconstruction and Conservation Institute, 1 Feability Division, 2018, Japan00 Office to promote the Forestry Fund and the Forest Products Research Institute and the Integrated Climate Model Research Program (TOUGOU Program) grant number JPMXD0717935715 of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


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