IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions

IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions (2020)

The IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions is a user-friendly framework for the verification, design and scaling up of Nature-based Solutions.

Primary Functions

  • Find guidance that aims to ensure the application of Nature-based Solutions is credible and its uptake tracked and measured for adaptive management so that its contributions can inspire others.

Detailed Description


Why do we need the Standard?

As Nature-based Solutions (NbS) enters into policy and is adopted by projects on the ground there is a pressing need for greater clarity and precision of what the concept entails and what is required for it to be deployed successfully. Without this, the application of NbS could result in inconsistent and ungrounded applications. The Standard, therefore, also provides a systematic learning framework so that lessons can improve and evolve the applications, leading to greater confidence in NbS among decision makers. Similarly, in the absence of such a Standard, NbS may remain a general concept, only marginally contributing to the pressing sustainability needs and not realising its full potential. Consequently, the Standard provides an opportunity to create a global user community that helps guide implementation on the ground, accelerate policy development, and create conservation science on NbS. Through the Standard, NbS will be based on a common understanding of its interpretation and a shared vision for a just and sustainable world.

What does the Standard do?

This Standard aims to equip users with a robust framework for designing and verifying NbS that yield the outcomes desired, in solving one or several societal challenge(s). Based on the feedback of actual and potential NbS users, it has been developed as a facilitative Standard, purposefully avoiding a rigid normative framing with fixed, definitive thresholds of what NbS ought to achieve. Rather the Standard is designed to support users to apply, learn and continuously strengthen and improve the effectiveness, sustainability and adaptability of their NbS interventions.

It also serves as a mechanism for developing a consistent approach to designing and verifying concrete solutions-orientated outcomes. By using this Standard and deploying your NbS in a systematic way, the design and execution quality is accounted for and the results can be tracked and linked to global goals as well as research narratives. For individual interventions on the ground, applying the Standard gives tangible added value. Firstly, the result can give credibility to the intervention when speaking to investors, donors and other stakeholders. Secondly, the use of the Standard provides individual interventions with recommendations for improvement, using the results as a way to identify gaps and solutions. Thirdly, the Standard can be used as a means of engagement and communication across sectors, starting new conversations and providing a common framework and language to discuss trade-offs.

Additional information




Topics & SDGs

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WWF Mitigation