Nature-based solutions (NbS)


Actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, which address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services and resilience and biodiversity benefits.

UNEA 5.2 (2022) 1

Note: Nature based solutions is a term that is defined and used differently by a number of stakeholders (See Other Definitions).

Other Definitions

  • European Commission 2016 2

Nature-based solutions are inspired and supported by nature and simultaneously provide environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits. Nature-based solutions, such as well-connected green and blue infrastructure, green and unsealed surfaces in cities, green roofs, natural water retention measures, and salt marshes and dunes for coastal protection, use the properties and functions of ecosystems to provide water regulation, flood risk protection, climate change adaptation, etc. They are designed to bring more nature and natural features and processes into cities, landscapes and seascapes, through locally adapted and systemic interventions. They are locally attuned, resource efficient, multi-purpose, multi-functional and multi-beneficial.


The concept of Nature-based Solutions promotes the role of natural, self-sustained processes relying on biodiversity and ecosystem services to bring about benefits for society. Nature-based Solutions are intended to support societal development goals, in ways that reflect social, cultural and economic values, through enhancing the resiliency of ecosystems. Nature-based Solutions can be considered as an umbrella concept, encompassing ecosystem restoration, green and natural infrastructure, protection of ecosystems, and interventions to enhance particular ecosystem services. As such, they encompass a wide range and variation of human interventions in natural ecosystems. These range from minimal intervention, for example legal protection of areas important for the provision of an ecosystem service, to managing ecosystems in extensive ways, or even creating artificial ecosystems.

References & Websites