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.
New guidance has been developed to facilitate the integration of nature-based solutions in the disaster risk management operations of the World Bank and other development agencies – together with partners from Deltares, UNDP and Ecoshape – developed a set of key principles and implementation guidance. The guidance document, which was developed by GFDRR, the World Bank, Deltares, UNDP and Ecoshape, outlines key principles and provides implementation advice for technical teams working on projects to reduce disaster risk and build urban resilience. It was jointly funded by the Program for Forests (PROFOR) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and benefited from inputs and review of major engineering and environmental partners, including the Army Corps of Engineers, IUCN and UNEP. The guidance note is also available in French and Spanish.
Alongside the guidance note, an interactive web platform has been developed which hosts an extensive overview of nature-based solution projects of the World Bank and external partners. This platform allows for the exploration, comparison, and analysis of nature-based interventions across various hazards and ecosystems.
The case for inclusion of nature-based solutions in the range of risk management options is clear. While they may not be a competitive or feasible option everywhere, there is compelling evidence of effectiveness and sustainability of these interventions to reduce disaster risks and protect vulnerable people worldwide.
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