Accelerating Nature-based solutions as a game-changer for sustainable development

Together with Global EverGreening Alliance (GEA), we advocate for “Green Up to Cool Down” and enabling more sustainable and equitable lives for all.

Nature-based solutions (NbS) are increasingly recognised as promising approaches to tackle numerous climate adaptation and mitigation challenges. The Accelerating Nature-based Solutions Conference, held by the Global EverGreening Alliance (GEA) from March 11 to 15 in Zambia, focused entirely on this topic. It presented an opportunity for key actors to mobilise action towards unlocking the full potential of our natural resources to tackle pressing environmental issues and create sustainable, long-term solutions.

The conference provided a great opportunity for SNV, a member of the Global EverGreening Alliance (GEA), to reinforce our vision of a better and more sustainable world: a world where all people live with dignity and have equal opportunities to thrive sustainably across every society. Nature-based Solutions are at the centre of the impact we seek to create with small-scale farmers, pastoralists, and forest-dependent communities to facilitate diversified and improved livelihoods, and to maintain productive and resilient landscapes and agricultural systems. This is also key to strengthening capacities and restoring degraded agricultural, pastoral, and forest lands in the countries in which we are rooted. Together with GEA, we advocate for “Green Up to Cool Down” and enabling more sustainable and equitable lives for all.

SNV's impactful presence

Our collaboration on the conference panel discussions was a useful opportunity to highlight NbS-focused projects facilitated by SNV. Here are the three strategic sessions that SNV’s technical experts facilitated: 

Nature-based Solutions and entrepreneurship opportunities and challenges - The session motivated participants to take concrete actions towards leveraging NbS entrepreneurship to benefit vulnerable populations and the environment. By sharing success stories, identifying barriers, discussing strategies for capacity building, fostering collaboration, and generating actionable recommendations, the participants were equipped with practical pathways to adopting Nature-based Solutions.

Nature-based Solutions and intergenerational sustainable land management: what way forward? - This session was a comprehensive exploration of the challenges of sustainable land use management. Experts from Africa and Asia discussed the significance of intergenerational challenges, region-specific obstacles, successful practices, youth engagement, and technological innovations. They identified gaps in existing policies and practices and suggested considerations for future frameworks, including offering insights tailored to unique local contexts.

Scaling farmer-centered solutions from the soil up across Africa – The discussions focused on the importance of healthy soil for sustainable and regenerative food systems and the vital ecosystem services it provides. It highlighted the progress made in accurately monitoring soil health, the opportunities to scale soil health initiatives across Africa, and realistic and equitable financing options. Stakeholders emphasised the need for a transparent and equitable enabling environment to support, finance, scale, and monitor healthy soil ecosystems.


Key learnings reflect SNV’s aspirations

In our deliberations, the vital role of NbS became evident, motivating stakeholders to highlight critical strategic areas for advancing the NbS agenda. Here are the key takeaways from the conference:

Opportunity to improve livelihoods: There are great opportunities to undertake sustainable land management models that can help improve livelihoods and increase the incomes of farmers and communities living in affected ecosystems across Africa. This is, therefore, a timely incentive for millions of smallholders to adopt restoration and regreening efforts.

Strategic enterprise models: Significant restoration can be delivered through business cases and enterprise development models. Many farms and ranches are ready to onboard restoration and regreening approaches that contribute to their revenue and business growth. Carbon payments, for example, can be great incentives for increasing tree growing and permanence.

Youth on-boarding: Intergenerational sustainable land management is a great but overlooked restoration window. Carbon projects are now running for as long as fifty years. How many of the current players in restoration will be alive by 2074? Young people must be onboarded via increased economic opportunities like jobs, enterprise development and technology. Children should be educated and exposed to regreening practices like agroforestry within their schools and communities.

Collective action:  Climate change and degraded lands are an imminent threat to the future of humanity and therefore pose challenges bigger than individual countries and regions. Connections, linkages and collaborations must be made for a greener planet. Success will, therefore, depend on collective action across the public, private, and development sectors.


Looking ahead

SNV’s 2030 Strategy  aims to unleash landscape management's potential as a systemic and cost-effective approach for achieving food security and nutrition and transforming food systems. SNV is committed to aligning sustainable actions for Nature-based Solutions, ecosystems that sustain nutrient-rich soils, access to clean water, climate change resilience, and biodiversity in the locations where we work. It is imperative that we promote Nature-based Solutions to provide important, wide-reaching, and long-term benefits relating to climate adaptation, the environment, and social issues. SNV will proactively support participatory processes, work with local organisations, value local knowledge, and take Nature-based Solutions measures to address differential benefits and land use trade-offs.

Cooperation on socially inclusive value chains: NbS can be a suitable and cost-effective adaptation option. SNV adopts innovative market-based approaches and supports the development of socially inclusive value chains for the agricultural products of nature-based production systems, in partnership with the private sector. By partnering with a range of companies Vietnam Nature-Based Solutions for Adaptation in Agriculture  and facilitating access to finance through the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD), SNV aims to accelerate the adoption of these Nature-based Solutions by farmers and cooperatives in their supply chains. In the agricultural sector, relevant NbS include integrated farm production systems such as Regenerative Agriculture, Integrated Mangrove-Shrimp systems and Mixed Agroforestry systems .