Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (2): 22496.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022496

• Conservation and Governance • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Nature-based solutions for addressing biodiversity loss and climate change: Progress, challenges and suggestions

Jinzhou Wang, Jing Xu*()   

  1. Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
  • Received:2022-08-29 Accepted:2022-10-16 Online:2023-02-20 Published:2022-12-30
  • Contact: *Jing Xu, E-mail:


Aims and Methods: Nature-based solutions (NbS) is a hot synergy approach to address the global environmental challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change, but there are controversies surrounding the negotiation of relevant conventions. Here we reviewed the resolutions and decisions on NbS of the World Conservation Congress (WCC), the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), and the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as the formal statements of the main Parties. We aimed to analyze the major progress and challenges of NbS implementation at global and national levels, and to propose countermeasures based on China’s national conditions.

Review Results: By the active promotion of international organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Parties such as European Union and its member states, the WCC and the UNEA have made positive progress in defining NbS and creating standards. However, during the negotiation process related to the CBD and the UNFCCC, Parties have different views on the implementation of NbS to synergistically address biodiversity loss and climate change. The technical explanation is the lack of a concrete and universal definition of NbS and its pathways agreed to by all Parties. Other possible reasons are that large developing country Parties prevent developed country Parties from (1) restricting the exploitation of natural resources and development of biological industries by defining the pathways of NbS; (2) transitioning the responsibility for “mitigation” from the UNFCCC to the CBD and shifting it to biodiversity-rich developing countries; (3) blurring the boundaries between climate and biodiversity action and funding, and thus reducing the opportunities for developing countries to seek international public funding for biodiversity conservation. As an active practitioner of NbS, China has incorporated NbS into national policies related to addressing climate change, and has carried out NbS practices such as ecological protection and restoration for decades. However, these policies and practices mainly focused on domestic ecological and environmental issues, which still lag behind China’s leadership in the global environmental governance and the expectations of the international community.

Suggestions: In this regard, we suggest to (1) strengthen the cross-sectorial cooperation and improve the local NbS policies and practices; (2) promote the research of NbS pathways and define national standards; (3) carry out comprehensive evaluation of NbS to support natural financing and green trading; and (4) strengthen international exchanges and cooperation with NbS, balancing the concerns of all Parties.

Key words: nature-based solutions, biodiversity, climate change, multilateral environmental agreements