Valuing nature for development

Nature underpins half of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, either partially or wholly. From sustaining jobs and livelihoods, to providing food and water security, to helping us mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to providing fuel and medicine - nature is critical for humanity’s survival. Nature-based solutions are defined as actions to protect, restore and/or sustainably manage nature to address societal aims while benefiting nature. Nature can be our most important ally for achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to water, safety, livelihoods, and climate.

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Forest Preservation of Watersheds to Mitigate Drought in the Dominican Republic

  • The upcoming hurricane season in the Caribbean, lasting from June to November, is expected to be influenced by the El Niño phenomenon, with an 80% chance of its occurrence between July and September. This could lead to elevated global temperatures, droughts, and reduced rainfall in the region.
  • The Dominican Republic, already vulnerable to such atmospheric phenomena, is facing challenges related to deforestation and the depletion of vital water sources. Deforestation in upper and middle regions, riverbed erosion in lower areas, chemical contamination, waste disposal, and solid waste contribute to a significant decrease in water quantity and quality in rivers.
  • The country is focusing on preserving, restoring, and protecting its 12 major rivers with large basin areas to manage disaster risks and mitigate extreme drought, essential in the face of El Niño and ongoing deforestation challenges.

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How Peru is Scaling Up Nature-Based Solutions for Water and Climate Resilience — and What It Can Teach the World

  • Calls for scaling up nature-based climate solutions are expected at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, recognizing the potential of nature-based solutions (NBS) to address climate change, groundwater recharge, soil stabilization, carbon sequestration, and co-benefits for local communities and biodiversity.
  • The challenge lies in executing NBS for water and climate adaptation at scale, and Peru offers a remarkable model for scaling up NBS. Over a decade, investments in natural infrastructure for water security in Peru grew from less than $1 million to about $10 million per year. Commitments for NBS investment from the drinking water sector also increased to over $50 million.
  • Peru's transformational journey with NBS began with local innovators, supported by national leaders and international partners, leading to policy changes that mainstreamed NBS as a key tool for water management. Today, Peru has 43 out of 50 water utilities adopting NBS tariffs, raising over $50 million for watershed conservation, and it is poised to scale up NBS for water security and climate resilience.

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Wild Species Support Half of World’s Population, Report Finds

  • A new UN report emphasizes that wild plants, animals, fungi, and algae play a crucial role in the livelihoods and survival of half of the world's population. Approximately 50,000 wild species are known to be used for medicine, energy, food, building materials, and more, upon which 70% of the world's poor directly depend.
  • Unsustainable practices such as overfishing, overlogging, and unsustainable hunting threaten the future use of wild species. One in three fisheries is overexploited globally, and one in ten tree species is threatened with extinction. Large-bodied mammal species with low reproduction rates are particularly at risk.
  • The report highlights sustainable practices worldwide, like the recovery of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean and the sustainable fishing of the pirarucu fish in the Amazon through community-based management. However, climate change, increasing demand, and improved extractive technologies pose significant challenges to the future use of wild species.

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Peatland Restoration in Temperate Nations Could Be Carbon Storage Bonanza

  • Temperate peatlands, often damaged in the past for agriculture, tree planting, and other purposes, are now being restored globally due to their significance as carbon sequesters.
  • Restoration efforts in the U.S. Southeast, Scotland, and Canada focus on restoring the natural hydrology of peatlands to maximize carbon storage, enhance native biodiversity, and improve resilience in the face of climate change and wildfires.
  • Peatlands store more carbon than all the world's terrestrial vegetation combined, making their restoration crucial for drawing down more carbon from the atmosphere. Restoration efforts need to address peatland damage, such as drying and degradation, to help combat climate change effectively.

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Study Shows How to Maximize Mangroves as Climate and Community Solution

  • Mangroves, which can store up to five times more carbon than upland tropical forests, can be a powerful nature-based solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, while also providing economic benefits.
  • Recent research in Belize has quantified the carbon storage and sequestration potential of mangroves, leading to an update of the country's climate targets, committing to protect an additional 12,000 hectares and restore 4,000 hectares of mangroves by 2030.
  • The study serves as an example for other countries interested in incorporating blue carbon strategies into their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, offering a nature-based solution that benefits both climate and local economies.

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Why Elephants, Otters and Whales are Nature’s Secret Weapons Against Climate Breakdown

  • A recent paper published in Nature highlights how wild animals play a significant role in carbon storage in ecosystems through their activities like eating, moving, trampling, digging, defecating, and building. Although wild animals constitute just 0.3% of the carbon in the total global biomass, they can influence the carbon storage in ecosystems by 15% to 250%.
  • Nature-based solutions for tackling climate change are essential, and we must respect and leverage the effectiveness of natural ecosystems. Quick fixes like planting monocultures to sequester carbon should be avoided in favor of more holistic approaches.
  • Conservation efforts aimed at protecting and restoring animal populations are vital, and nature can recover when given the opportunity. Collaborative approaches that align with local communities and reduce conflict between wildlife and people are essential for successful conservation.

Think about it!

Take a moment to reflect on how nature is interrelated with the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and use for crops, the medicines we use, and the safety of our communities. What are the connections?

Nature's role in your community:

How does nature provide essential ecosystem services in your community? Which ones are most important to the health and wellbeing of your community?

Putting nature at the heart of sustainable development:

How well are ecosystem services recognized and valued by your community? What would it take to put nature at the center of sustainable development in your context?

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Andreea Alexandra Mitrofan commented 7 months ago ago

Dig even deeper!

Use these exercises to dive deeper. Explore some of the ways that nature is at the heart of sustainable development.

Identify nature-based services:

Locate the primary sources of water in your community and discuss the critical ecosystems that contribute significantly to the supply of this water. How do these ecosystems impact your community's access to clean water?

Identify nature-based carbon solutions:

Which ecosystems are most important for carbon sequestration in your area, and what are the top three actions needed to implement nature-based solutions for climate action?

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Biniam Belete Begna commented 7 months ago

Start a conversation!

Spark meaningful conversations on social media! Share the recommended posts to inspire your network to reflect and take action.

Let’s put nature at the heart of sustainable development

Nature fuels half of our world's economy and helps us achieve half of the #SDG targets. Let's ignite change by placing nature at the core of sustainable development. #NatureForLife

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Nature for climate - a natural solution!

Nature - forests, wetlands, mangroves, grasslands - can sequester 1/3 of the world’s greenhouse gasses, and mitigate floods, storms, drought and heat waves. It’s time to invest in nature-based solutions to tackle our climate emergency! Learn more about public policies that support nature-based solutions. #NatureForLife

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