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Nature-based SolutionsHow to avoid land grabbing in the name of biodiversity?

Nature-based Solutions

How to avoid land grabbing in the name of biodiversity?

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The concept of "Nature-based Solutions" (NbS) has been used since 2009 in the framework of the UN climate negotiations and has also been used in recent years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These solutions are defined by the IUCN as "actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits".

In EU legislation too, the European Commission is increasingly referring to NbS, notably in the Communications on the Green Deal for Europe and the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, as well as in a draft delegated act on the Taxonomy Regulation.

Held in advance of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15), and the 2021 United Nations climate change conference (COP26), the aim of this event is to highlight civil society's concerns about the specific use of NbS, notably for carbon or biodiversity offsetting. Such measures can have significant negative environmental and social consequences and can even hinder or undermine the global fight against the climate crisis.

Many environmental and social concerns need to be addressed when working on NbS: offsetting could enable continued pollution; the availability of large volumes of low-cost carbon credits from NbS projects can dilute the ambition of companies and governments to reduce their own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; NbS offsets can be misused for greenwashing, while continuing the status quo; measurement errors could overestimate reduced emissions; land use could prioritise emission reductions/removals (e.g. large-scale, non-native, monoculture plantations), thereby having a negative impact on biodiversity, food and water security and the provision of other ecosystem goods and services, especially for Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

This conference will provide an opportunity to answer the following questions:

  • How does the Convention on Biological Diversity intend to address civil society's and Indigenous Peoples and local communities concerns about the so-called "fortress conservation" approach, including the setting of non-inclusive targets?
  • Could NbS sanction the destruction of biodiversity as long as there are attempts to compensate elsewhere, in breach of rights and science?
  • Are international financial flows and private funding the most appropriate tools to foster biodiversity conservation in developing countries?
  • Ahead of COP15 and COP26, is it desirable to agree on a clear and transparent framework on the use of NbS in the fight against climate change?


    1:00 PM Introduction by Michèle Rivasi, Maria Soraya Rodriguez Ramos, Marie-Ange Kalenga and Joan Carling

    1:15 PM – Panel 1: What are Nature-based solutions, offsetting and financialisation? What is at stake?


    • Frédéric Hache, Co-founder and Executive Director of Green Finance Observatory
    • Alain Frechette, Director for Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement, Rights and Resources Initiative 
    • Roselyn Fosuah Adjei, Director of Climate Change at Ghana's Forestry Commission and National REDD+ Focal Point (TBC)

    1:45 PM – Q&A

    2:00 PM – Panel 2: Financialisation of nature and its impact on Indigenous Peoples and local communities - Views and experiences across regions and recommendations


    • Vũ Thị Bích Hợp, Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Rural Development & Hoang Thi Ngoc Ha, Director, The Center for Eco-Community Development (ECODE), Vietnam
    • Joseph Itongwa, Coordinator, Réseau des Populations Autochtones et Locales pour la Gestion des Ecosystèmes Forestiers d'Afrique Centrale (REPALEAC), Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Elle Merete Omma, Head of EU Unit, Saami Council, Norway. 
    • Joan Carling, Member of Caucus and Member of Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMGSD), Philippines

    2:40 PM – Q&A

    2:55 PM Coffee break - Video & Poll

    3:10 PM – Panel 3: Will Nature-based solutions continue the status quo?


    • Bart Vandewaetere, VP Corporate Communications & ESG Engagement, Nestlé EMENA
    • Marc Sadler, Manager of the Climate Funds Management unit at the World Bank 
    • Brice Böhmer, Climate and Environment Lead, Transparency International 

    15h40 – Q&A

    4:00 PM – Panel 4: How can the EU prevent land grabbing and human rights violations linked to Nature-based Solutions?


    • Karin Zaunberger, Biodiversity Unit, Directorate-General Environment, European Commission
    • Terence Hay-Edie, Programme Advisor, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    • Eva Mayerhofer, Senior Environment and Biodiversity Specialist, European Investment Bank.

    4:30 PM – Q&A

    4:45 PM Conclusions by Marc Tarabella (TBC) and Michèle Rivasi