What is the India Forum for Nature-based Solutions?
The India Forum for Nature-based Solutions (NbS) is a coalition of research and practice organisations working to scale up the adoption of NbS to shape climate resilient cities and communities in India. While there are many debates over terminology, the Forum positions nature-based solutions as an encompassing concept that applies ecosystem approaches and adopts and integrates blue-green infrastructure solutions towards simultaneously achieving its social, economic and environmental aspirations.
Why the India Forum for Nature-based Solutions?
Nature-based solutions (NbS) have emerged globally as cost-effective, sustainable solutions offering a range of benefits including improved resilience, limiting climate change impacts and enhanced biodiversity along with the co-benefits of improved health and social well-being. The potential of NbS has yet to be realized, in India, due to some significant challenges. While some of these challenges, like the availability of urban land, are consistent with global challenges facing NbS, many more are specific to the Indian urban context. There is still limited awareness, experience and documented evidence with NbS in Indian cities and available knowledge on NbS models, impact measurement framework, and operations and maintenance methodologies are yet to be tailored or adapted to the Indian experience.
What is the vision of the Forum?
To climate proof 100 million residents and infrastructure worth $100 billion in Indian cities by 2030.
- Defining a shared language for urban nature-based solutions that clearly communicates impact and compels action.
- Leveraging capacities across stakeholder groups to drive investment and strengthen delivery mechanisms
- Enabling national and subnational policy to integrate and mainstream nature-based solutions across urban plans and projects.
What is the composition of the India Forum for Nature-based Solutions?
- Core Partners: India Climate Collaborative; The Nature Conservancy; Wetlands International; WWF India; National Institute of Urban Affairs and WRI India. The core partners will determine the overarching goals and objective of the forum.
- Task Forces: Chaired by representatives from the core partners, the task forces will engage technical experts, financiers, government, and private sector to tackle specific focus areas including but not limited to knowledge and capacity building, finance, governance and operation models. Those who would like to participate in the task forces may write to the secretariat indicating their interest to do so.
- Supporters: Open to all stakeholders including and not limited to technical experts, solution providers, interested citizens, supporters of the forum may engage with the forum through communication channels like newsletters and networking events.
What principles of Nature-based Solutions will the Forum support?
Ecosystem Benefits and Ecological Integrity: Solutions that offer benefits to the urban ecosystem including climate moderation and resilience, disaster risk mitigation, soil building and nutrient recycling, carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge, water cycling and purification, and biodiversity and conservation. These solutions must also maintain or restore key ecological processes that are characteristic to or reflect the natural condition expected in a region including the use of natural materials, native or local species composition and diversity, and enabling the wise use
Community resilience and social benefits: Solutions that mitigate climate risks and enhance human well-being by promoting social, cultural, recreational, and health co-benefits, particularly by enabling social interaction, community-building activities, promoting inclusion, access and equity while strengthening community awareness around climate risk, adaptation and resilience.
Livelihoods and Economic Benefits: Solutions that help transition towards a nature-positive economy by generating green jobs, cultivating associated skills and business opportunities, while maintaining resource efficiency and promoting circularity.
How does NbS interact with grey infrastructure?
The Forum views Nature-based Solutions as part of an integrated city landscape. NbS can reduce the vulnerability of social-ecological systems to environmental shocks by reducing exposure to climate hazards, reducing sensitivity to adverse impacts and building adaptive capacity.
While these solutions can deliver infrastructure services directly, for example, wetlands delivering filtration functions, they also integrate well with engineered, grey infrastructure by –
- Enhancing engineered infrastructure functions. For example, riparian forests reducing reservoir sedimentation or rain gardens and green roofs reducing the load on storm water drains
- Protecting engineered assets. For example, agroforestry on slopes protecting roads from landslides
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