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Unlocking the Potential of Nature-based Solutions: A Global Compendium of Participatory Monitoring Methods


Conveners


Laura Costadone, Loan Diep, Erich Wolff

NATURA Network

United States


 

Session Description


The growing climate crisis necessitates a significant paradigm shift towards adaptation strategies that place a stronger emphasis on ecosystem-based approaches and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to enhance resilience at both the community and ecosystem levels. Despite the substantial potential of NbS to facilitate sustainable and long-term adaptation, their widespread adoption faces considerable obstacles. One significant hurdle is the challenge of evaluating and quantifying their benefits across social, environmental, and economic dimensions. Given the dynamic, uncertain, and evolving nature of NbS, which depend on ecosystem functions, frequent monitoring and evaluation are essential. However, conducting comprehensive monitoring programs to assess the outcomes and impacts of NbS projects poses significant difficulties, primarily due to limited human and financial resources.

To tackle these challenges, the NATURA's Early-Career (EC) network is proposing a special session designed to bring together experts, practitioners, and stakeholders from the ILTER network and beyond. The goal of this session is to foster an exchange of insights, experiences, and innovative approaches related to NbS, with a strong focus on participatory methods that can support the monitoring and evaluation of NbS projects. This interactive workshop is designed to draw on the diverse knowledge of participants from various regions and sectors, promoting the adoption of participatory approaches for monitoring and evaluation that effectively measure NbS performance.Participants will explore existing frameworks for assessing NbS  effectiveness, considering available indicators to monitor biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation and adaptation outcomes, and socio-economic impacts. The 90-minute workshop will kick off by showcasing the EC network's efforts in compiling an extensive array of participatory methods tailored for NbS. We will discuss methodologies, case studies, lessons learned and the importance of community involvement in ensuring the success and sustainability of NbS initiatives. Participants will explore challenges and opportunities within various ecological and socio-economic settings. Discussions will also touch upon governance mechanisms that can either hinder or support monitoring programs.

Our group possesses expertise in participatory methods for NbS, which aligns closely with both individual and collective research interests. We envision this session as an interactive workshop to explore the array of possible participatory monitoring approaches for NbS. The outcomes will contribute to a new compendium of participatory monitoring approaches that can serve as a guideline for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. This initiative represents a crucial step towards enhancing understanding, application, and evaluation of NbS, ultimately contributing to more resilient and sustainably adapted communities in the face of the climate crisis.


 

Session Justification


A major challenge in incorporating NbS into climate adaptation strategies is the lack of sufficient data to evaluate and track their effectiveness in enhancing climate resilience over time. This data scarcity severely limits communities' ability to assess the performance of their nature-based adaptation strategies, obstructing the justification for continuing and expanding these initiatives. It also hampers efforts to secure necessary funding and to implement plans with maximum efficiency. These obstacles highlight the complexity of integrating NbS into existing governance and decision-making frameworks and underscore the need for clear, comprehensive assessments of NbS performance. Implementing participatory monitoring and evaluation strategies can facilitate the continuous and frequent collection of performance data, fostering stewardship and, when conducted in genuinely inclusive manners, strengthening community empowerment. Our aim is to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive guide on participatory monitoring methods to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of NbS. This initiative aligns with the urgent need for NbS to address critical societal challenges, such as climate change, and ensure food and water security, reflecting the OSM theme of environmental pollution, ecosystem restoration, and management.


 

One Sentence Session Summary


This special session aims to foster an exchange of ideas and experiences on the range of participatory monitoring approaches that could enable NbS to thrive. The proposed workshop represents a timely and critical platform for advancing the understanding and inclusive application of Nature-based Solutions.

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