Building Resilience with Nature: A New Tool for Climate Solutions

The World Bank's Nature-Based Solutions Opportunity Scan (NBSOS) leverages geospatial data to identify and prioritize investment opportunities in nature-based solutions for climate resilience. This innovative tool aims to address the challenges posed by climate-related disasters, particularly in urban and coastal areas, by providing actionable information and technical support for integrating NBS into development projects.


CoE-EDP, VisionRICoE-EDP, VisionRI | Updated: 18-06-2024 15:35 IST | Created: 18-06-2024 15:35 IST
Building Resilience with Nature: A New Tool for Climate Solutions
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As the world faces the increasing impacts of climate change, urban and coastal areas are becoming more vulnerable to disasters. Rising sea levels, extreme heat, and intense rainfall threaten these densely populated regions, where the consequences of climate events are most severe. The World Bank's Nature-Based Solutions Opportunity Scan (NBSOS) offers a promising approach to mitigate these risks through strategic investment in nature-based solutions (NBS).

NBS can provide a wide range of benefits beyond climate resilience, such as enhancing biodiversity, offering recreational spaces, and improving public health. Examples include creating urban parks to alleviate heat stress, restoring wetlands to protect against floods, and implementing green corridors to improve air quality and promote biodiversity. However, despite the evident advantages, scaling up these solutions in development projects remains challenging.

Introducing the NBS Opportunity Scan

To bridge this gap, the World Bank, supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), has developed the NBSOS. This tool leverages global geospatial data and a robust analytical framework to identify, prioritize, and plan NBS investments in urban and coastal areas. By providing clear, actionable information, the NBSOS aims to support early project planning and strategic diagnosis.

The NBSOS employs a four-step methodology: understanding the problem, mapping NBS suitability, modeling NBS benefits, and providing decision support. The first step involves mapping hazards and identifying resilience challenges in the area of interest. This helps in understanding the spatial distribution and magnitude of issues such as flood risk, heat stress, and lack of green space. Next, the tool determines suitable areas for implementing NBS. This involves analyzing physical conditions like soil type and slope to identify locations where NBS can be most effective. The third step involves estimating the positive impacts of NBS interventions. This includes modeling benefits such as flood reduction, temperature regulation, and increased access to green spaces. Finally, the tool uses multicriteria or cost-benefit analysis to optimize NBS investments. This helps prioritize areas that offer the highest combined benefits, guiding decision-makers in planning and implementation.

Applying the NBSOS: Urban and Coastal Examples

The NBSOS has been successfully implemented in various contexts, providing tailored solutions for urban and coastal areas.

In urban settings, the NBSOS identifies priority areas for NBS based on factors like flood exposure, heat stress, and lack of green space. For example, in Dakar, Senegal, the tool highlighted key areas where urban forests, green corridors, and open green spaces could be created to mitigate climate risks and improve community well-being.

For coastal areas, the NBSOS assesses coastal flood extent and depth under current and future scenarios, considering factors like sea-level rise and storm intensity. In Viti Levu, Fiji, the tool identified potential sites for mangrove restoration, coral reef enhancement, and beach conservation. These interventions were evaluated for their benefits in flood protection, tourism, fisheries, and carbon sequestration, providing a comprehensive picture of their economic viability.

Scaling Up and Moving Forward

Between mid-2022 and early 2024, the NBSOS was implemented in 20 countries, informing an estimated 2.3 billion Dollars in development financing. The tool has demonstrated its value in supporting early project planning and strategic diagnosis, helping to integrate NBS into the World Bank's portfolio.

Looking ahead, the NBSOS will continue to evolve with improved analytical capabilities and expanded delivery capacity. By building on its successes and addressing technical barriers, the tool aims to facilitate the broader adoption of NBS in development projects worldwide. This ongoing development will ensure that NBSOS remains a vital resource for promoting climate resilience and sustainable development.

The Nature-Based Solutions Opportunity Scan (NBSOS) is a groundbreaking tool that leverages the power of geospatial data to identify and prioritize investments in nature-based solutions. By providing actionable insights and technical support, the NBSOS helps urban and coastal areas build resilience against climate-related disasters. As the tool continues to evolve, it will play a crucial role in advancing sustainable development and climate adaptation efforts globally.

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