Funding for nature-based solutions will need to triple to successfully tackle the crises of climate, biodiversity and land

Posted on 30 May 2021

(30 May 2021) The “State of Finance for Nature” report, released this week, finds that investments in nature-based solutions will have to triple next 2030 from current investments to successfully tackle the interlinked climate, biodiversity, and land degradation crises. This will be possible if COVID-19 economic stimulus packages are made more sustainable, and through repurposing harmful agricultural and fossil fuel subsidies and creating other economic and regulatory incentives. In the wake of COVID-19, nature only accounts for only 2.5% of projected economic stimulus spending.

The report also finds that investments in nature-based solutions will have to increase four-fold by 2050 from the current investments (using 2018 as a base year). Investments currently total US$133 billion.

In addition to the figures, which are revealing in themselves, it is worth highlighting  three overarching elements brought by the report. 

First, its focus on nature-based solutions (NbS). The report does not intend to make a clear-cut distinction between activities which are conventional nature conservation undertakings and those purposively focused on tackling a societal challenge (e.g. climate change, food and water security, disaster risk reduction, water security) i.e. NbS. Bringing focus underscores the necessary links between  the climate, biodiversity and land degradation conventions, and suggests that solving the planetary crisis with limited resources requires systemic thinking around the triple axis challenge of our time: climate change, biodiversity loss and equal prosperity for all. 

Second, highlighting the role of the public sector beyond a budgetary one. The amount and direction of public spending will continue to be critical in the forthcoming years. Governments have the power and responsibility to align their own spending away from activities that are detrimental to the environment and future prosperity (e.g. all fossil fuels´ subsidies and harmful agricultural subsidies), to de-risk and steer private investments in the needed direction. It has to be one that privileges climate-nature-development synergies and that leaves no-one behind.  

And third, highlights the need for a system for labelling, tracking and reporting investments in nature-based solutions. 

Vanessa Perez-Cirera, WWF Global Deputy Lead Climate & Energy said, “We know that we are losing nature faster than it can restore itself. And without urgent action, including sufficient funding, significant harm to people and the planet is inevitable. Funding for nature-based solutions must not come at the expense of other climate, development, and conservation priorities, nor from diverting current climate funding. 

“The opportunity at hand, raised clearly by this report, is one of detonating and synergistic public investments through the lens that nature-based solutions is able to offer. If this lens is taken seriously, we should be entering a new era of synergistic public commitments, impact investment and restorative private financing which goes well above and beyond a 1.5℃ decarbonization pathway.” 

Notes for Editors
1. Nature-based solutions – projects that protect, restore and sustainably manage ecosystems such as forests, peatlands, wetlands, savannahs, coral reefs and mangroves to meet biodiversity and societal goals –  are key to meeting global climate targets while addressing the crisis in nature and generating crucial societal benefits, especially job creation and climate resilience.

2. The report authors are UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD)


3. Read these complementary reports from WWF

Beyond Science Based Targets: A Blueprint for Corporates on Climate & Nature
Nature Hires: How Nature-based Solutions can Power a Green Jobs Recovery
Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change
Africa’s Path to a Green and Just Recovery 
Read more about WWF’s work on nature-based solutions here

For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org

Stream of water at Figueira trail, Carlos Botelho State Park, São Paulo, Brazil.
© WWF 194932