Parque Nacional Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

Climate Action Through Nature: How Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Are Including Nature-based Solutions in their Nationally Determined Contributions to Secure Biodiversity Benefits and Equity

13 December 2022 | Montreal, Canada


This side event examined how the classification of nature-based solutions for climate action and experiences from partner countries can contribute toward successful implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

This side event examined how nature-based solutions (NbS) for climate action and experiences from partner countries can contribute towards successful implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF).

Harald Lossack, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), moderated this event. He said synergies between concepts and implementation of climate change and biodiversity policies require further deepening to permit gains in one to reinforce advances in the other, stressing that NbS can build bridges between nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the GBF’s National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). He urged boosting awareness on how NbS can create synergies between the climate and biodiversity agendas and underlined that integrating these targets into budgetary and other processes countries can help ensure they are consistent, better harmonize donor funding, and encourage greater private sector involvement.

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Harald Lossack, GIZ

Thierry Dudermel, European Commission, introduced EUROCLIMA+, which emphasizes biodiversity’s coherence with climate and is assessing synergies between ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), and NbS in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. He pointed to two EU landscape-based and people-positive initiatives, both of which emphasize the role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs). He encouraged everyone to support public policies for biodiversity and deliver on implementation of the GBF in LAC through NbS.

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Thierry Dudermel, European Commission

Mauricio Luna Rodríguez, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), explained that NbS serve to conserve, protect, restore, and manage natural or modified ecosystems to adapt to or reduce climate change risks while ensuring human well-being and biodiversity benefits. Citing concrete examples from the LAC region, he presented a recently launched report on NbS in the NDCs of LAC. Noting that 9 of 16 references in the review linking NbS to NDCs make a strong reference to marginalized populations, he stressed that NbS must ensure the active participation of historically marginalized people, including women, Indigenous Peoples, and Afro-descendants in the LAC region.

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Mauricio Luna Rodriguez, IISD

Pia Paaby, Costa Rica, reported that climate change adaptation in her country has a long trajectory, noting the NDC process has included all beneficiaries of ecosystem services, such as labor, national and local institutions, and other indirect beneficiaries in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining, and tourism. She stressed incorporating diverse ecosystems, such as mangroves, bogs, and primary and secondary forests, for preserving biodiversity and absorbing carbon, and urged capacity building in each of these, citing advancements on nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs).

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Pia Paaby, Asociación Costa Rica por Siempre

Ámbar Cristal Espaillat Grullón, National Network of Business Support for Environmental Protection (ECORED), Dominican Republic, reported 250 enterprises in ECORED working in two areas: ongoing climate change and now biodiversity, which will show private sector connections to natural resource and biodiversity conservation. She underscored climate change’s links to biodiversity, noting businesses are demonstrating positive results and looking for increasingly nature-positive alternatives.

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Ámbar Cristal Espaillat Grullón, ECORED

Alejandra Tenorio Peña, Pronatura México, described efforts towards bringing biodiversity and climate change links to the scale of municipal planning in both Mexico and Brazil. She stressed the importance of strengthening both scientific and local knowledge for climate change, capitalizing on institutional and community capacities to link biodiversity with national-level planning for Eco-DRR, EbA, and NbS, and bringing these to the municipal level to ensure discussions are deliberative and adaptive to a range of contexts.


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Alejandra Tenorio Peña, Pronatura México

Dina Júc Suc, Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques, highlighted the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ ancestral knowledge, spirituality, cosmovisions, and ways of knowing in protecting biodiversity, despite being landowners of a “small proportion of the land.” She stressed the importance of understanding nature, not as commercialized goods, but as elements of “our territory.” She said that if we want to advance the challenges of biodiversity and climate change, it is necessary to recognize Indigenous knowledge as a subject of rights, of continuous deliberation, and as a living thing. She discussed the growing role of “NGO-ification” that maintains power with governments or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), while denying human rights for Indigenous Peoples on their own territories. She lamented how protected area management has not always considered the rights of Indigenous territories and has resulted in violent assassinations of territorial defenders, who get treated as criminals.

In the ensuring discussion, Júc Suc stressed Indigenous technical, scientific, and medicinal knowledge and noted the Escazú Agreement, an ambitious treaty that 24 LAC countries have signed and 13 have ratified to guarantee access to information, public participation, and justice in environmental matters in LAC. She said ecosystems are not just for Indigenous Peoples, but are a home to other communities, microorganisms, water sources, animals, and forests and said the new system will guarantee the rights of those who have protected the ecosystems for centuries. She called for all the States and actors at COP 15 to push for ratification of the Agreement to protect those who protect natural resources, biodiversity, and the climate.

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Dina Júc Suc, Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques

Espaillat Grullón said capacity building and continuous engagement of the private sector is needed to turn businesses into allies. She said business sectors feel the responsibility to do things well and implement the Agreement, rather than be considered the “bad guys,” and cited opportunities to engage with them. She said viewing them as allies requires awareness raising, learning, and constant engagement for a positive relationship.

Tenorio Peña recommended mainstreaming NbS, noting many subnational governments have gone through NbS processes and learnt lessons, and that tools, platforms, and webpages can be adapted in other places to be able to move on to implementation. She stressed that biodiversity-positive development must meet environmental requirements, be systematized, and enable valuation of costs and benefits to achieve correct implementation. She noted the synergy between survival and the natural resources that support it.

Participants also identified how different activities, such as the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge are framed as NbS and how these get incorporated into NDCs. Regarding a question on alignment between biodiversity and climate change in Costa Rica, Paaby stressed the importance of integrating biodiversity and climate change solutions at a macro-level, to move cattle ranch enterprises to a more sustainable regenerative agriculture transition that contributes to biodiversity. 

Written and edited by Tallash Kantai, Vijay Kolinjivadi, PhD, and Deborah Davenport, PhD.

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For this event, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz

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Negotiating blocs
European Union