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Nature-based Solutions (NbS) Sphere Unpacked Guide launched


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In many places, the increasing severity and frequency of climate-related disasters exacerbate underlying risks, stoke conflict, and undermine humanitarian and development gains.

Within these complex response dynamics, the environment is often overlooked or is treated as an afterthought. Nature-based solutions (NbS) offer a framework to remedy this, and are a powerful tool for enhancing resilience, supporting sustainable development, and improving the quality of life of affected communities while safeguarding the livelihoods and ecosystems they depend upon.

It is critical that humanitarian aid and development are transformed to better integrate NbS and environmental safeguarding as a core component and strategy.

Sphere, IFRC, IUCN and the FEBA – with the support of SOMN and informed by the contributions from the PEDRR, EHAN and Sphere focal points networks – are delighted to announce the launch of ‘A Sphere Unpacked Guide: Nature-based Solutions for Climate Resilience in Humanitarian Contexts’.

Download the guide (in English only for now) here: https://spherestandards.org/resources/nbs-guide/

Figure 9: An integrated approach for NbS in humanitarian action. Three overlapping circles read: 1) Rights-based, people-centred; Do No Harm, 2) Socially-inclusive, gender-responsive; and 3) Landscape approach. The intersection of 1 and 2 reads Cross-sectoral; of 2 and 3 reads Sustainable livelihoods; of 1 and 3 reads Evidence-based; and all three reads NbS for humanitarian action.

Figure 9: An integrated approach for NbS in humanitarian action

Through a ground-breaking collaborative and consultative process, members of the environment, development and humanitarian sectors have come together to raise awareness about the role that NbS can play in crisis-affected contexts and to develop practical guidance to those interested in implementing NbS in humanitarian settings.

Growing disaster risk, driven in part by large-scale environmental degradation, threatens to exceed the humanitarian sector’s capacity to respond in the coming decades. With over 20 million people a year displaced by climate-related natural hazards there it is imperative to advance approaches to reducing risk and save lives. The environment in which people live and work is essential for their health, well-being, and recovery from crisis, and environmental degradation exacerbates disaster risk and undermines humanitarian and development gains. Yet it is often overlooked within humanitarian crises.

Nature-based Solutions provide for human wellbeing and protecting the environment. Integrating an NbS framework in humanitarian action can build immediate and long-term resilience for those affected by crises while safeguarding the livelihoods and ecosystems they depend upon. The Unpacked Guide facilitates this integration by highlighting and building upon the success of NbS in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

The Unpacked Guide emphasises the value and co-benefits of NbS for resilience-building in humanitarian contexts and provides practical guidance for using the Sphere standards when implementing NbS to address societal challenges in humanitarian action. It explores links between NbS and Sphere’s four technical chapters – water, sanitation and hygiene; food security and nutrition; shelter and settlements; and health – while stressing the cross-cutting nature of NbS and its contribution to restoring, protecting and fulfilling human rights, dignity, and agency. The Guide also provides useful tools and resources and illustrative case studies.

Source/longer article on the IUCN website (English only): https://www.iucn.org/news/202305/guidance-nature-based-solutions-humanitarian-action-launched-collaboration-sphere