Nature-Based Solutions for Europe's Sustainable Development
Society for Conservation Biology
Pursuing economic targets of job creation, growth, and innovation while tackling global environmental challenges, has long been seen as impossible. However, any long-term economic competitiveness and security depends on the extent to which natural resources are used sustainably. Therefore, the European Union is investing in nature-based solutions to achieve this double goal. The difference between the prevailing economic model and a sustainable resource use has long seemed insurmountable. While many debates are paralyzed or radicalized, nature-based solutions could offer a transition path with realistic, incremental steps toward a sustainable economy as envisaged by the EU Horizon 2020 vision. This paper outlines the basics of a nature-based scenario for Europe, and proposes criteria to focus, guide, and evaluate the implementation of nature-based solutions, geared at production of wide socioeconomic benefits, provision of jobs, and low-carbon technology innovations.