Past Event

Mainstreaming Nature: institutions, capacity, and evidence

4 August 2021 9:00–10:15


The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature includes a commitment to put nature and biodiversity on a road to recovery by 2030 through mainstreaming nature into all government policy and investments. Ahead of COP26 the UK is working with the multilateral banks to integrate nature across their operations, including into their approach to Paris Alignment.

The UK is also encouraging the G7 to sign up to a Leader’s level ‘Nature compact’ which includes commitments to ensure nature is mainstreamed in economic and financial decision making. The credibility of the UK’s leadership in this area is dependent on our own efforts to mainstream nature. The new programme operating framework for FCDO requires programme teams to assess climate and environmental risks and opportunities, taking steps to ensure that no environmental harm is done which will be best practice across HMG. The Environment Bill will enshrine in law Environmental Principles (e.g. the integration and prevention principles) which means there will be a legal obligation to consider and record these principles when designing all government policies, strategies and frameworks.

What will the session cover?

  • What institutional arrangements are needed at the international scale? What are some of the barriers and opportunities? This session will highlight the some of the political challenges including around linking biodiversity and climate agendas, concerns climate finance being diverted to Nature, differing understandings of Nature (e.g. biodiversity seen as a sovereign issue or Nature low on the political agenda in developing countries).
  • What standards have been developed and adopted at the international scale? For example, IUCN’s and OECD’s frameworks for NbS.
  • What are the opportunities for UK government (xHMG), the private sector and other actors involvement in reversing Nature decline?
  • What are the roles and opportunities for different actors to influence the uptake of NbS, particularly in developing countries where capacity or political will may be low and vested interests may be high?
  • What metrics and mechanisms do we need to measure progress? What are some of the barriers for uptake?
  • How can we manage environmental risks? What safeguards exist? The session will briefly cover programme relevant approaches.
  • The importance of grounding NbS in robust science and policies will also be considered (e.g. understanding of biodiversity and ecosystems, tipping points, social safeguards, offer benefits to local people etc.).
  • Debates around the evidence base.

Please note this session is only available for UK government staff.

Learning objectives

Attendees should, following the session:

  1. Have greater awareness of the challenges in mainstreaming nature and potential entry points for change and action.
  2. Be more comfortable engaging with key stakeholders in dialogue to increase the uptake of and support for nature interventions.

Essential study materials

Specific sources listed here are required reading before this session:

  1. Kapos, V., M. De Mel, C. Rosenzweig, M. Kolenda, L. Emerton, and H. Neufeldt, (2021) Chapter 6: Nature-based solutions for adaptation. In Adaptation Gap Report 2020. United Nations Environment Programme, pp. 43-76 https://unepdtu.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/adaptation-gap-report-2020.pdf Pages , 51-55 & 76-78
  2. World Economic Forum (2020) The Future of Nature and Business. Geneva: World Economic Forum. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_Future_Of_Nature_And_Business_2020.pdf pp. 94-98
  3. Morrison, A. (2019). Mainstreaming nature- international approaches to biodiversity conservation. https://sp-bpr-en-prod-cdnep.azureedge.net/published/2019/9/12/Mainstreaming-nature—international-approaches-to-biodiversity-conservation/SB19-60.pdf, Pages 23-27
  4. (2020). Nature-based solutions for adapting to climate-related water risks. OECD Environment Policy Papers, No. 21. Paris: OECD. https://doi.org/10.1787/2257873d-en, pages 13-17


  1. Cohen-Shacham, E. et al., (2019). Core principles for successfully implementing and upscaling Nature-based Solutions. Environment Science and Policy, 98, pp. 20-29
  2. Mastrángelo, M.E., Pérez-Harguindeguy, N., Enrico, L. et al. Key knowledge gaps to achieve global sustainability goals. Nat Sustain2, 1115–1121 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0412-1 (not open access).
  3. Global Standard for NbS. https://www.iucn.org/theme/nature-based-solutions/resources/iucn-global-standard-nbs
  4. European Environment Agency. (2021). Nature-based solutions should play an increased role in tackling climate change. https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/nature-based-solutions-should-play
  5. Mainstreaming biodiversity and development. Project overview giving an insight into the range of work that is needed. https://www.iied.org/national-biodiversity-strategies-action-plans-20-mainstreaming-biodiversity-development

Key contacts

Image of Louise Oakley

Louise Oakley

Research and Learning Programme Manager


Image of Paul Knipe

Paul Knipe

Director of Consultancy, Impact and Influence


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