Nature and climate are intrinsically interconnected. The state of nature is negatively affected by a changing climate, and the climate is affected by a decline in nature’s ability to store greenhouse gases and to buffer against negative climate effects such as droughts and floods. The science is clear: Climate change and the deterioration of nature worldwide poses a fundamental threat to humans, ecosystems and species. Thus, it is of utmost importance to address the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis together, and to focus on solutions which benefit both climate and biodiversity.
Nature-based solutions, involving protecting, restoring and sustainably manage ecosystems, can provide efficient solutions to both the climate and biodiversity crisis. It is an important tool to increase the adaptive capacity and robustness to climate change impacts, thus decreasing vulnerability, and can provide social and economic benefits and address other societal challenges.
IPCC highlights in the sixth Assessment Report that safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems is fundamental to climate resilient development, in light of the threats climate change poses to them and their roles in adaptation and mitigation. The fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly stresses the need to scale up and use nature-based solutions. IPBES also highlights nature-based solutions as a cost-effective way of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals in cities.
We, The Nordic Ministers of Environment and Climate:
Recall the UNEP/E.A.5/Res.5 of the United Nations Environment Assembly, where nature-based solutions are defined as “actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems which address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services, resilience and biodiversity benefits”. Recall also the request by the United Nations Environment Assembly to the Executive Director of UNEP to compile examples of best practise in nature-based solutions, based on the best available science.
Reaffirm the declaration “Finalising the Global Biodiversity Deal – The Nordic Approach” adopted 3 May 2022 where the Nordic Ministers agreed to scale up implementation of nature-based solutions, as defined by The United Nations Environment Assembly, and thereby pursuing the leading role of the Nordic countries in implementing nature-based solutions across borders and regions.
Recognize the interconnectedness of climate and nature, and that nature-based solutions address both the nature- and climate crises, as well as human welfare, health and food security. Further recognize the great potential of nature-based solutions both in regard to climate mitigation and adaptation.
Commit to actively promote the full potential of nature-based solutions, while ensuring their social and environmental safeguards and enhancing their multiple benefits, in The Global Biodiversity Framework to be agreed at CBD COP15 in Montreal in December 2022.
Further commit to upscale and mainstream nature-based solutions in terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems in the Nordic Region and to apply nature-based solutions as a viable and beneficial alternative to technological solutions or to be integrated into these, to promote more robust, comprehensive and cost-effective actions.
Also commit to strengthen the collaboration in the Nordic Region to further develop synergies to achieve an even more structured approach to implementation of nature-based solutions.
Highlight that the Nordic program for nature-based solutions will facilitate guidance and advice regarding how the Nordic countries can adapt and organize measures to implement successful nature-based solutions.
Urge actors in the Nordic countries to make use of the information and reports produced by the Nordic programme for nature-based solutions and apply nature-based solutions actively in the green transition.
Encourage the scientific community to further develop the common knowledge base related to nature-based solutions in the Nordic region.
Underline the importance of the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the development of nature-based solutions and ensuring the contributions of their knowledge, practices and innovations while respecting the principle of free, prior and informed consent.
Recognize that all Nordic countries have signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use and thus committed to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation. Further recognize that the Nordic countries are promoting the uptake of deforestation-free agricultural commodities, recalling that the main driver of global deforestation is the expansion of agricultural land.
Emphasize the importance of protecting and restoring the world’s forest and of sustainable forest management, in line with our international ambitions in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Forest Forum.
Encourage actors across all sectors and levels of government, private companies, Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and institutions, local communities, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders in the Nordic countries to upscale the implementation of nature-based solutions and use the current knowledge in practice, thus contributing to make the Nordic Region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.
Approved by the Nordic Council of Ministers* Helsinki 2 November 2022
Espen Barth Eide Ministers for the environment and climate, Norway (Presidency)
Maria Ohisalo Ministers for the environment and climate, Finland
Romina Pourmokhtari miljø- og klimaminister, Sverige
Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson Ministers for the environment and climate, Iceland
Kalistat Lund Minister for Agriculture, Self-Sufficiency, Energy and Environment, Greenland
Magnus Rasmussen Minister of Environment and Trade, Faroe Islands
Christian Wikström Minister for Infrastructure, Åland Islands
*Due to the parliamentary situation in Denmark (General elections 1 November 2022), Denmark is not able to take part in the adoption of the Nordic Ministers declaration on ‘Nature based solutions’ at the Nordic Environment and Climate Ministers meeting 2 November 2022 in Helsinki.