Mangrove trees shown both above and below the water


Nature-based solutions—solutions that involve working with nature to address societal challenges—have gained momentum as a tool that can deliver multiple benefits.

The benefits of nature are far reaching—from providing clean air and water to ensuring protection from flooding and creating cooling effects within our urban landscapes. That is why we work with nature to help address the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, and many other threats to a sustainable future. 

Here at IISD, we explore the holistic value of nature through the lens of sustainable development, building an evidence base that can mobilize practical approaches to address these challenges. 

We work with governments, international agencies, civil society, and other stakeholders to advance nature-positive outcomes that support and benefit both people and ecosystems while always ensuring these efforts include and benefit everyone. 

Most of this work focuses on building more nature-based infrastructure to support growing environmental, societal, and economic needs, as well as tapping into ecosystems to help build resilience for the ever-intensifying impacts of climate change.

Nature-Based Infrastructure

Nature-based infrastructure, also known as natural infrastructure, is a way to plan and work with nature to meet our infrastructure needs. While these infrastructure projects are designed to fulfill specific goals, they can also generate a host of other social, economic, and environmental benefits that go beyond what traditional engineered or "grey" infrastructure can provide. Our research shows that nature-based infrastructure is often more cost-effective than traditional alternatives.

With the Nature-Based Infrastructure Global Resource Centre, we bring together key partners to establish a business case for nature-based infrastructure. We provide data, training, and customized infrastructure project valuations based on the latest innovations in systems thinking and financial modelling.

In the Canadian context, IISD's Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions initiative is working to scale up natural infrastructure on Canada's Prairies for cleaner water and more resilient communities. Our Canada-based work also includes conducting research at the IISD Experimental Lakes Area to improve our understanding of human impacts on the environment, influence policy and environmental best practices, and support public awareness. 

Nature Building Resilience to the Impacts of Climate Change

We also highlight the role of nature in building resilience to climate change. Our Nature for Climate Adaptation Initiative provides knowledge and capacity development opportunities in the form of guidance, events, and a massive open online course to enhance the implementation of nature-based climate solutions that provide benefits for biodiversity and people of all genders and social groups. 
As the host of the secretariat of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network, we explore how NAP processes present a strategic opportunity to raise the profile of nature-based solutions as an essential approach to adaptation at scale.