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Research and innovation

Nature-based solutions research policy

EU research policy, what nature-based solutions are, background, news and documents

What is the EU's policy?

Nature-based solutions support major EU policy priorities, in particular the European Green Deal, biodiversity strategy and climate adaptation strategy, as a way to foster biodiversity and make Europe more climate-resilient.

The Commission actively pursues policy dialogues and outreach initiatives at EU and global level to foster engagement, develop a broad knowledge base and stimulate market supply and demand.

Nature-based solutions: Commission definition

Current policy goals

  • provide the evidence for nature-based solutions
  • improve framework conditions for nature-based solutions at EU policy level
  • develop a European research and innovation community
  • advance the development, uptake and upscale of innovative nature-based solutions
  • mainstream nature-based solutions in international research and innovation

How the policy is implemented

EU research and innovation for nature-based solutions is currently implemented through

  • the EU’s funding programme Horizon 2020
  • BiodivERsA ERA-Net is a network of national research programmes on biodiversity across Europe that organises international research funding on a competitive basis. Work will be continued in the upcoming Biodiversity Partnership under Horizon Europe, the EU’s next framework programme (2021-2027)

In Horizon Europe, nature-based solutions will be further tested, deployed, promoted and their benefits and impacts assessed, notably via EU missions.

What are the benefits?

Nature-based solutions are about using nature’s own resources - clean air, water and soil - in a smart way, to tackle environmental challenges.

They work with nature rather than against it to provide sustainable, cost-effective ways to achieve a greener economy that is competitive and resource-efficient.

Nature-based solutions help to create new jobs and economic growth, through the manufacture and delivery of new products and services that enhance the natural capital rather than deplete it.

Presentation10 May 2021
Innovating with nature

Nature-based solutions are designed o bring more nature and natural features and processes to cities, landscapes and seascapes. These innovative solutions also support economic growth, create jobs enhance our well-being.

Publication cover
(636.9 KB - PDF)


European citizens are facing a broad range of challenges

  • unsustainable urbanisation and related human health issues
  • degradation and loss of natural capital - the world's stocks of natural assets - and the ecosystem services it provides such as clean air, water and soils
  • climate change
  • losses caused by an alarming increase in natural disasters

Over 70% of people in Europe live in cities, a figure expected to increase to over 80% by mid century. This means 36 million new urban citizens needing housing, employment and care by 2050.

Biodiversity loss, the climate emergency and the Sustainable Development Goals also call for transformative change over this timeframe.

The European Green Deal steps up efforts on climate-proofing, resilience-building, prevention and preparedness. Public and private investments, including in nature-based solutions, are a key component of the transformational change needed to adapt to climate change and help ongoing efforts to limit it.