Blog | 20 Mar, 2024

Global conference calls for urgent action to accelerate Nature-based Solutions to tackle global challenges

The Global EverGreening Alliance in partnership with Government of Zambia, AFR100, and AUDA-NEPAD convened the global conference on accelerating Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in Livingstone, Zambia which ended with a call for community centric approach in the implementation of Nature-based Solutions.


The conference that took place from 11th to 15th March 2024 brought together experts in land restoration, sustainable agriculture, conservation agriculture, ecosystem restoration, marine restoration, forest and landscape restoration, biodiversity, protection of conserved and protected areas among others from around the world.

The conference convened over 500 diverse participants, including international and national NGOs, governments, private sectors, technical and scientific experts, journalists, Indigenous leaders, and community representatives.

IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa participated in the conference alongside global actors to present effective IUCN NbS standards and best practices, including Community Centric Restoration Financing through the Alliance for Restoration of Forest Landscape Ecosystem in Africa (AREECA).

The conference was officially inaugurated by Honourable Rodney Malindi Sikumba, Zambia's Minister of Tourism. He pointed out that the event was coming at an opportune time for the country which is currently facing its worst drought in recent history. 

IUCN AREECAPhoto: The NbS conference was officially inaugurated by Hon. Rodney Malindi Sikumba, Zambia's Minister of Tourism

“Zambia has just declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing drought. I therefore call upon this conference to work together to develop workable solutions to restore nature to help mitigate these effects of climate change,” Hon Sikumba addressed the conference.

Ms Kaori Yasuda, Rwanda Country Representative, who also serves as the Regional Strategic Partnerships and Programme Development Coordinator, emphasised on the importance of centring local communities in NbS efforts during the conference.

IUCN AREECAPhoto: Ms Kaori Yasuda emphasised on the importance of centring local communities in NbS efforts

"No local solutions, no Nature-based Solutions. Most effective way of accelerating NbS actions on the ground is the Community-Centric Approach," Ms Kaori Yasuda addressed conference participants.

Kaori invited NbS Conference participants to treat the IUCN Africa Conservation Forum which scheduled to take place in Kenya as the next milestone event to advance community centric approaches in NbS discussions.

Chris Armitage, CEO of the Global Evergreening Alliance, emphasized on the practical and collaborative efforts in sustaining mother nature.

“This conference is intended to be a working event in every sense—an event that draws on your insights to tackle barriers to scaling up Nature-based Solutions,” said Armitage.
Dr. Michael Usi, Malawi's Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, underscored the need for meaningful solutions that resonate with local communities. He urged conference participants to ensure that the Nature-based Solutions are local people-centred.

“We need to engage local communities in Nature-based Solutions as the key cornerstone partners in the implementation and accelerating of Nature-based Solutions,” said Dr Michael.

During side events, many participants appreciated IUCN Community Centric- model which is being used in Rwanda under AREECA project, and many countries from SADAC wish to have same model, so that totally community are engaged and empowered.

IUCN AREECAPhoto: Joseph Njue, AREECA Regional Programme Manager at IUCN, led IUCN and GIZ side events during NbS conference

"If we want to see impact on ground, we must embrace the Community Centric Approach by recognizing that communities are not beneficiaries but partners. They have to participate in the planning phase, implementation, and evaluation of the projects, " said Dr. Concorde Nsengumuremyi, Director General of Rwanda Forestry Authority.

IUCN AREECAPhoto: Dr. Concorde Nsengumuremyi, Director General, RFA participated in panel discussion organized by GIZ and IUCN

Indigenous knowledge and traditions are deeply rooted in sustainable management of communities against climate disasters and environment degradation.

It is vital that both women and men are empowered equally with essential skills to ensure the survival of future generations of both humans, nature and wildlife are safe and protected.

“Recognition and protection of our rights to our lands, territories and resources is central to eradicating poverty and ensuring that our communities participate in the planning phase, implementation and evaluation of all initiatives that aim to support them,” addressed by Paramount Chief Kawinga from Malawi and Her Royal Highness Muwezwa the 1st from Zambia during IUCN, GIZ side event.

IUCN AREECAPhoto: Paramount Chief Kawinga from Malawi and Her Royal Highness Muwezwa the 1st from Zambia during IUCN, GIZ side event

IUCN in partnership with GIZ led different side events which showcased the power of putting communities at the center of Nature-based Solutions.

Catalysing Effective NbS Design and Implementation at Scale with the IUCN Global Standard for NbS, Demonstrated by Examples of its Successful Application.

The objective of the session was to raise awareness of the role that the IUCN Global Standard for NbS can play in the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective NbS, as well as to demonstrate, through practical examples, how applying the NbS Standard can make users’ NbS intervention credible and impactful.

Session led by: Charles Karangwa (IUCN), NYÁRAI Orsolya, Tangu Tumeo, Joseph Njue

Financing mechanisms for NbS: Community-Centric Restoration Financing – A case for Rwanda

To explore and share the best practices and experiences in the financing and investment options for NBS.

Session led by: Joseph NJUE (IUCN)and Hannah Weggerle (GIZ)

Strengthening Local Governance to upscale FLR: The role of Traditional Leaders (Chiefs) for Successful Community-Led Restoration

The session's overarching goal is to inspire participants to replicate this forum model in their own regions, fostering stronger collaboration with traditional leaders. By placing traditional authorities in the driver's seat of restoration projects, we anticipate transformative change and a significant potential for upscaling sustainable initiatives.

Session led by: Tangu Tumeo (IUCN) and Hannah Weggerle (GIZ)

Informing Restoration Through Best Practices – From Knowledge to Action

Session led by : Hannah Weggerle (GIZ) and Joseph NJUE (IUCN).


Find photos from NbS Conference in Zambia here.


IUCN AREECAPhoto: The NbS conference convened over 500 diverse participants from across the world

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