Forest and Farm Facility

Community-led nature-based solutions contribute to multiple dimensions of resilience

Long-term financing is fundamental in successfully scaling up community-driven nature-based solutions to tackle the impacts of climate change. Although often underestimated, what tends to take the most resources in implementing nature-based solutions is the cost of organizing and strengthening the capacity of local communities. Financial mechanisms that channel long-term climate and development finance, that directly support community-driven nature-based technologies, is key.

This was among the main recommendations at the 14th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA14), held online on 21-25 September. Organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), CBA14 virtually brought together practitioners on climate change adaptation, including more than 500 participants from over 70 countries.

The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) participated in four sessions:

  •  22 September:
    • Delivery mechanisms for achieving scale
    • Building multidimensional resilience to scale-up nature-based solutions for adaptation (NbS): the power of community-based Organizations
  • 23 September:  How can community-led nature-based technologies help local communities adapt to climate change?
  • 24 September: Community-led NbS for adaptation: lessons for building back better from COVID-19  

Nature-based solutions, an approach that protects natural resources while improving the state and quality of ecosystems, contribute to multiple dimensions of resilience. These technologies and tools help smallholder farmers and producers address challenges, as they are cost-effective and offer multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. One such benefit is increased income by reducing input costs pegged with premium prices for sustainably produced products. They also lead to improved health by replacing chemical inputs with organic ones, and help protect biodiversity by promoting product diversity and organic inputs.

To successfully adapt and practice nature-based solutions that are driven and led by communities, an integrated approach is required. It needs to respond to multiple values and needs relating to a community’s cultural identity, natural resource conservation efforts, economic development and supporting FFPOs. Governments, private investors, researchers and non-governmental organisations need to recognise the value of local community and indigenous people’s knowledge on nature-based solutions, based on their decades of practice, and support them in implementation. Actors need to communicate the benefits more effectively to engage key stakeholders and consider the costs of collective action. This is particularly true as the cost of organising and strengthening the capacity of local communities, rather than the implementation itself, take up the most resources.

Forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs) hold a significant position in mobilising smallholder farmers to practice and adapt nature-based solutions. One such technology is a new assessment tool in monitoring and reporting nature-based solutions. Launched in July by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the tool sets new standards that can aid FFPOs in upscaling these solutions, such as in forest landscape restoration.

In Kenya, the Tree Growers Association of Nyandarua helps empower tree growers gather and use farm-level data on agriculture and climate change to lobby and advocate for better-enabling policies. With support from FFF, the farmer-led tree inventory enables producers to use commonly available tools to manage information used in mapping, valuation certification and business development.

With targeted support, FFPOs can become highly efficient in scaling up resilient practices and nature-based solutions. However, these efforts need to be relevant to smallholder farmers and respond to various social, economic and environmental challenges. Investing in organizational and institutional development of FFPOs is thus, vital to engage smallholder farmers in planning, implementing and scaling up these efforts.