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ICF Evidence Project: Nature-based Solutions ‘Triple Win Toolkit’

International Climate Finance (ICF) is a UK Government commitment to support developing countries to respond to the challenges and opportunities of climate change as part Official Development Assistance (ODA). The delivery of ICF is overseen by Defra, FCDO, and BEIS who commissioned work to directly inform how public funds can best be spent on Nature-based Solutions to positively contribute to biodiversity, climate and poverty reduction policies in ODA-eligible countries – the ‘triple win’.

Goals and Objectives

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions which enlist elements of nature or natural processes to address a particular problem, or suite of problems, faced by society and which deliver multiple benefits in the form of public goods. The Nature-based Solutions ‘Triple Win Toolkit’ is an interactive web-based tool, which offers guidance to achieve a ‘triple win’ to enhance biodiversity, address climate change, and reduce poverty, through NbS in the context of Official Development Assistance spend.

Diagram of the 'Triple Win', showing the three elements of biodiversity, climate and people

The project steering group – made up of colleagues from Defra, FCDO, and BEIS – met in a series of project design workshops to agree the main goals, objectives, and work package tasks. The stakeholder group was also consulted and updated in a series of collaborative calls. This co-design process led to the following framing questions:

Goal: Can Nature-Based Solutions effectively and efficiently contribute to simultaneously achieving Her Majesty’s Government’s biodiversity, climate, and poverty-reduction policies for ODA spending

Objective 1: How can the contribution of a NbS ODA project to biodiversity conservation be effectively and efficiently measured at both the project and programme scale?

Objective 2: What are the underlying principles of a NbS ODA project that successfully (i.e. effectively and efficiently) simultaneously contributes to biodiversity, climate, and poverty-alleviation policies (the ‘triple win’)?

The JNCC team reviewed key literature, over 2,900 case studies, and biodiversity indicators and indicator frameworks in order to respond to the framing questions.

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Findings and Resources

The NbS ‘Triple Win Toolkit’ is available as an interactive web-based tool, and as a downloadable PDF document. It provides key Principles and Implementation Guidance for NbS projects in ODA-eligible countries to deliver the triple win. This guidance can be used by programme administrators and by project managers or implementation teams. It highlights 12 case studies selected from 378 which demonstrated effective implementation of the principles and delivery of a triple win in an ODA-context.

 Infographic showing project per cents. Approximately 67 per cent specified benefits for biodiversity, climate and people; and 64 per cent were in the terrestrial environment.

Though NbS are widely utilised, there is no one-size-fits-all intervention that can be recommended as the most efficient and cost-effective solution. NbS are very effective when used as a suite of interventions – and can be integrated into ‘grey’ or engineered solutions. The versatility of NbS means they can be applied in a diverse range of sectors, expanding beyond conservation driven projects. This offers the opportunity to deliver net gain for strategic policy objectives, especially for biodiversity.

Of the triple win objectives, biodiversity can be particularly difficult to measure and often relies on qualitative data or potentially misleading indicators. Specific advice, considerations, and challenges regarding Biodiversity Indicators in Context was developed, with two headline indicators selected as possibilities to develop into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the ICF programme. Development into KPIs will require in-depth evaluation and engagement with stakeholders. The two selected were:

  • Hectares Under Ecological Restoration as a Result of Funding: An extent indicator, based on the definitions of the Society for Ecological restoration
  • Improvement in Status of Threatened Species as a Result of Funding: Based on the IUCN Species Threat Abatement and Restoration (STAR) metric, which is founded on the global Red List assessments.

The relevance of these indicators as they relate to wider ODA funding, the principles, and national reporting against MEAs is all considered as part of this review.

A review of the cost-effectiveness of NbS and barriers to private finance investment completes the report. This presents the economic case for NbS, analysis of cost-effectiveness methods, and an assessment of the financial models utilised by the case studies.

More information can be found at the NbS ‘Triple Win Toolkit’ Resource Hub which provides background reports, draft KPIs, and the evidence base.

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Project Partners

The project team would like to thank the steering group made up of staff from Defra, BEIS, and FCDO.

Logo for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)

This report was produced by JNCC for Defra through the International Climate Finance Evidence Project.

Special thanks to Wolfs Company for research and work completed to support financial assessments.

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