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The local waste company in Odder, Denmark, has found an innovative way to reduce the amount of garden waste that has to be transported and processed into compost: they work with local schools to turn it into brush fences for the community.

Not only has this saved the municipality an estimated €27,000 in transport costs in the first year, but by saving the fuel normally needed to transport the waste, they can eliminate up to 133 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The idea has become so popular that six other municipalities across the country have decided to follow suit.

This is the exact aim of a program initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021 to increase the adoption of nature-based solutions to combat climate change and reverse the loss of biodiversity in the Nordic countries – a key factor in the plan to become the most sustainable region in the world by 2030 .

The answers are found in nature-based solutions

Like the brush fences, nature-based solutions are a way to increase the resilience of both people and our planet through nature – and they are a very effective way to achieve both.

According to research from The Nature Conservancy and 15 other institutions, nature-based solutions could provide up to 37% of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to keep global temperature increase below 2°C.

In Norway, this also means fighting erosion to help save lives.

Every year we experience two or more landslides, and some of them have been devastating.

To combat this, the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomic Research (NIBIO) is leading a project to prevent further erosion by strengthening the slopes and edges around the country’s waterways and rivers.

While stone and concrete could achieve a similar result, NIBIO is investigating how increased vegetation can strengthen slopes while preserving water quality and promoting biodiversity.

Actions on the ground depend on proper funding

The passage of the landmark Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at the end of 2022 made clear that climate change and biodiversity loss are interconnected challenges that must have interconnected solutions.

With the EU Environment Council meeting in Brussels this week, we want to encourage them to add nature-based solutions to the agenda for future discussions.

Analyzes by the Nordic Council of Ministers show that policy across the region for nature-based solutions is inconsistent, with Norway the only country with legally binding targets.

Incorporating clear guidelines and binding targets for the adoption of these solutions in the EU legal framework would help to integrate them into both policy and practice in the Nordics and across Europe.

But even with the most ambitious biodiversity and climate targets underpinned by the best of intentions, the targets will be impossible to achieve if we don’t have the right funding in place to enable action on the ground.

Norway’s 10-point plan wants to involve everyone

Norway is one of over 40 countries globally to sign up to the 10-point biodiversity financing plan – a clear path to help close the USD 700 billion (€663.6 billion) annual biodiversity financing gap.

The 10-point plan emphasizes the importance of having a comprehensive approach to funding biodiversity, using all sources of funding: public, multilateral and private, international and domestic.

It also underlines the importance of ensuring that existing public and private funding flows are aligned to improve the protection, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Furthermore, it underlines the special role that international public finance plays in supporting developing countries to build a nature-positive economy.

The plan also clarifies that partnerships with all sectors and all levels of society are needed to achieve the goals and targets of the Global Framework for Biodiversity.

Promise of a new generation

We believe a key aspect is creating more seats at the table for indigenous peoples who have long been stewards of the land and local communities who are best placed to find local solutions to these global challenges.

Local communities with eroding watercourses, like those across Norway, and the town of Odder, where 6,500 students enjoy every day seeing hedgehogs, birds and insects that now call their fences home, teach us an important lesson.

They speak of the promise of a new generation learning to better balance our needs with those found in the natural world around us.

Espen Barth Eide is Norway’s climate and environment minister and Marianne Kleiberg is CEO of the Nature Conservation Society in Europe.

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