This publication explores nature-based solutions (NBS) that strategically conserve or restore nature to support conventionally built infrastructure systems (also referred to as gray infrastructure), which can reduce disaster risk and produce more resilient and lower-cost services in developing countries. In the disaster risk management (DRM) and water security sectors, NBS can be applied as green infrastructure strategies that work in harmony with gray infrastructure systems. NBS can also support community well-being, generate benefits for the environment, and make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in ways that gray infrastructure systems alone cannot.
Though NBS approaches have yet to be fully integrated into decision-making or to compel widespread investment in developing countries, this is on the brink of change. Developing countries and their partners (including multilateral development banks and bilateral agencies) are increasingly utilizing NBS in DRM, as well as in water security, urban sustainability, and other development projects. The growing number of NBS projects offer lessons and insights to help mainstream NBS into development decision making. As more disaster risk managers understand and integrate well-designed NBS into DRM projects, more finance can be routed to nature-based projects that are cost-effective and resilient. With that goal in mind, the World Bank’s Nature-based Solutions Program aims to facilitate uptake of NBS in water management and DRM projects.