In all countries, economic growth comes with the loss of natural capital, our ultimate source of wealth. Therefore, the challenge is combining growth with preserving our ecosystem to secure a more prosperous Asia and the Pacific. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are a potential approach in enhancing the health of our ecosystem. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines NBS as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems.” These solutions “address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.”1 NBS also refer to a family of approaches that is designed to formally include ecological processes as services within infrastructure management systems. This means looking at infrastructure challenges with a fresh perspective (Browder et al. 2019) and planning, designing, and financing greener infrastructure in new ways. Over the past 10 years, climate change, technological innovations, and shifts in development paradigms have increased the need and opportunities to use NBS. This practitioner’s guide explains why NBS are important for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and its stakeholders across the region. It discusses the benefits of using this approach and how to introduce green options to clients. It will help project officers understand when NBS may be suited to meet longer-term project goals and how to apply these solutions. In addition, this practitioner’s guide presents upstream and downstream strategies to develop and carry out NBS projects. To help readers understand the opportunities and challenges in using NBS, five case studies from Bangladesh, Nepal, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Philippines, and Viet Nam have been included for reference in the appendixes.2 These case studies highlight what has worked within ADB to date for successful NBS. Although NBS are not a panacea, these solutions can still play a crucial role in achieving sustainable and resource-efficient infrastructure. Through this practical guide, the authors aim to help mainstream NBS in ADB and engage a broader group of projects, client staff, and partners to expand the portfolio of available options.

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