Nature-based solutions: how to unlock the power of traditional knowledge in the face of the climate emergency

Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a sustainable approach to protect, manage, and restore ecosystems to address societal challenges and benefit people and nature. The integration of indigenous and traditional knowledge is essential in NbS as it complements scientific knowledge and provides empirical insights into the natural environment. In the Pacific region, traditional knowledge is transmitted orally across generations. By combining traditional and scientific knowledge, NbS strategies can be developed holistically and sustainably.

We met Dolores deBrum Kattil, Executive Director of the Marshall Islands Conservation Society, Christopher LaFranchi, Founder and CEO, OneReef, Being Yeeting, Fisheries Advisor for the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority and  Ludovic Branlant, Kiwa Initiative regional project development coordinator for the Pacific Community to understand better how to value the use of traditional knowledge in the face of the climate emergency.


Q: Why have Nature-based Solutions become so important in recent years?
A - Dolores deBrum Kattil:

In the Marshall Islands we see and understand the concept of NbS, I must mention that NbS have traditionally been an integral part of life in the islands, as we have always been trying to find ways to work with nature and what we have available to survive and meet life’s challenges.

Yet over the years, because of westernisation through education and socio-economic growth, our people now sometimes opt for hard and fast solutions for their everyday need.. With   climate change and sea level rise, the global community recognises that these solutions can offer improved protection and support needed for us to continue living on our islands. Although these ways of working with nature may seem primitive or fundamental, they are based on generations of knowledge, and many are still very relevant and have an essential role in connecting our people with the places.

NbS can serve as touchstones to the rhythms and patterns of nature and ultimately for managing the resources that we have and still depend on. This is why they gained importance over the last few years.