Encontros Scientia

Encontro Scientia | Social and economic indicators to evaluate the social and economic effectiveness of Nature-based solutions

Encontro Scientia with Firdaous Halim (Island Environmental Risks & Society)

27 April 2023 . 12h00 (GMT+1)


Despite the increasing worldwide recognition of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) as crucial responses to societal challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, they still face numerous obstacles that hinder their wider adoption and implementation. One significant challenge is the demonstration of their effectiveness, particularly social and economic, because of the insufficient knowledge about the available frameworks and indicators for conducting such evaluations.

To address this knowledge gap, we carried a literature review aimed at identifying frameworks and/ or indicators used in the literature to evaluate the social and economic effectiveness of NbS. Out of 255 scientific studies found via academic literature searches, only twelve of them used an assessment framework or indicator-based technique to deliver social-economic assessments of NbS. The evaluations performed differed greatly, where the majority concentrated on evaluating impacts rather than measuring effectiveness.

The assessment of social-economic indicators was briefly addressed in each article, in comparison to environmental indicators. A total of 33 economic and 107 social indicators were found, with the former being used more often. The influence of NbS on physical and/or mental health, as well as the creation of new employment and economic activity, were often used as indicators to assess the NbS.

To increase the wider adoption of NbS as sustainable solutions for societal challenges, we need to have a better understanding of their effectiveness assessments, and develop rigorous frameworks and indicators for conducting them that consider environmental and social-economic outcomes equally.


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