IUCN’s Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions

IUCN’s Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions


International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Type(s) of Tool

StandardsProvide information about the compliance of projects or assets with a given set of sustainability criteria.


Natural Infrastructure

Lifecycle Phase(s)

Strategic PlanningPublic authorities identify the needs and long-term vision for infrastructure development., Project PlanningGeneral strategy for a project’s delivery is developed., Concept DesignTechnical experts broadly outline the project’s basic characteristics., Detailed DesignTechnical experts further elaborate the Concept Design.

Open Source


Language Availability


Country of Origin


Date of Development



IUCN’s Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions aims to equip users with a robust framework for designing and verifying NbS that yield the outcomes desired, in solving one or several societal challenge(s). This tool includes a self-assessment that consists of eight criteria and associated indicators, which address the pillars of sustainable development (economy, environment and society) and resilient project management. In addition to the Standard, there is associated guidance, which instructs users how to perform a self-assessment to: Design new NbS project; Upscale pilots by identifying gaps; and Assess past projects and future proposals.

Tool Outcome

The output of the self-assessment comes in the form of a percentage match compared against good practices, with a traffic light system to identify areas for further work and adherence to the IUCN Global Standard.

Sustainability Criteria

The Standard consists of 8 Criteria and 28 Indicators
– Societal challenges
– Design at scale
– Biodiversity net-gain
– Economic feasibility
– Inclusive governance
– Balance trade-offs
– Adaptive management
– Mainstreaming and sustainability