Asian Development Bank

Nature based solutions

This page is part of the E3G Public Bank Climate Tracker Matrix, our tool to help you assess the Paris alignment of public banks, MDBs and DFIs.

Paris alignmentReasoning
Paris alignedADB’s nature based solution frameworks are aligned with the Paris Agreement.


Nature based solutions

The ADB’s Climate Change Operational Framework states that “ecosystem-based adaptation measures will be sought for both rural and urban resilience, with priority given to environmental productivity improvements and biodiversity protection and rehabilitation options” and to “strengthening climate resilience across built infrastructure and ecosystems, and at the community level”.

ADB has also published an in-depth report on the potential for nature-based solutions in climate resilience in the Greater Mekong subregion and further deep dives in the field of water in Vietnam. This shows a concerted effort to promote these types of solutions in at least part of their region of operation.

ADB in 2018 conducted a strategic planning for peatlands assessment in Mongolia.


The ADB has sought to promote “an ecosystem-based approach to climate change into biodiversity conservation planning” within the Greater Mekong subregion through events and publications.

Recommendation: This ecosystem-based approach to climate change should also be applied in other regions across Asia. Clarification from ADB on whether it is already doing this would be welcome.

ADB’s Safeguard Policy ensures that critical habitats and protected areas remain untouched.

On oceans, it is also notable that ADB has recently launched a $5 billion Healthy Oceans Action Plan.


The ADB’s Climate Change Operational Framework Includes a focus on agriculture’s role in climate adaptation.

ADB also notes in its climate framework that over 60% of the region’s population works in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The productive sectors considered most at risk from climate change. 

Integration of climate into fisheries policy may be a gap for the ADB, particularly given that several Asian countries are home to a large proportion of the world’s coral reefs, which are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This issue requires further research.  


ADB has committed to “not supporting the construction of roads in old-growth forests” and “the Bank will not finance any rural infrastructure or other public investment project that contributes significantly, directly or indirectly, to deforestation or to the degradation and depletion of forests.”

ADB’s strategy is to actively pursue forest protection and rehabilitation of degraded forestlands in its region, while keeping agricultural development to non-forest lands, according to third party reports.

ADB’s involvement in forest investments has a mixed history. For example, one study in 2003 found that between 1980-2000, ADB provided about $990m in loans to the forest sector in 11 Developing Member Countries (DMCs), and a large portion (81%) of ADB’s forest sector investments went to establishing plantations for fuelwood, soil protection and commercial timber production. However, in some countries, the ADB has been involved in supporting and implementing policy and institutional reforms to enhance the human welfare impact of forests and forestry investments, recognising the importance of land rights for communities to commit to long-term forestry efforts.  

In many ADB member countries, forests are recognised in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as important for both adaptation and mitigation.  The ADB’s own climate framework admits that ADB has a very limited portfolio of investments and limited internal capacity on preventing deforestation and degradation thus making it “doubtful” that ADB “will be able to carry out large investments in Phase 1” of the climate framework.

Examples of ADB projects using nature based solutions


Project title

Nature-based solution


Jiangxi Pingxiang Integrated Rural-Urban Infrastructure Development

Combining flood risk management and environmentally sustainable river rehabilitation.


Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Program – Tranche 2

Address immediate coastal protection needs and coastal instability using environmentally and socially appropriate solutions, with a focus on softer options such as artificial reefs, beach nourishments, and dune management.


Enhanced Water Security Investment Project

The project will promote a river restoration approach and natural based solutions for river works.

Source: ADB

Last Update: November 2020

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