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Environ Res. 2017 Nov;159:24-38. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.07.006. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Natural Assurance Scheme: A level playing field framework for Green-Grey infrastructure development.

Author information

Beijing Forestry University, 35 Qinghua E Rd, WuDaoKou, Haidian Qu 100085, China; Asia Centre, 71 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris, France. Electronic address:
Deltares, Water Resources and Delta Management, 2600 MH Delft, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
BRGM - Université de Montpellier, 1039, rue de Pinville, 34000 Montpellier, France. Electronic address:
National Research Council - Water Research Institute, via De Blasio, 5, 70132 Bari, Italy. Electronic address:
Dept. of Hydrology, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark. Electronic address:
CCR, Modelling - R&D - Technical Studies Reinsurance Department, 157 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France. Electronic address:
Stockholm International Water Institute, Linnegatan 87A, SE-10055 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:
Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), Helmholtz Center Geesthacht, Chilehaus, Eingang B Fischertwiete 1, 20095 Hamburg, Germany. Electronic address:
Institute for Development of Local Potentials, Retece 215, 4220 Skofja Loka, Slovenia. Electronic address:
Department of Geography, King's College London, WC2R 2LS, UK. Electronic address:
REVIVO, Institute for Ichthyological and Ecological Research, PE Ljubljana, Staretova 1, SI-1233 Dob, Slovenia. Electronic address:
Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), 7640 NW Hoodview Circle, Corvallis, OR 97330, USA. Electronic address:
IHE Delft, Institute for Water Education, Department of Integrated Water Systems and Governance, Westvest 7 - PO Box 3015, 2601 DA Delft, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
ICATALIST and Cheney Fellow, University of Leeds, UK. Electronic address:
Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address:


This paper proposes a conceptual framework to systematize the use of Nature-based solutions (NBS) by integrating their resilience potential into Natural Assurance Scheme (NAS), focusing on insurance value as corner stone for both awareness-raising and valuation. As such one of its core goal is to align research and pilot projects with infrastructure development constraints and priorities. Under NAS, the integrated contribution of natural infrastructure to Disaster Risk Reduction is valued in the context of an identified growing need for climate robust infrastructure. The potential of NAS benefits and trade-off are explored by through the alternative lens of Disaster Resilience Enhancement (DRE). Such a system requires a joint effort of specific knowledge transfer from research groups and stakeholders to potential future NAS developers and investors. We therefore match the knowledge gaps with operational stages of the development of NAS from a project designer perspective. We start by highlighting the key role of the insurance industry in incentivizing and assessing disaster and slow onset resilience enhancement strategies. In parallel we place the public sector as potential kick-starters in DRE initiatives through the existing initiatives and constraints of infrastructure procurement. Under this perspective the paper explores the required alignment of Integrated Water resources planning and Public investment systems. Ultimately this will provide the possibility for both planners and investors to design no regret NBS and mixed Grey-Green infrastructures systems. As resources and constraints are widely different between infrastructure development contexts, the framework does not provide explicit methodological choices but presents current limits of knowledge and know-how. In conclusion the paper underlines the potential of NAS to ease the infrastructure gap in water globally by stressing the advantages of investment in the protection, enhancement and restoration of natural capital as an effective climate change adaptation investment.


Adaptation; Green infrastructure; Insurance value; Nature-based solutions; Resilience

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