The Nature Facility: providing technical support and advice to FCDO

What is the Nature Facility?

The UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced the Nature Facility at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in December 2022, acting on the findings of the UK government’s 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy

The review’s top international priority was addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

The Nature Facility helps FCDO staff and partners put nature at the heart of their work. It aligns with the UK’s international climate and environment commitments and aims to make FCDO’s work more effective and sustainable. 

Wherever possible, work will be ‘nature-positive’ – actively protecting, restoring, regenerating and sustainably managing natural assets.

The facility was launched in June 2023 for an initial trial year under IIED’s management. 

What does the Nature Facility offer?

The facility offers:

  • Advice on demand: delivering technical support on ‘nature-and-people’ issues to FCDO, to support design and implementation of strategy, policy and programming;
  • Depth of expertise: building a nature roster that draws from academic, practice and policy expertise across regions and thematic areas relevant to FCDO activities and interests;
  • Capacity and learning: building a core capacity to understand FCDO’s commitments on nature and how best to deliver them; and a focal point to share learning. 

If you are part of an FCDO office and would like to make a request, please contact us at enquiries@redaa.org.

Do you want to join the roster of experts? 

IIED is curating a ‘Roster of Experts’ to call upon as requests for support come in from FCDO. These experts will be people with relevant experience we can contact to carry out specific assignments. 

Each assignment entails around 15 days of expert time and is delivered within a 6-8 week timeframe. 

If you have nature and development expertise and would be interested to join the Roster, please fill the online application form.

Examples of Nature Facility cases

Case 1: Implementing the Environment Act 2021 — guidance for responding to new legal obligations to apply the Environmental Principles Policy Statement.

Summary: The Nature Facility developed a tool for FCDO staff to help them fulfil the duty to have ‘due regard’ to the environmental principles policy statement The tool provides a framework and sequence of actions to help FCDO staff to consider the relevance of five core environmental principles in policymaking - integration, prevention, rectification at source, polluter pays, and the precautionary principle - to inform policy decisions and aid record keeping.

Department: Energy, Climate and Environment Directorate.

Case 2: Tree crop commercialisation strategy in Ghana — supporting a new national authority to improve environmental and social sustainability.

Summary: The Nature Facility studied the sustainability implications of the Tree Crop Development Authority’s (TCDA) overall strategy to 2027, the main sustainability issues associated with each of six tree crop value chains (cashew, shea, mango, coconut, rubber, and oil palm) and the strategic choices that TCDA will need to consider to embed sustainability. 

The facility gave recommendations on stakeholder engagement, individual tree crop working groups, a cross-cutting national platform on sustainable tree cropping, a tree crop sustainability framework to deploy in standards, extension, certification and tracking – as well as in establishing a Ghana sustainable tree crop brand.

Department: FCDO Ghana, in support of the Ghana Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA).

Case 3: Use of biomass energy and its impact on feedstock sustainability in Indonesia.

Summary: The Nature Facility produced a briefing paper in response to the question ‘If Indonesia were to convert ~50GW of coal fired power station capacity to ~30-40% biomass what would be its impact on feedstock sustainability (e.g., deforestation risks), and what kind of regulatory changes would be needed to improve sustainability?’

The briefing highlighted the risks of the very high demands on forests for providing biomass feedstock and concluded that the most promising approach would be through a blend of different types and sources of biomass. It noted that incentives to smallholders to plant suitable species as part of mixed farming and agroforestry systems will be most likely to promote rural prosperity, while also securing a reliable supply of feedstock.

Department: British Embassy Jakarta