Centre-staging ecosystem services within development paradigms can improve understanding on the flow of benefits from nature to human societies across time, scale and geographies, and trigger well-being-oriented societal and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region. An assessment of the existing evidence establishes that substantial benefits and values can be gained by nurturing the relationship between ecosystems and socioeconomic systems. Illustrations are used to demonstrate the significant potential for policy action in creating positive impacts on both nature and society with the adoption of a Nature Futures framing for the region. The region has the potential to demonstrate the operationalisation of an integrated framework for nurturing nature-people relationships, in the pursuit of transformative change as envisioned under the sustainable development agenda. Ecosystem services can enable such transformative change, acting as triggers for action that mainstream nature into developmental decision-making.