Nature-based Solutions and Cities

Online
Organizer(s)
Geneva Environment Network

About this Session

Cities worldwide are increasingly suffering from the effects of climate-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, sea-level rise, heatwaves, landslides, and storms. Meanwhile, cities face important societal challenges, including poverty reduction and the provision of basic services, livelihoods, and accessible, affordable, and adequate housing. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas – a ratio projected to increase to 68% by 2050 -, developing comprehensive solutions to jointly address environmental, societal and economic challenges in cities is essential. 

In this context, Nature-based Solutions (NbS) provide a framework to address these multifaceted challenges. Within cities, NbS such as tree-covered areas along streets or parks and wetlands, can reduce the urban heat island effect and cooling needs through natural shading, manage run-off water with fewer flooding events, and improve health and well-being, both directly and through recreational opportunities. Around cities, NbS interventions can help with watershed management, recreational space, managing wildfires, improving drinking water quality, reducing, and capturing CO2 emissions, and reducing the impact of sand and dust storms.

NbS are a powerful tool to enhance resilience, support sustainable development, improve the quality of life of urban citizens and safeguard biodiversity. They also provide cost-effective approaches to urban sustainability challenges. Indeed, the co-benefits they provide in terms of public health, social cohesion, or climate change mitigation, are likely to exceed the cost of implementation and maintenance. Thus, NbS can create win-win solutions for society, the environment and the economy.

As the global community celebrates World Cities Day on 31 October, this year’s theme – “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience” – invites us to rethink how we can reduce climate-related risks for urban populations, including through the use of NbS. Leading experts at this session will discuss the potential of NbS for sustainable urban development and resilience, and the needed future action to mainstream NbS in urban planning and policies at the city level.

Time

3:00 - 4:30 p.m. (GMT+2)

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