Implementation of Urban Nature-based Solutions for Mitigation and Adaptation

Enhancing awareness among cities for using nature-based solutions to address climate risks and mitigation issues in urban areas.

Nature-based solutions (NbS) are increasingly understood to be effective and efficient options for addressing both mitigation and adaptation challenges in a wide range of settings. In urban contexts, they contribute to mitigation by sequestering and storing carbon in their biomass and in soils or by reducing the demand for cooling. NbS are also powerful options to reduce climate risk by significantly lowering the impacts of climate hazards, such as reducing the impact of wave height and strength in coastal settings, dissipating flood risk through flood plains, and reducing urban heat by providing shade. At the same time, NbS contributes significantly to the provision of jobs, energy savings, ecosystem services, health, and biodiversity.

However, despite many political pledges and overwhelmingly positive benefit-to-cost ratios in the longer term, NbS are often difficult to implement. This is due to a range of challenges, including high investment costs with delayed returns on investment, regulatory frameworks not designed to address natural solutions, the need to involve many stakeholders with potentially differing interests, as well as difficulties in monetizing all the benefits to overcome potentially higher up-front costs when compared to engineering solutions.

Implementation of Urban Nature-based Solutions for Mitigation and Adaptation will apply NbS in three medium-sized cities in Asia (Ahmedabad, India), Africa (Lusaka, Zambia), and a SIDS (Port Louis, Mauritius), facing different climate hazards, including heat, flooding, and coastal risks (sea-level rise, storm surges). Implementation of Urban Nature-based Solutions for Mitigation and Adaptation will entail working with local and national public and private stakeholders to assess NbS, focusing on the development of replicable implementation frameworks, business models, financing solutions (loans, grants, bonds, blended finance, insurance, etc.), risk reduction approaches (standards, risk sharing), integration and synergies with mitigation solutions (energy efficiency and renewable energies), and legal and regulatory frameworks to create enabling environments conducive to NbS and hybrid options (green, blue, and grey).

The goal is to increase awareness of the pros and cons of using NbS to deal with climate risk and mitigation issues in cities. It will also help make conditions for implementation and scaling up possible by:

  • making NbS more appealing to the private sector and financial institutions;
  • making the use of NbS easier to use in other cities; and
  • making NbS better integrated with energy efficiency and other climate mitigation measures.

It is expected that after Implementation of Urban Nature-based Solutions for Mitigation and Adaptation, local governments in the global south will be provided with options to adopt NbS to tackle climate-related hazards on a much larger scale and will be able to involve the private sector in this endeavour.

Implementation of Urban Nature-based Solutions for Mitigation and Adaptation is implemented by the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida).

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Focus area: Business Models and Markets

Country / Region: India, Mauritius, Zambia

Get in touch

Talat Munshi

Senior Advisor - Cities and Transport

Phone: +45 4533 5282

Gabriela Prata Dias

Head of section, Business Models and Finance

Phone: +45 4533 5326
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Henry Neufeldt

Head of Section, Impact Assessment and Adaptation Analysis

Phone: +45 4533 5251