UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre Hosts Event on Urban Nature-Based Solutions

UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre, in collaboration with the Danish Nature-based Solutions Knowledge Platform, hosted "Building Resilient Cities: The Role of Urban Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation"

June 27, 2024

Urbanization rates are rapidly increasing worldwide, compounding climate risks and exacerbating vulnerabilities in cities. This causes an urgent need for implementation of urban nature-based solutions that can enhance cities’ ability to adapt to climate change while limiting emissions.

To address this need UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre, in collaboration with the Danish Nature-based Solutions Knowledge Platform, hosted the event “Building Resilient Cities: The Role of Urban Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation”, on June 26th.

The event brought together stakeholders from urban development sectors in Denmark and globally to enhance understanding and coordination of nature-based solutions for urban climate mitigation and adaptation amidst rapid urbanization and climate change, and to foster collaboration to improve funding, scaling, and implementation.

Need for collaborative action

Opening the event, UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre director John Christensen emphasized the act collaboratively on matters related to cities and urban development, highlighting cities’ contribution to innovative solutions.

Key presentations were delivered by Mirey Atallah, Chief of the Adaptation and Resilience Branch, and Sharon Gill, Programme Management Officer and Cities Lead, who discussed UNEP’s work on nature-based solutions and urban resilience, as well as Marília Israel from ICLEI’s Regional Office in Brazil

Leading up to a group discussion, the event focused on the importance of integrating nature-based solutions into city planning and budgeting frameworks and aligning with mitigation efforts, with presentation on concrete solutions in different parts of the world, such as Paris, South Korea and Hamburg, as well as in Mauritius, where UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre is working closely with local partners to scale nature-based solutions to tackle urban heat, flooding and coastal hazards.

Discussions and debate on barriers and looking forward

The group discussions focused on the realistic expectations of nature-based solutions, identifying and weighing on the many barriers hindering nature-based solutions. The groups also discussed how nature-based solutions can support just and equitable human development inside cities.

The event ended with a panel discussion featuring Lykke Leonardsen, head of Resilient and Sustainable City Solutions in the City of Copenhagen, Kasia Wieszczeczynska, Urban Resilience expert from the University of Southern Denmark, Niels Lund, Vice President for Climate Change & Health at Novo Nordisk, and Talat Munshi, senior advisor from UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre.

The panel discussed visions for a better urban future and provided forward-looking insights into landscape-level thinking.

The panelists underscored the importance of South-to-North knowledge flows, as well urban designs and nature-based solutions and the role they play on several indicators for what constitutes a “good-life”, particularly human health. The need for capacity building and data on nature-based solutions was particularly underscored, especially with regards to local experiences and traditional knowledge.

Bravery needed

The key takeaways from the event included the necessity of systematic application of nature-based solutions by the key stakeholders on the ground, making nature-based solutions bankable for cities, and fostering collaboration to enhance understanding and implementation.

From the panelists, the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature was highlighted, as well as the need for a paradigm shift, and changing how we see nature, and a call for bravery in the planning and implementation of nature-based solutions.

As well as providing a platform for knowledge sharing and discussion, the event will also serve as the basis for more in-depth analysis on nature-based solutions coordinated by UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre. This analysis will be concluded and published leading up to the COP29 negotiations in the fall of 2024.


If you want to know more about UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre’s work on nature-based solutions, you can read about our project on Implementation of Urban Nature-based Solutions for Mitigation and Adaptation.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida).