SP5 Nature-based solutions

Transforming environmental and societal challenges into innovation opportunities
20 Jun 2018
16:00 - 17:30

SP5 Nature-based solutions

Unprecedented urban expansion is forecast from 2017 to 2030 and under current policies and practices, this growth is expected to result in significant losses of global biodiversity; and subsequently a significant loss of the valuable services that biodiversity provides which directly support human livelihoods (such as clean air, purified water, food and medicine). Local and subnational governments are increasingly being recognized as the level of government where the most effective change can be made. In light of increasing risks to global biodiversity, the need to mainstream biodiversity and biodiversity action into policies and practices at the local and subnational government level has become critical.

Mainstreaming biodiversity into policies and practices comes with its own challenges, however one approach which has been recently put forward by practitioners and policy makers alike are nature-based solutions (NBS) which refers to the sustainable use of nature in solving societal challenges, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits. NBS focus on the benefits to people and the environment itself, to strengthen the resilience of social-ecological systems so that they are able to respond to environmental change and hazards in the long-term. NBS go beyond the traditional biodiversity conservation and management principles by “re-focusing” the debate on humans and specifically integrating societal factors such as human well-being and poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, and governance principles.

The 6th Biodiversity Summit, which will be held in Egypt in December 2018, aims to accelerate efforts outlined in the QRC and further enable the mobilization of subnational action towards achieving the global biodiversity targets. Nature-based solutions will be featured strongly at the Summit and will be discussed in the context of mainstreaming biodiversity into various sectors such as infrastructure, sustainable energy solutions and health in local and subnational governments.

Leading up to the 6th Biodiversity Summit, this sub-plenary will be framed in a way that puts biodiversity and local human communities at the heart of NBS. In the context of the on-going political debate on urban growth and environmental concerns, the session will underline how NBS can transform environmental and societal challenges into innovation opportunities, by turning natural capital into a source for green growth and sustainable development. This framing can provide incentives for governments, cities and regions, institutions, business and citizens to develop innovative ways to integrate natural capital in policies and planning, and to enhance and maintain biodiversity and human well-being.

Dr. Cathy Oke
Councillor, City of Melbourne, Australia
Global Executive Committee Member, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

Dr Lena Chan (Video Address)
National Focal Point, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Singapore, Singapore

Panel 1

Pamela Veinotte
Acting Executive Director, Ontario and Waterways, Parks Canada, Gatineau, Canada

Robert Biwer
Vice Chair, Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE), European Committee of the Regions, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Janet Sanz
Deputy Mayor, Municipality of Barcelona, Spain

Daniel Hodder
Director, Parc Management and Biodiversity, Ville de Montréal, Canada

Thomas Elmqvist
Professor, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

Mahmoud Elsolya
Mayor, Sharm El-Sheikh City, Egypt

Panel 2

Laura Huffman
Texas State Director, The Nature Conservancy, Texas, USA

Dr. Cuong Luu Duc
Director General, Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning, Hanoi, Vietnam

Norman Dyotte
Mayor, City of Candiac, Canada

Olivier Hillel
Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, Canada

Invitation to join the global Cities with Nature Initiative