The 5th Urban Nature Forum

19 Jun 2018
08:30 - 12:30

The 5th Urban Nature Forum

Since the ICLEI World Congress in Cape Town in 2006, ICLEI, Congress Host Cities and our partners have convened an Urban Nature Forum (UNF) directly preceding each ICLEI World Congress. The aim of these Urban Nature Forums is to create a common scape for the fast-growing alliance of partners from all sectors of government and civil society to connect, reflect and share local stories, emerging practices, new science, foster and establish partnerships and build common ground among this community in mainstreaming nature into all aspects of urban life.

It is common knowledge that cities across the world often bear the brunt of the multiplier effects of climate change and that the rate of urbanization is increasing. In this rapidly changing and uncertain world, both city governments and the natural resources that we all depend on, are under pressure to meet increased demands for infrastructure, land, water and improved resilience of urban communities. There is growing realization that while cities may displace nature as they grow, they may also choose to re-introduce, restore and enhance nature’s benefits so that nature can provide practical, innovative and resource efficient solutions to the complex challenges associated with climate change and rapid urbanization.

The shift in focus on finding solutions in nature recognizes the complexity of socio-ecological systems and the fact that they are dynamic, adaptable, inter-connected and able to provide a range of services that can strengthen urban communities’ resilience, quality of life and well-being. Increasingly, practitioners and policy-makers are turning to nature-based solutions (NBS) in solving societal and development challenges, while simultaneously enhancing human well-being and securing nature’s benefits.

The objective of 2018 Urban Nature Forum was to:

  • highlight the growing number of cities and local governments that recognize the value of nature’s benefits and applying NBS at the local level, and provide a platform for such cities and their partners to showcase NBS innovations and initiatives in practice;
  • serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and debate among practitioners, city officials, experts and other key actors, on compelling emerging topics in the application of nature-based solutions in cities;
  • provide an opportunity to highlight the advances made on selected themes of the 5th Urban Nature Forum in Montreal, Quebec and further afield in Canada.

Ingrid Coetzee
Senior Manager Biodiversity & Nature-based Solutions, ICLEI Africa and ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, Cape Town, South Africa


Panel A – How important is nature for today’s urban communities and how can we increase nature’s protection?

Daniel Hodder
Director, Gestion des parcs et biodivesite, Ville Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Coralie Deny
General Manager, Montreal Regional Environmental Council, Montreal, Canada

Karel Mayrand
Quebec General Manager, David Suzuki Foundation, Montreal, Canada

Francois Reeves
Heart Specialist, Centre hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Pierre Belac
Former Director, SOVERDI, Montreal , Canada

Panel B – Which good practices related to green and blue infrastructure have proven successful and which financing, collaborative or other opportunities are worth pursuing?

Oliver Hillel
Programme Officer, Sustainable Use, Tourism and Island Biodiversity, Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, Montreal, Canada

Marc-Andre Plante
Mayor, Terrebonne City, Quebec, Canada

Scott McKay
Programme & Policy Manager, Great Lakes & St Lawrence Cities Initiative

Normand Williams
Chief, Parks and Green Spaces Department , Longeuil, Quebec, Canada

Victoria Smaniotto
Director: Branding & Internationalization, EcoTech Quebec, Montreal, Canada


Panel C – Scaling up local action through innovative approaches

Mapambe Intelligence Chauke
Specialist Environment & Climate, South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Pretoria, South Africa

Lena Chan
Senior Director International Biodiversity Conservation Division, National Parks Board, Singapore (video recording)

James Brown
Programme Director, Biophilic Cities, Virginia, USA

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

David Callow
Team Leader Urban Forest & Ecology, City of Melbourne, Australia

Kirsty Robinson
Professional Officer Biodiversity & Nature-based Solutions, ICLEI Africa and ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, Cape Town, South Africa

Panel D –Scaling out local action through making connections

Bruna Cerqueira
Institutional Relations Manager, ICLEI South America, Sao Paolo, Brazil

Thomas Elmquist
Professor, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

Rob McDonald
Lead Scientist Global Cities Programme, The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, USA

Pamela Veinotte
Acting Executive Director, Parks Canada, Gatineau, Canada

David Cooper
Deputy Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, Montreal, Canada

Katia Fenyes
Biodiversity and Resilience Coordinator, ICLEI South America, Sao Paolo, Brazil