Invited by BfN (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) and ENCA (European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies), Sandra Naumann, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, gave a presentation titled "Nature-Based Solutions – The Case of Sustainable Urbanization". Drawing on the outcomes from the Horizon 2020 Expert Group on Nature-Based Solutions and Re-Naturing Cities commissioned by DG Research & Innovation of the European Commission and in which Sandra Naumann took part, the talk outlined the EU Research and Innovation Agenda on nature-based solutions (NBS) with a particular focus on sustainable urbanization.
The Horizon 2020 Expert Group on Nature-Based Solutions and Re-Naturing Cities identified four goals that offer exciting opportunities to promote systemic and sustainable NBS, which will help Europe achieve its aim of being a world leader in responsible innovation while also meeting society's needs. The four goals entail: enhancing sustainable urbanisation, restoring degraded ecosystems, developing climate change adaptation and mitigation, and improving risk management and resilience.
In light of the BfN/ENCA expert workshop on "Nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas and their rural surroundings", the presentation focused on enhancing sustainable urbanisation, outlining two key research and innovation actions:
- Urban regeneration through NBS aims to identify new uses for under-used and unused land and grey infrastructure (derelict and fringe areas), for example, to provide openings for business, promote innovation in business models driven by sustainability, and use cities as (living) laboratories for innovation, experimentation, and testing cost-effectiveness. City networks can play a key role in replicating demonstration projects and upscaling the capacity of interventions.
- NBS for improving well-being in urban areas seek to integrate NBS into urban design and planning and thus to provide access to green spaces and good quality landscapes to all citizens in order to promote human health, well-being, social cohesion, crime reduction and community support. The presentation highlighted the clear need for demonstration projects, the importance of enhancing citizen empowerment as well as citizen-driven innovation.
The final report of the Horizon 2020 Expert Group Towards an EU Research and Innovation Policy Agenda for Nature-Based Solutions and Re-Naturing Cities [pdf, 3.5 MB, English] is available online.
The presentation was held at the BfN/ENCA expert workshop on "Nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas and their rural surroundings", which took place at the International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm from 9 to 12 March 2015 and brought together around 30 European experts. The objective was to showcase and explore good practice examples of NBS dealing with climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe's urban areas and their surrounding landscapes, to analyse challenges to NBS, and to identify indicators of success and thus steer the content of the upcoming international BfN/ENCA conference on 'Biodiversity and climate change in urban areas and their rural surroundings' from 17 to 19 November 2015 in Bonn, Germany.