Cities face multiple interrelated challenges, emerging from an increasing demand for services, crumbling infrastructure, loss of biodiversity and climate change. Access to safe water and sanitation is one of the key challenges. In this context, the Indian Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has highlighted the need to mainstream blue and green spaces and co-organised a virtual "International Knowledge Conclave on Green Infrastructure". McKenna Davis was invited to join the international panel and present on 'Policy instruments to promote urban nature-based solutions in Europe'.
The two-day event brought together over 500 registrations from academia, research and practice stemming from 27 countries on 17 and 18 December 2020. Sessions focused on the introduction of research tools, experiences and dissemination activities that have been successfully applied to create water sensitive and resilient urban settlements through green infrastructure deployment. Geographically diverse case studies and projects augmented discussions, drawing attention to lessons learned from India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia, Poland, Peru, Indonesia, Germany, Estonia and the UK.
McKenna Davis presented the findings of a guidance document she co-authored, entitled 'Addressing Climate Change in Cities – Policy Instruments to Promote Urban Nature-based Solutions'. She focused on the range of policy, planning and financial instruments relevant for nature-based solution design, implementation and maintenance within a European context. In the subsequent panel discussion, she considered the opportunity to apply these approaches to the Global South and raised potential associated challenges and opportunities.
The guidance document was produced as part of the project "Climate NBS Poland", supported by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Ministry of Environment. It is complemented by the publication 'Addressing Climate Change in Cities – Catalogue of urban nature-based solutions' which aims to support planners, designers and landscape architects in various sized urban areas in Europe and beyond in applying NBS instead of or alongside traditional grey infrastructure approaches.
The global knowledge conclave is one in a series of activities under the 3-year partnership (2019-2022) between CSE and the University of West England Bristol, an initiative supported Global Challenge Research Fund and International Water Security Network supported by Lloyd Registry.