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UCCRTF features its work on Nature-based Solutions at the Climate Adaptation Summit

April 2021

In January, the Netherlands hosted the online Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) 2021 with more than 18,500 registered participants. 

Over 30 world leaders, 50 ministers, and 50 international organisations met virtually with scientists, the private sector, civil society, and youth representatives. The Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF) hosted a side event at the CAS focussed on entry points and barriers for Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in developing countries.

The event, titled “How can NbS be a Priority in a Post-Pandemic Recovery in Developing Countries?” included a wide range of examples from NbS implementation in UCCRTF cities. It opened with an inspirational message from the UK Regional COP26 Ambassador for Asia-Pacific and South Asia, Ken O’Flaherty.

“Natural systems are on the front line of the fight against climate change,” Mr. O’Flaherty said. “They are directly impacted by climate change, but they also provide vital resources to store carbon. This is why they are a core theme for the COP presidency.”

 

He also called for greater urgency in taking NbS to scale and indicated that the UK government would continue to work to support NbS projects, saying, “we need to amplify and scale up NbS across the world, and not lose hope in nature providing solutions that we need. We are very pleased with the progress being made by ADB’s Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund, with UK Government support.”

The event included an expert panel discussion on the primary entry points for and barriers to implementing NbS in urban contexts. The panellists were: Kerrie Burge from Monash University, who spoke about the experiences of the Revitalization of Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE) programme; Matthijs Bouws of One Architecture, EcoShape, and Wetlands International, who provided insights from UCCRTF’s work in New Clark City, Philippines; Nathanial Matthews, of Global Resilience Partnership, who spoke about NbS from its experience as co-hosts of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) and Geoffrey Wilson, a Senior Water Resources Specialist at ADB, who is currently managing a UCCRTF-funded Knowledge Support Technical Assistance Project on Strengthening Integrated Flood Risk Management.

UCCRTF examples from practice

The CAS event also provided insights from several UCCRTF projects from across the region. Matthijs Bouws and Joy Amor Bailey provided an overview of UCCRTF’s work in New Clark City, Philippines, where a river study helped change the city’s plans for green spaces surrounding the river. Learn more.

Ms. Bailey also highlighted the work done as part of the RISE projects in Makassar, Indonesia, which demonstrated the power of community engagement for NbS adoption. “The communities were treated not as beneficiaries but as project partners,” she said. “I have seen the key role of community workers in facilitating project actions. Community members were willing to give not only their time but also their resources to the project showing the power of the approach”. Learn more.

UCCRTF’s Bon Masangcay highlighted the importance of new spatial tools to support forward-looking planning for climate change resilience. Mr. Masangcay  explained how ADB uses the UCCRTF’s Spatial Data Analysis Explorer (SPADE) tool to help project officers plan for climate impacts at the city level. Learn more.

Okju Jeong introduced UCCRTF’s work using NbS to support Water-Sensitive Urban Design in several cities in Viet Nam. Explaining how the approach can help cities become more sustainable, reduce the risk of flooding, and transform urban spaces into vibrant centres of community life. Learn more.

Vickie Antonio touched on one of the resonating themes from the side-event by emphasising the need for a systems approach to ensure that NbS works in practice. UCCRTF has encouraged this in its projects by promoting planning that cuts across scales and sectors to build layers of resilience within cities. “When we are doing NbS solutions, we need to look at a wide range of combinations of hard and soft measures to ensure the maximum benefits for the city,” she said.

Ms. Antonio provided examples of UCCRTF projects introducing flood early warning systems in Kolkata and Viet Nam. They use a system of sensors to track rainfall, temperature, air quality and status of pumping stations to warn residents of the potential for extreme events such as flooding and heatwaves. UCCRTF is also supporting the piloting of innovative financing products to support public and private responses to climate-related disasters.

In Hue, Viet Nam, UCCRTF is piloting a disaster risk financing tool to help provide insurance for historical buildings in the city’s Citadel area. UCCRTF is supporting the development of a micro-finance program in at least four countries which will provide access to financing for residents in peri-urban areas to enhance the resilience of their dwellings and improve access to basic infrastructure such as water supply, power and sanitation. Finally, in India, UCCRTF provided grant financing for the first floating solar park in Visakhapatnam, India. Attached to this project is a wetland restoration and watershed management project. Once the solar park is completed, the energy will power a network of water supply systems for the city.

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AUTHOR

  • Will Bugler