A MOOC on Sustainable & Innovative Cities in Africa

Highlighting the crucial role of innovation in accelerating the emergence of sustainable cities on the African continent.
Subnational and local governments (SNLGs) are key players to ensure the effective and prompt implementation of the newly adopted Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF), an especially its Target 12.

Nature-based Solutions” (NbS) is a relatively recent concept. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Nature-based Solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously benefiting people and nature.

To ensure greater understanding of the value of the concept among practitioners and experts, AFD Campus as part of the MOOC “Sustainable and innovative cities in Africa” organised  the webinar Nature-based solutions, Les solutions fondées sur la nature, ways for cities to adapt on the 8th of June. The aim was to present various project initiatives developed in recent years by African communities to meet the challenges of their cities by mobilizing nature-based solutions.

Nature For cities

Planning based on solutions offered by nature is a key issue to ensure the balance of territories and the well-being of populations. In Africa, examples are multiplying of communities wishing to take up the dual challenge of climate change and the preservation of biodiversity.

During the one-day webinar, numerous experts highlighted:

– the concept of Nature-based Solutions,

– different initiatives showing the modalities that can be mobilized, as well as the benefits that can be derived from such approaches, such as CitiesWithNature

– inspiring practices and recommendations relating to the mobilization of NbS in African cities.

Given the fruitful partnership with ICLEI (a global network of more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development) in the run-up to the adoption of Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework (KMGBF), our project was proud to be counted among the various initiatives that were given the floor to sharing best practices.

“The project’s support to ICLEI CBC has not only fostered greater ownership of the #KMGB by local and subnational governments, but most importantly it has nurtured great leadership among them to develop biodiversity inclusive urban planning, paving the way towards the implementation of its Target 12. » said Elisabeth Chouraki, International Technical Expert, UNEP MAP

Nature-based Solutions address societal challenges through the protection, sustainable management and restoration of both natural and modified ecosystems, benefiting both biodiversity and human well-being. They are underpinned by benefits that flow from healthy ecosystems.

These solutions target major challenges like climate change, disaster risk reduction, food and water security, biodiversity loss and human health, and are critical to sustainable economic development.

Addressing biodiversity and climate issues together, which are too often addressed separately: such is the great contribution of this new approach!  Working with nature contributes to mitigating global warming: ponds, soils, forests… play a key role in protecting against climate change, by absorbing and storing the CO2 generated by anthropogenic activities.

In fact, these solutions have gained growing attention from many actors such as States, local authorities, donors, scientists, companies, NGOs and associations, etc. Restoration of green banks, plantations to stem erosion or fight against urban heat islands, etc. these “soft” alternatives can have a potentially more attractive cost/benefit ratio than civil engineering works (or “grey” infrastructures) to protect against climate risks.

You can watch the webinar replay here.

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