Latin American cities continue to grow, and environmental challenges are even more pressing. The region’s climate patterns are rapidly changing, temperatures are rising, and several areas are experiencing more frequent and severe weather events such as heavy rains. Some of the impacts are the melting Andean glaciers, devastating floods, droughts, biodiversity loss, landslides and urban temperature raise. With current projections, in coming years, Latin American cities will face significantly more climate threats that will impact its population, affecting in a greater way to the most vulnerable.
In regards on the impacts of global warming in cities, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2018), states that urban adaptation may be accelerated by the increase of the use of natural systems. The development, recovery and integration of green and blue urban infrastructure, such as street trees, parks, green roofs and streams into city planning can increment urban resilience to impacts of climate change in a considerably cost-effective way. Thus, Nature Based Solutions (NBS) is conceived as a broad concept that integrates a wide range of ecosystem related approaches to address societal challenges such as climate change, human health, and degradation of urban ecosystems. In the last years, there is a growing interest to include NBS in the international climate action agendas. Leaders in global environmental governance have recognized the full potential of nature in climate action and encourage to enhance co-operation to mainstream and scale up NBS support worldwide.
This closed course started today in Quito, Ecuador and is organized by IHS in collaboration with the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, PUCE. The project will provide participants with knowledge about NBS and the potential benefits in urban planning. Classes will offer conceptual and practical tools in an innovative way, by bringing together communities and experts from different disciplines, to co-create solutions for adaptation and mitigation to climate change in urban areas through nature. Collaborative tools and methods will be provided to implement NBS in a specific context. Participants from academia, local and national governments and non-governmental organizations working in the sectors of urban planning, disaster risk management, water management, community development and environmental science can benefit from this course by acquiring knowledge and competences about NBS.