- Practice Areas
- Urban Labs
- About Us
- Media Center
- Contact Us
Climate related disasters and inequities may push more than 100 million people in developing countries below the poverty line by 2030. This makes mainstreaming climate change mitigation and adaptation an absolute imperative for protecting ecological, social, and economic systems. Cities around the world are showing a growing interest in bringing nature to the urban commons, streets and public spaces, and towards protection and conservation of ecosystems at large.
Ecosystem restoration is also the theme for the World Environment Day, 2021. As the myriad benefits that natural ecosystems offer in combating climate change, and enhancing food security, water supply and biodiversity become evident, many Indian cities – such as Kochi and Hyderabad which are members of the global Cities4Forests initiative – are indicating increasing interest in investing in nature-based solutions (NBS) for ecosystem restoration.
However there exist challenges such as lack of awareness, available capacity and governance models needed for its adoption and operationalization. Access to funding and understanding financing modalities also remain key barriers. As a result, government and non-government stakeholders struggle to co-create and co-produce opportunities and interventions.
Three key barriers to operationalising NBS financing:
There are, however, noteworthy NBS examples emerging from around the globe where innovative business models and inclusive governance practices have leveraged public investment and successfully gained private sector support.
The above examples illustrate how different cities have incorporated and implemented NBS at different spatial and regulatory scales. While public finance is the most commonly used source of funding for NBS projects, to meet the global and local targets of sustainable development, climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation, all partners need to be consulted and engaged. In this context, the private sector plays a very important role because they have the skills (technical knowledge, administrative, delivery and implementation) that complement government actions. Private sector business are considerably dependent on natural resources for their sustenance and 90 % of business leaders believe that they have a role in building resilience and preparing cities against climate change impacts. Hence, business models which can quantify value of nature at multiple scales and showcase a reliable return on investment can help rally support from different stakeholders.
As India aims to grow into a US$5 trillion (INR 364 trillion) economy by 2024, climate-proofing the economy and building resilient development sectors must be given priority. NBS may be the most cost effective and practical way forward to protect against extreme climate events and in building resilient economies.
Views expressed are the authors’ own.