COP 15 Side Event | The Role of Nature-Based Infrastructure in Sustainable Cities

December 14, 2022  |  1:00 pm to 2:30 pm (EST)

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Panellists during COP 15 NBI side event


If done unsustainably, urban development is one of the main drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss. Building with nature—rather than against it—is a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative for providing infrastructure services in cities. In this context, the Nature-based Infrastructure (NBI) Global Resource Centre will publish a paper during Biodiversity COP 15 on the value of NBI in the planning and construction of cities that enhance biodiversity instead of destroying it. NBI in cities is, on average, 42% cheaper and creates 36% more value than relying only on grey infrastructure if avoided costs and co-benefits are taken into account. For each dollar invested, NBI in cities generates an average of 15 dollars in return for society, making investments in urban nature economically viable.

To ensure that we leverage the potential of nature for cities, we need a more systemic, integrated approach to urban development. We must also ensure that the value of nature for infrastructure services becomes an integral part of urban planning, infrastructure project valuations, financing, and delivery.

The post-2020 global biodiversity framework and its targets will drive and inform such integrated approaches to city planning and infrastructure developments.

Event Description

This event featured a panel discussion on how integrated approaches that embrace NBI can unleash great synergies for healthy and sustainable cities. The discussion highlighted the importance of integrating biodiversity impacts into urban planning, and speakers addressed the following questions:

  • Why do we need integrated approaches?
  • What are some examples, and what impacts have they had?
  • What barriers exist, and what solutions have been applied to integrated approaches?
  • What can the Convention on Biological Diversity and Global Framework do to support this?


  • Benjamin Simmons
    Director, Sustainable Infrastructure and Nature-based Infrastructure Global Resource Centre, IISD
  • Christine Mwangi
    Regional Coordinator, Africa Sustainable Investments and Infrastructure, WWF Kenya
  • Joanna Eyquem
    Managing Director, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation
  • Ivo Mulder
    Head, Climate Finance Unit, UN Environment Programme
  • Richard Florizone
    President & CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development