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Building with Nature at Climate Conference (COP24) in Katowice

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  • Coastal resilience
  • Integrated delta management

At the recent Climate Change Conference in Katowice in December 2018 Wetlands International and EcoShape presented the Building with Nature approach, thereby contributing to global efforts to integrate the benefits of nature and climate risks in the planning for infrastructure development.

Building with Nature is an innovative approach to hydraulic engineering that harnesses the forces of nature to benefit environment, economy and society. There is a growing interest in Building with Nature type of solutions. Greater uptake of Nature Based Solutions and targets to complement grey with green infrastructure in climate change adaptation plans can foster demand for Building with Nature.

One result of our outreach on Building with Nature is the outcome document of the Round-table on Resilience of the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action. The key messages highlight actions that public, private and community actors can take to accelerate investments to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people and countries to enhance climate resilience. It also recommends the Building with Nature approach: ‘Build with Nature instead of building in Nature and ensure that all infrastructure investments are climate risk proofed and reach the optimal mix of green/blue and grey infrastructure solutions with related resilience metrics’.

Jane Madgwick, CEO Wetlands International at the Roundtable on Resilience in Katowice

Need for sustainable infrastructure and an integrated approach

Henk Nieboer, director of EcoShape joined as a panel-member in a session on “Creating space for biodiversity, ecosystem services and infrastructure in a rapidly warming world: Supporting NDC implementation”, which was hosted by WWF US. Core message by WWF in this session was that 75% of infrastructure that is needed in 2050 still has to be build. And if we have to build it we better do it sustainably. An important point made by Nieboer was that we need to adapt procurement mechanisms in general and more specifically at the multi-lateral banks in such a way that they favour sustainable solutions. Furthermore, the audience seemed to like his idea to set-up international committees to work on a common language with regard to e.g. ecosystem service delivery and the description of nature based solutions.

Henk Nieboer, Director of EcoShape at the WWF event on Sustainable Infrastructure in Katowice


In another session on ‘Business for nature and climate, the case for an integrated approach’, Henk Nieboer as a member of the audience discussed the following:

  • If we want to achieve innovation and positive change in the business sector, the focus shouldn’t be only on the large corporates of the world, but more interaction with and between innovative and disruptive Small and Medium Enterprises should be created.
  • Don’t assume that businesses are driven by risk aversion; businesses are driven through seizing opportunities by taking risks;
  • Therefore, promote opportunities, rather than pointing out risks if you want to engage the private sector in climate change mitigation and/or adaptation;
  • Don’t assume businesses need a level playing field; there should be a playing field which favours sustainable businesses;
  • Invite more business people to forums about businesses and engage with them.

More information about the Building with Nature philosophy, approach, applications and projects can be found on the EcoShape website. This article is based on the original article on the EcoShape website.