24 August 2018
Daniela Rizzi, ICLEI

Connecting Nature launched its Academy on Nature-Based Solutions in Brasilia, Brazil, during the 2nd Seminar on Nature-Based Solutions from 9-10 July 2018. This seminar was held as part of the EU-Brazil Sector Dialogue on Nature-Based solutions for Sustainable Cities between the European Union and the Government of Brazil.

The seminar was co-organised by the ICLEI European Secretariat, the ICLEI South America Secretariat, the Connecting Nature project and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). On the Brazilian side, the seminar was co-organised by the Center for Strategic Studies and Management (CGEE), the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC) and received funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

Figure 1: Museu da República in Brasília, where the event was hosted.  Source: ICLEI Europe.

 

Connecting Nature will set-up and implement the Academy on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) over the next four years and provide cities in different regions around the world with access to a wide range of support and expert knowledge developed by the European cities and researchers participating in the project (e.g. co-creation processes, planning approaches, business acceleration through NBS, financing and business models). Participants wanting to join the Academy will have the opportunity to learn from each other on and offline. The formats will include webinars and workshops to foster city-to-city exchange on good NBS examples, business-to-business capacity building for NBS-oriented portfolios and project partner-to-city support to develop NBS action plans.

ICLEI launched the Academy in an interactive setting, reuniting representatives from Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Campinas, Goiás, Londrina, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Sorocaba and Vitória. Also, there were Brazilian researchers, non-governmental organizations and businesses as well as European partners, who together explored the opportunities the Academy provides for them.

The launch of the Academy in Brazil was supported by two workshops organised by ICLEI. Participants explored the idea of co-creating nature-based interventions together and discussed the concept as well as the potential of NBS to offer solutions towards current urban challenges in Brazilian cities. Participants shared their experiences with NBS, outlined success stories and typical barriers, identified supportive strategic plans and limiting regulations in their contexts. They also voiced their interests and needs to be able to apply and use the potential of NBS to the fullest.

Figure 2: Participants discussing their experience on nature-based solutions (NBS) in the workshop on the potential of NBS in the Brazilian context. Source: ICLEI Europe.

 

The Academy for Nature-Based Solutions was welcomed by participants as a great opportunity to engage in and catalyze a transition process from grey to green interventions in the Brazilian urban and business contexts.

Brazilian cities, businesses and researchers are also invited to join the Academy to share their knowledge, abilities and perspectives on NBS to inspire European cities. This goes hand in hand with the objective of mainstreaming NBS internationally, displaying how these can help tackling societal challenges in the most diverse contextual settings.

Throughout the event, the discussions showed that the main barriers to nature-based development in Brazil included low awareness on the cost-efficiency of NBS and of the multiple benefits they can provide, limited financial resources in the Brazilian public sector as well as overly sectoral governmental structures. Yet, the relevance of NBS to develop cities sustainably became clear, underlined by showcasing numerous NBS examples from cities and projects as well as policy support at regional and national government levels. 

The launch of the Academy in Brazil will be followed by other regional kick-off events around the world from the Caucasus to Korea and China in an effort to establish regional partnerships on NBS beyond Europe.

More information on the Academy on Nature-Based Solutions will be available soon on the Connecting Nature website, as well as a report on the launch of the Academy in Brazil. For questions, please contact alice.reil@iclei.org.