UN-Habitat Regional Office for the Arab States joined forces with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability on Tuesday, 29 March and discussed how nature-based solutions can build climate resilience in cities of the MENA region.
The hybrid session, organized by UN-Habitat, in cooperation with ICLEI, was part of the first-ever Middle East and North Africa Climate Week and came under “Integrated approaches for climate-resilient development” Track, led by UNDP.
The session included discussions on the multi-functionality and socio-economic benefits of urban nature-based solutions.
“Urban nature-based solutions provide a powerful approach to addressing societal and environmental challenges,” Dr. Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for Arab States, said. “Nature-based solutions are a powerful tool for enhancing resilience, improving the lives and well-being of city dwellers, and protecting biodiversity.”
The session brought together experts from different countries, including Mr. Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco, Mr. Houcine Jrad, Mayor of Houmet Souk, Djerba Island, Tunisia, Ms. Faizah Slehat, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Mr. Ali Akayed, Greater Amman Municipality, Jordan and Ms. Sonya Benjamin, Biosphere Conservation Consulting Services, UAE.
The experts highlighted opportunities and barriers to the implementation of nature-based solutions and explored ways to scale up in the MENA region.
Dr. Erfan Ali shed the light on examples of urban nature-based solutions, implemented by UN-Habitat, in countries across the Arab region, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Nature-based solutions also offer opportunities to incorporate natural elements into cultural heritage conservation and management as showcased by the Mayors of Chefchaoun and Djerba.
MENA Climate Week 2022, hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and held from 28 to 31 March, explores resilience against climate risks, the transition to a low-emission economy, and collaboration to solve pressing challenges.