R3. Latin American and European cities: partnership approaches to co-producing nature-based solutions

Tom Wild (University of Sheffield), t.wild@sheffield.ac.uk

Sandra Naumann (Ecologic Institute)

Juan David Amaya-Espinel (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana)

Diana Marcela Ruiz Rios (Instituto de Investigaci├│n de Recursos Biol├│gicos, Alexander von Humboldt)


This symposium, organised by Horizon 2020 projects CONEXUS and INTERLACE, provides a trans-disciplinary space for exchange of perspectives on nature-based solutions from cities in Latin American contexts and/or relevant collaborations between Latin American and European researchers. Emerging findings, experiences of partnership development and fully elaborated research results are all welcomed. In particular, inputs are sought about research, innovation and practical actions seeking to bridge different sectors of society (public, private, 3rd and voluntary/ community) in joint efforts to respond using NBS to global challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change and inclusion.


Rapid, messy and poorly planned transformation of natural habitats into urbanised areas in Latin America and Europe represents a serious challenge for environmental sustainability. Currently, urbanisation in both regions is a major anthropogenic driver of environmental change, and loss of native biodiversity as well of severe ecosystem services degradation. As a consequence, around 60% of the population settled in cities in these world regions are facing adverse situations related to a worsening in the living conditions in terms of its air quality, food, and water security or the spaces for recreation availability.

The conceptualisation, design, and implementation of actions to mitigate the negative impacts of urbanisation under the framework of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) indicates how cities can progressively reverse some deleterious effects on human well-being via the restoration and effective functioning of urban and peri-urban ecosystems and the services they provide. However, there persists a lack of knowledge about differing perspectives of NBS, the economic and social benefits they can generate in different contexts, and how to ensure their long-term impacts.

The purpose of this symposium is to facilitate a space to recognise advances, as well as opportunities in the use of NBS to address several challenges in Latin American and European cities associated with improving public health, urban liveability, climate change resilience, social inclusion, and environmental justice. It is expected that this symposium will catalyse NBS partnerships between European and Latin American cities, and beyond, in order to promote access to the shared and contextualised knowledge needed to help drive the required step-change in urban policy and practice to co-create NBS and restore ecosystems. The symposium is organised by the Horizon 2020 projects CONEXUS and INTERLACE.

In this symposium, we envisage that authors will present detailed cases examining societal and global impacts of NBS programmes and projects in Latin American and European cities. These initiatives may be at different scales (macro, meso, and micro) or may cross-cut multiple levels. We therefore call for proposed symposium papers to provide detailed contextual analyses around NBS interventions, the surrounding governance and institutional frameworks, and the realised or intended benefits and trade-offs of NBS interventions (including discussions of what we mean by success or otherwise). Our aspiration is that this discussion forum will provide a sounding board for further development and refinement of case studies and lessons learned, to support their wider communication via new and existing platforms (such as www.oppla.eu). Contact has been made with the Open Access Journal Nature Based Solutions with a view to pursue a special issue on this theme. Efforts are made to encourage and support the participation of Early Career Researchers.