Axe 1 - Expanding the green-blue network

Nature-based solutions

By 2030, 1000 nature-based solutions are applied in urban and peri-urban areas to address in particular water management, soil degradation and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

This objective specifically aims to address challenges related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, water management and soil degradation in cities by using nature-based solutions and in doing so to strengthen the urban and peri-urban green-blue network.

Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems which address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services, resilience and biodiversity benefits. Nature-based solutions restore natural and modified ecosystems for their biodiversity values and address societal challenges such as climate change or natural disasters. In particular urban and peri-urban areas will be heavily affected by climate change, given the stronger impact of heat waves, water shortage, water floods, air pollution, etc. Applying nature-based solutions specifically in urban and peri-urban areas will support urban biodiversity while addressing several of these challenges and enhance the resilience of cities as well as the well-being of its citizens. Such actions will contribute to several goals regarding climate change adaptation and mitigation, water management, regulating floods, water purification and retention, reducing gas emissions and air purification, enhancing the CO2 storage capacity in soil, wetlands and forests, etc. as well as public health.

What is to be achieved?

  • Restoration and conservation of biodiversity
  • Restoration and enhancement of the connectivity of the ecological network
  • (Re)naturalising and reducing concrete surfaces in urban and peri-urban areas
  • Integration of biodiversity considerations in spatial planning
  • Promotion of using nature for tackling societal challenges
  • Improved water management, fight against soil erosion, enhanced climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Maximising synergies and optimising co-benefits

Criteria to be reflected by the voluntary engagements:

  • Use nature/natural processes that support biodiversity to address the challenges related to climate change, water management (including flood management) and land degradation
  • Have respect for and/or improve the specific environmental and ecological characteristics of the area (e.g. the topography, the type of landscape, the local plant and animal life, ...)
  • Incorporate those natural processes into the surrounding area and environment
  • Implement those natural processes in a way that is consistent with other actions undertaken to address these challenges (e.g. rehabilitate native plant species around water amenities that are set up to improve water management, ...)
  • Strengthen ecological connectivity between nature-based solutions and surrounding natural areas

Model Projects "Nature-based solutions"

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