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8 March 2023
UrbanByNature Latin America Hub: Webinar #5 Recap
8 March 2023
Involving communities in monitoring urban nature
Did you miss our fifth UrbanByNature Latin America webinar? Let’s briefly recap what happened:
The moderator, Sergio Aranguren, Biodiversity Coordinator at ICLEI Colombia, began by re-introducing the CLEVER Cities Project and the UrbanByNature Latin America Hub, which serve to help cities grow capacities and learn about implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). He gave a brief overview of the UrbanByNature methodology and introduced Step 6/ MONITOR, which was the focus of this webinar. This step is dedicated to monitoring local implementation progress according to priorly identified indicators, and the evaluation of the results.
Participants then heard from the first guest speaker, Igone García Pérez, a Project Director and Researcher with Tecnalia, where she has worked with the CLEVER Cities Project to develop an NBS Monitoring Framework. In the three CLEVER front-runner cities Hamburg, London, and Milan, the CLEVER Monitoring Framework was used to assess the social impacts of NBS within urban regeneration projects. To define indicators and KPIs appropriately aligned with the local context and the type of NBS intervention, it was important to plan the monitoring approach along with the NBS design and co-creation process. Each of the three cities engaged and collaborated continuously with residents to understand and incorporate their expectations and desires for the local NBS interventions. This approach enabled the cities to identify baselines, to create long term visions, and to define roadmaps to achieving these NBS visions. This locally relevant co-creation approach necessitates adequate resources, finances, knowledge and research at the local level to establish co-monitoring methodologies that will be maintained in the long term.
Igone then introduced the resulting tools of the CLEVER Monitoring framework which included social impact KPIs for NBS as well as a questionnaire with concrete questions for residents to understand the environmental and social efficacy of the interventions. The KPIs are broadly categorized into perceived health and wellbeing, social cohesion and integration, thermal comfort, perception of security, and knowledge/awareness related to NBS. As the CLEVER Cities project concludes, it can use this monitoring approach to analyze the success of the interventions and advocate for cities to scale and replicate the interventions.
The webinar continued with the second speaker, Viviana Panizo Hubner, who represented the Mayor of Lima, Peru as the Technical Director of the Municipal Authority of Pantanos de Villa - Prohvilla. Prohvilla is an autonomous region designated for the promotion, conservation and development of the wetland area, which is home to over 200,000 residents and contains vital natural ecosystems. The local government is taking action in legal, administrative, and scientific spheres to protect the wetlands which offer immeasurable benefits to the population in the form of carbon absorption, wave force reduction, flood reduction, and drought reduction. Monitoring the ecosystems, the population, and the roads is critical for diagnosing threats and making appropriate, data-informed decisions to protect both the population and the wetlands. Viviana discussed important threats to the ecosystem, such as municipal waste dumping, deforestation, soil disruption, sewage dumping, and incompatible business activities. To restore and enhance the ecosystem, the City has developed a three year, million disaster risk reduction plan that will serve to benefit the 200,000 inhabitants, 1,400 species of wildlife, and 90 species of plant life of Prohvilla. Viviana detailed several specific programs within this plan for the regeneration and recovery of the ecosystem and the town.
Viviana also stressed the importance of stakeholder engagement and participation in all of these processes and plans. The local government engages with residents and a wide variety of civil society organizations and local institutions. For instance, through monthly meetings with the wetland’s Children Rangers Program, the local government encourages young residents to contribute and help envision solutions that they see as valuable.
Marcela Noreña Restrepo, a University Professional at the Environmental Secretariat Medellín, Columbia, gave the final presentation, which focused on the Renaturalization Plan of Medellín. This plan was established through UrbanGreenUP, which like CLEVER Cities, is a European Union Horizon 2020 Project. The renaturalization initiatives seek to use NBS to mitigate climate change, improve air and water quality, and maintain sustainability within the city. Already, the City has established a framework with a clear methodology, in which phase one was to establish the structure of the plan, phase two was to establish the renaturalization strategy and baselines, and phase three will be to implement the proposed measures. Through this plan, Medellín seeks to foster a city that can preserve, generate, restore, understand, and learn to use urban and rural green and blue spaces. Marcela introduced the five phases of the renaturalization plan, which are co-creation, management, financing, NBS implementation, and monitoring. Monitoring NBS implementations is a key component because it better enables the city to have clarity needed to overcome the urban challenges.
In the second part of her presentation, Marcela detailed the implementation of several of Medellín’s active NBS projects, which address a wide variety of challenges and opportunities. These interventions included several eco-parks, creek restoration projects, community gardens, wildlife habitats, and green walls.
The webinar recording is available on the CLEVER Cities Youtube Channel. For more information on upcoming events and to receive our UrbanByNature Digest, fill out the UrbanByNature registration form.
UrbanByNature is a facilitated expertise-sharing and capacity-building programme to empower local governments all around the world to harness the boundless potential of nature for sustainable urban development.
The programme is hosted by the CitiesWithNature platform and has successfully been launched in Brazil, South Korea and the Caucasus as part of the Horizon 2020 project Connecting Nature. CLEVER Cities is expanding UrbanByNature’s global outreach by building bridges with the nature-based solutions communities in China (jointly with Connecting Nature), Latin America and South Eastern Europe.