Cities 4 Climate: Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) Session, "Put nature in your plans”, United Nations, New York

Kia Ora, Ni hao ma, Warm Pacific Greetings.

In co-leading the Nature-Based Solutions pillar, we realised that for many people nature is not top of mind when thinking about climate action. And we realised, too, that nature is sometimes thought about as “out there”, in the countryside or forests or oceans, not here in the heart of cities where over half of us live.

Working together with China we developed an NBS Manifesto and we asked for a commitment: to unlock the full potential of nature in climate action.  We outlined some ways to do that, and the first was “put nature in your plans”.  Put nature in your plans because it’s more likely that it will be done if it’s in a plan.  Put nature in your plans, because that’s how you attract investment and therefore deliver results.

Listening to this afternoon’s panel, it’s clear that you are putting nature in your regional and local government plans.  I see that in my country too: in 2017 our largest city Auckland set out to plant 1 million trees by 2020. It’s already surpassed that number.  Auckland’s 2050 plan has a focus on green infrastructure, which helps to minimise the impacts of climate change, by improving its resilience and allowing infrastructure to adapt to change.

Today’s panel has showcased many ways to value nature, to reduce and remove carbon emissions and to increase resilience in cities and regions. You have demonstrated that nature is not the opposite of cities; it is an integral part of them. Thank you for playing your important part in unlocking nature’s full potential in climate action.