Cairo, Egypt, 1 April 2022 – Experts from multiple countries, UN-Habitat officials, and partners this week exchanged ideas on multi-functionality and socio-economic benefits of urban nature-based solutions and how nature-based solutions can build climate resilience in cities of the MENA region.

“Urban nature-based solutions provide a powerful approach to addressing societal and environmental challenges,” Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for Arab States, told the hybrid meeting organised in cooperation with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

“Nature-based solutions are a powerful tool for enhancing resilience, improving the lives and well-being of city dwellers and protecting biodiversity,” he added.

The March 29 meeting was the initiative of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States, along with ICLEI, as part of the first Middle East and North Africa Climate Week.

The session brought together experts from different countries, including Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen in Morocco; Houcine Jrad, Mayor of Houmet Souk, Djerba Island, Tunisia; Faizah Slehat of the International Union for Conservation of Nature; Ali Akayed, Greater Amman Municipality in Jordan; and Sonya Benjamin, Biosphere Conservation Consulting Services in the United Arab Emirates.

The experts highlighted opportunities and barriers to the implementation of nature-based solutions and explored ways to scale up in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

UN-Habita’s Regional Representative for Arab States 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 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.