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Making cities livable through nature-based solutions – Interview with Luc Bas, IUCN

Can climate change be better addressed through a more localised, city-centric and nature-oriented focus?

"I'm the Regional Director for IUCN based in Brussels, Regional Director for Europe, and the IUCN is the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, who looks at the climate challenge from solving it with nature and therefore we call these “nature-based solutions”. And we see a project and a campaign in nature for climate as crucial, because too often the climate debate is reduced to an energy debate.

The other elements that we find important is to emphasize that climate change is worsening all these effects, but the environmental degradation, the local environmental degradation, is therefore sometimes overlooked and also the causes of that local environmental degradation, which is overconsumption, either locally or by the OECD countries in their commodity consumption that is driving deforestation and water consumption is too high up, and wrong practices. So we do have to be mindful about that and not forget that it's not only about the climate challenge, but it's actually still very local environmental challenge that we have to be thoughtful of and which affects security, and therefore can cause conflict.

The SDG 11 on sustainable urbanization should be really seen as a big opportunity, because living in cities is the most efficient way to organize our societies, and efficient in many ways. But we need to get it right. Cities have to be livable, and in that sense IUCN works on nature-based solutions for cities as well, so we want to see cities to be renatured and to be attractive to people. Because in the context of population growth, we need to be watchful that we do have an efficient way of organizing our communities and our societies and that we're not occupying so much land that there is only so much of. And therefore I think cities are really a solution. And if we get it right, and with IUCN’s Urban Alliance, we will try to support it to get it right."