Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Resilience in the Anthropocene

The Ecostack Innovations team participated in the NATURA All-Hands Meeting held in Malta during the first week of April (4th-6th). NATURA (The Nature-based Solutions for Urban Resilience in the Anthropocene) is funded by the US National Science Foundation and brings together researchers and practitioners from all around the world to connect and exchange ideas on the use of nature-based solutions (NBS) in the common fight against climate change. After a long period of time of online meetings, we finally had the opportunity to meet in person with the community to exchange knowledge, share data and enhance communication thus fulfilling the aims of NATURA network.

During the first day, and after an introductive brainstorming session, we had the honour to listen to the speech of Hon. Dr. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, former president of Malta and President of Eurochild, focused on the social aspects of climate change and environmental degradation especially related to the importance of children’s well-being. Ms Gwendolyn Green, the representative of the US Embassy in Malta, discussed the necessary global collaboration against climate change to ensure energy security, especially during these difficult times. The session was coordinated by Dr. Mario V Balzan, who thereafter gave a presentation about Malta’s current state of play on the uptake of nature-based solutions.

In the afternoon, we listened to lighting talks from various presenters connected to Natura Thematic Working Group. The topics discussed included urban ecological resilience, transformative change, food insecurity, and ecosystem resilience. The following morning was all about Early Career practitioners, who presented their work focusing on consolidated Urban Green Infrastructure Classification, cooling Singapore, and better life quality with integrative geodata. In the afternoon, we visited Argotti Botanic Gardens and Valletta Design Cluster and discussed the implications of using NBS in a highly dense Mediterranean city like Valletta.

During the third day, we tried to shape NBS roadmaps with the help of several microtalks and a policy panel session made of practitioners from Europe, North- and Latin America. Subsequently, time and space were given to us to gather in groups and have active discussions to find answers and build solid bases for future research and collaboration.

NATURA All-Hands Meeting allowed all the participants to get to know each other, create friendships, share knowledge, and therefore participated within a network that is committed to addressing climate change challenges through NBS implementation.

This article was written by Maria Elena Bini and Noemi Nagy, who are part of the learning ecosystem at Ecostack Innovations.