Cities on the African side of the Mediterranean Sea have been assessed on the application of nature-based solutions (Nbs), as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) global standard. Presented at the IUCN World Congress, which takes place from 3 to 11 September 2021 in Marseille, France, the results of this first-of-its-kind evaluation highlight, among other things, the need for more inclusive public participation in the implementation of Nbs.
The World Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which takes place from 3 to 11 September 2021 in Marseille, France, was the setting for the presentation of the results of the first evaluation of the IUCN Global Standard in Mediterranean urban areas. Entitled “Planning and delivering nature-based solutions in Mediterranean cities”, the study consisted of verifying a selection of 18 practices in Mediterranean cities in the light of the IUCN Global Standard. Thus, for the IUCN, the question was whether the actual projects and strategies already implemented or being designed in the cities bordering the Mediterranean meet the requirements of the IUCN Nbs global standard.
In Africa, the cities targeted by this evaluation are known. They include Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya, Alexandria in Egypt, Tunis in Tunisia, Tangiers in Morocco and Algiers, the capital of Algeria, which is also the most populous city around the Mediterranean, with almost 7.8 million inhabitants in 2020.
Improving the participation of city dwellers in Nbs practices
The general lessons learned from the evaluation highlight the need for continuous improvement in Nbs practices. The study also recommends more inclusive public participation, the integration of adaptive management and the establishment of monitoring systems to better report on the potential benefits of Nbs in urban contexts.
According to the IUCN definition, Nbs are actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that respond to societal challenges in an effective and adaptive manner, while ensuring human well-being and positive biodiversity impacts. “We believe that a different, more sustainable and inclusive urbanization is certainly possible, and we hope that the IUCN Global Nbs Standard will become a useful tool to guide urban planners, businesses and civil society to develop the social and environmental benefits of nature-based solutions, and communicate success stories to inspire positive action for nature in urban areas in the Mediterranean and around the world,” says Lourdes Lázaro Marín , the evaluation coordinator from the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation.