|ICLEI Europe has joined forces with UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States, as well as with the ICLEI World and African Secretariats, to discuss nature-based solutions and climate action in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
First, a hybrid session organised by UN-Habitat in cooperation with ICLEI Europe, discussed the multi-functionality and socio-economic benefits of urban nature-based solutions.
“Urban nature-based solutions provide a powerful approach to addressing societal and environmental challenges,” Dr. Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for Arab States, said. “Nature-based solutions are a powerful tool for enhancing resilience, improving the lives and well-being of city dwellers and protecting biodiversity.”
The session brought together experts from different countries, including Ali Akayed, representing ICLEI Member Amman (Jordan). The experts highlighted opportunities and barriers to the implementation of nature-based solutions and explored ways to scale up in the MENA region, all with moderation by Yara Eissa (UN Habitat) and Giorgia Rambelli (ICLEI Europe).
Later in the day, ICLEI Europe, the ICLEI World Secretariat and ICLEI Africa co-led a session on bridging the gap between climate commitments and climate action. The discussion touched on the importance of global efforts like the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration, and the Edinburgh Declaration, as well as the role of international financing for local action.
Onur Eryüce, Counsellor to the Mayor, ICLEI Member İzmir (Turkey) explained: “Most of my time I work on climate finance with international institutions and banks. However, financial resources are not the only one we should look for.”
Mr. Eryüce explained the role that culture and cultural change play in the fight against climate change, drawing on the example of İzmir coining the term ‘Circular Culture’ to describe, “a vision in which citizens live in harmony with nature, with change, and with each other.”
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. This was the first edition of this event.