As cities expand to accommodate growing populations, this development intensifies the strain on natural resources, ecosystems, and the climate. But what if urban development did not have to be at odds with the health of natural ecosystems? Cities worldwide are beginning to embrace nature-based solutions (NBS) as a way to improve urban resilience as development progresses. From heat mitigation to biodiversity improvements to job creation, integrating NBS into urban development can bring about numerous benefits for cities and their residents.

This session at the Cities Summit of the Americas, co-hosted by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme in collaboration with the UrbanShift and Cities4Forests initiatives, will share the benefits of and best practices around implementing NBS. Highlighting the findings from the recent UNEP and Penn Institute for Urban Research report, State of Finance for Nature in Cities, the session will outline gaps and opportunities to increase the flow of finance for NBS in cities. Leaders from Latin American cities will share how their efforts to implement NBS have helped to build climate resilience and improve water supply, biodiversity, and the lives of their residents. These leaders will also offer guidance to other cities aiming to support their natural ecosystems.


  • Pablo Lazo, Acting Director, Urban Development, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
  • Eugénie L. Birch, Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research, University of Pennsylvania
  • Jaime Pumarejo, Mayor of Barranquilla, Colombia
  • Axel Grael, Mayor of Niteroi, Brazil
  • Santiago Bermudez Barrientos, Deputy Mayor of Desamparados, Metropolitan Area of San José, Costa Rica
  • Robin King, Director of Knowledge Capture and Collaboration, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
  • Tatiana Gallego Lizon, Chief of the Housing and Urban Development Division, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Carlos Eduardo Correa, Former Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia; Former Mayor of Montería, and IOA Non-resident Fellow
  • Mauricio Rodas, Former Mayor of Quito, Ecuador, and Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania
  • Todd Gartner, Director, Cities4Forests, WRI
  • Mia Callenberg, Environmental Specialist, Sustainable Cities Impact Program, Global Environment Facility


Image by CHUTTERSNAP/Unsplash