WRI worked closely with local governments, community organizations and others to develop 30 nature-based projects throughout the Indian cities of Kochi, Mumbai and Jaipur. The projects inspired a national forum dedicated to urban nature-based solutions.

The Challenge

Indian cities and their residents are at the forefront of multiple climate risks. For example, Kochi and Mumbai are simultaneously struggling with urban flooding, extreme heat and water shortages. Low-income neighborhoods bear the brunt of these hazards. Mumbai's Dharavi neighborhood is almost 6 degrees C (10.8 degrees F) hotter than its more affluent neighbors.

Nature-based solutions, like protecting wetlands or adding urban trees and green spaces, can be effective ways of reducing these risks. But cities have been slow to adopt nature-based approaches due to lack of awareness, limited documented evidence of their effectiveness and their long timelines.

WRI’s Role

WRI worked closely with local governments, community organizations and others to apply nature-based solutions that make Indian cities more resilient to climate change.

WRI used spatial assessments to map and identify climate-vulnerable locations with potential for nature-based solutions, selecting Mumbai, Kochi and Jaipur. WRI then worked with local vendors in each city to implement a range of projects — including urban and rooftop farming, water-body restoration, tree planting, stream rejuvenation, wastewater treatment and more.

WRI ensured the participation of community organizations and local governments, engaging them in consultation, design and mapping projects. WRI also provided technical expertise to city governments to not just implement nature-based projects, but also ensure their continued maintenance.

The Outcome

Thanks to WRI’s analysis, engagement and technical expertise, Mumbai, Jaipur and Kochi have implemented more than 30 nature-based projects over the past three years.

For example, at Jaipur Central Jail, WRI and local partners trained inmates in creating an urban farm on prison grounds. The fresh, organic produce is served to over 1,000 inmates and prison officials, while the farm itself helps cool the property. In Mumbai, a school-based urban gardening project offers students hands-on curriculum on plant care and the importance of local green spaces. The project is now being scaled across 250 public schools around the city, and will ultimately improve food security for an estimated 72,000 students.

Outcomes seen in these cities then led to India’s first national-level forum on urban nature-based solutions. Entrepreneurs, private investors, research organizations, civil society, academia, technical experts, government agencies and policy makers regularly convene to share best practices and experiences implementing nature-based solutions in their cities. WRI India is documenting success stories to raise awareness and provide a roadmap for others. The aim is to help scale nature-based solutions throughout Indian cities and around the world.