Session 3.7: Economics and governance of nature-based solutions for urban water management
This policy session is motivated by the close relevance of the proposed topic to the current global interest in nature-based solutions and the practical challenges for implementation and management. Over the past decades, nature-based solutions have been increasingly recognized with rising exposure and policy interest as an integrated, cost-effective approach to addressing diverse challenges faced by societal development across the world such as urbanization, environmental degradation, water insecurity due to floods, droughts, and pollution, and climate change. Indeed, nature-based solutions have been serving as a guiding principle and the foundation for designing or shaping many policy initiatives for urban development and water management (e.g., building with nature, sponge cities, and climate proof cities), and is the theme for the World Water Development Report 2018 of the United Nations World Water Assessment Program, which was released on the 8th World Water Forum, 18-23 March 2018, Brazil. While innovative design or technological measures have been developed with extensive exposure for delivering nature-based solutions, the economics and governance aspects have received less attention in both the literature and policy decision-making while challenging the application and upscaling of the approach and its long-run sustainability.
The proposed policy session will bring together experts from knowledge institutes and practitioners in city networks to exchange information and jointly develop understanding of the economics and governance of nature-based solutions in the broad context of urban development and water management. It will be linked to the Dutch City Deal on Climate Adaptation and the Interreg NSR BEGIN project (http://www.northsearegion.eu/begin) to
create a forum for knowledge exchange, joint learning, and discussion between practitioners and scientists. The format will be formal presentation on relevant topics (see next section for detail) followed by roundtable discussion. Representatives from selected European and/or 2 Chinese cities will be invited to share experience on the practice of applying nature-based solutions for urban water management. The discussion will be guided by organizers/moderators in relation to the presentations. It specifically attempts to achieve the below objectives:
• Exchanging knowledge and experience on economics and governance of nature-based solutions as part of city-to-city learning
• Identifying tools and good practices on economic appraisal of nature-based solutions
• Synthesizing current knowledge and needs on nature-based solutions
• Identifying or developing business cases/practices for promoting nature-based solutions
This policy session, by its thematic focus, is strongly relevant to both water scientists and practitioners. The scientific community has long developed theories and methods for supporting environment related decision-making and instruments for policy implementation. In particular, diverse economic valuation techniques have been developed with standardized practices/procedures for estimating non-market costs or benefits and for integrated decisionmaking
within the ecosystem services framework, key components in the design, implementation, and evaluation of nature-based solutions that have received limited exposure in water science. The policy session is expected to draw attention of and bridge the water science profession to the current practice and policy need in nature-based solutions while developing joint understanding of knowledge gap in the economics and governance complementing the technological innovation of the approach for urban development and water management.