Currently, about 75% of Europe’s population lives in cities and the percentage is expected to increase to almost 85% by 2050 (UN, 2019).
This phenomenon intensifies the impact of climate change dynamics, making urban areas more vulnerable to climate risks and threatening life quality. This causes great environmental, social and economic challenges that urban areas have to urgently face. Think about the consequences of polluted air, heat island effects, sedentary lifestyles, increasing in chronic and non-communicable diseases! But also lower resources availability, inequitable economic growth, higher disaster risk probability, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss.
How can we address these challenges? Obviously, Nature can help us!
Have you ever heard about Nature-based solutions (NBS)? NBS represents a wide concept that include actions and solutions inspired by nature and the sustainable management of natural or anthropic ecosystems for tackling socio-environmental challenges. Their role is not only related to positive environmental impacts but also to maximize social and economic benefits improving citizens health and wellbeing. For these reasons they are considered by researchers fundamental to achieve future livable, resilient and sustainable cities.
The attention towards NBS is increasing at EU level as well as at national level, however, there is still a gap in the amount of finance needed to implement these solutions at scale and achieve the EU goals on climate and biodiversity. Therefore, it is important to identify new approaches to finance NBS, in particular for what concerns the involvement of private capital. In addition, in order to make this possible, it is also essential to better understand how to effectively measure and give evidence about the positive impacts of NBS.
So, the overall aim of the research is to contribute to benchmark and better investigate the approaches to finance Nature-based solutions for urban sustainability, resilience and wellbeing.
During the three-year PhD research project, Anna Biasin, our candidate will try to reach these objectives:
- benchmark the level and the mechanisms of involvement of private finance in the implementation of urban NBS at European level;
- assess some cases of urban NBS implementation, including the identification and calculation of economic as well as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impacts;
- identify potential financial and governance mechanisms that allows to scale up private finance for the implementation of urban NBS.
The Fondazione CARIPARO and Etifor are co-financing this three-year PhD research project at Università degli Studi di Padova (LERH program). The PhD candidate is working side by side with Etifor team who is giving her technical and practical support creating a mutual and fruitful exchange of knowledge and experiences.