Showcasing the Power of Nature-based Solutions: side event at UN Water Conference

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Side-event UN Water Conference: Showcasing the power of Nature-based Solutions

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2023 from 15:00-17:00 ET
Location: New York Water House 666 Third Avenue 21st floor, New York

Ambitious about Nature-Based Solutions?
Join us in this panel discussion to learn about the key success factors of implementing NBS!

In this session we will discuss Nature-Based Solutions for water-related projects. We will showcase projects where NBS provide flood protection harnessing the power of nature, and deliver additional benefits, such as nature restoration, cleaner water and space for recreation. Unlike more traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure, NBS are easily adaptable to changes in the environment caused by climate change, such as rising sea levels or increased rainfall and can provide social and economic benefits to the community.

Implementation and upscaling of NBS

Until now, implementation of NBS is still limited, even though they are part of international agreements such the European Green Deal and the UN Global Biodiversity Framework.

During the session, experts with different backgrounds share their views on the barriers and limitations of NBS, but also the enablers to make NBS a widely accepted and applied solution for societal issues in the water sector in 2030 (see for instance the EcoShape Enablers).

Questions our panel will address are: What have we learnt from NBS in the past years? What is necessary for implementation of NBS in terms of governance and institutional embedding? How to manage and monitor a NBS project?


3:00 pm Opening and introduction to the session by host Erik van Eekelen, director of EcoShape

3:10 pm Panel discussion with NBS practitioners:

  • Viviana Franco, Sustainability Project Lead, Van Oord
  • Boris van Zanten, Nature Based Solutions & Disaster Risk Management Consultant, The World Bank
  • George Peters – Global Director Climate Resilience at Royal HaskoningDHV
  • Matthijs Boersema, Programme manager Nature Based Solutions, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management / Rijkswaterstaat
  • Edgar Westerhof, North America Solution Leader for Climate Adaptation, Vice President at Arcadis

Each panellist presents an NBS case and explains the enablers, best practices and barriers in the case, followed by a discussion between the panellists.

3:40 pm Presentation of the UN World Restoration Flagship project Building with Nature Indonesia by Jane Madgwick, director of Wetlands International. 

3:50 pm Panel discussion with institutional representatives:

  • Yang Villa – Asia Pacific Water Resilience Hub Manager, Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • Bart Geenen, – Head Freshwater Program, WWF
  • Lara Muller – Director Public Sector, Invest International
  • Robyn Colosimo – Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Project Planning and Review) – U.S. Army
  • Dennis van Peppen, Teammanager – Partners voor Water program, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)

Erik asks each panellist to reflect on how they could support or contribute to the enablers for NbS projects, mentioned in the first round.

4:20 pm Wrap up and concluding remarks

Coalition for Mainstreaming NBS

4:30 pm – 5:00 p.m Launch of the Coalition for Mainstreaming Nature-Based Solutions and commitment on the UN Water Action Agenda.
Read more about the Coalition for Mainstreaming NBS.

5:00 pm Closing of the session

Session Outcome

After this event you will know more about what it takes to develop and implement a successful NBS project and the benefits of NBS. You will learn how NBS can be the game changer in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. We invite you to join our efforts to mainstream NBS and therewith contribute to the Water Action Agenda together with us.

*In-person event only

Organizing Partners

Line-up of organisations: EcoShape, Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Rijkswaterstaat (the executive agency of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management), World Bank and Asian Development Bank

Hosting Organizations

This event is hosted by EcoShape and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.