UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Cost-Effective and Fair Climate Change Adaptation

18 September 2024, 9:00 am–6:00 pm

A joint initiative from the UCL Department of Risk and Disaster Reduction (RDR), The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction (BSSC), and the European Investment Bank (EIB)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

Invitation Only




Nidhi Rathod

Deploying nature-based solutions and green infrastructure in urban areas

On this page: Background | About the eventAgenda


The Urban Climate Change Adaptation Series

This conference series brings together the best academic research with senior policy actors focussed on the design, financing and delivery of climate change adaptation in cities. The series aims to address difficult questions at the interface of efficiency and equity in the planning, deployment and evaluation for climate change adaptation financing and implementation. Where are the trade-offs and co-benefits? How fit are existing policy tools at revealing and resolving these? What can be done to make more efficient and fair adaptation choices?

This series of conferences was initiated with a European focussed event at the European University Institute in Florence, sponsored by JASPERS and the European Investment Bank. The current event, to be hosted by University College London, focuses on low- and middle-income countries. Findings of these meetings will be presented at the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum in November 2024 in Cairo.  Another European focussed event is planned for October in Florence.

The UCL Event

Adaptation to climate change is a major challenge for cities in the Global South, many of which are on coastal locations and all of which are subject to extreme weather events.  Cities in many regions face the dual challenge of continued strong growth together with increasing extreme heat and flooding.  Indeed, an area the size of New York is added each year to the built environment often with very weak building standards and planning controls.

The conference will bring together practitioners and experts in climate adaptation, city managers from around the World, and financing organisations. It is jointly organised and sponsored by University College London, the European Investment Bank, and the City Climate Finance GAP Fund.

The goal of the symposium is to reach a common understanding on the challenges and opportunities for nature-based solutions and green infrastructure in cities seeking to balance cost-effective and fair decision-making.

Such nature-based solutions are being used in cities around the world to tackle a range of urban challenges including urban heat islands, flooding, biodiversity loss, and public health issues - all exacerbated by the worsening impacts of climate change.  They include actions for the protection, recovery and sustainable management of natural or modified ecosystems and incorporate green or blue spaces and other physical structures in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine areas.

City and national actors will exchange good practice on their inclusion of adaptation in municipal plans. The event will be held in English under a hybrid format at UCL East, Stratford, UK.  Participants (in-person and on-line) will have the chance to interact with the speakers and join Q&A discussions.


09.00 – 09.30

Arrival, informal networking over tea

9.30 – 11.00

Session 1: Introduction and setting the scene

  • Chris Hurst, Honorary Professor, UCL (meeting aims and agenda)
  • Mark Maslin, FRGS, FRSA, Professor of Earth System Science, Pro-Vice Provost of the UCL Climate Crisis Grand Challenge, UNFCCC designated lead for UCL

Scene-setting panel

  • Mark Pelling, Professor in Risk and Disaster Reduction, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, UCL
  • Priti Parikh, Director, The Bartlett School for Sustainable Construction, UCL
  • Nicola Pochettino, Director, Environment and Natural Resources, European Investment Bank

Keynote: A climate update and the implication for urban systems

  • Dabo Guan, Professor in Climate Change Economics and the Low Carbon Transition, UCL and Distinguished Professor, Tsinghua University, China.
  • Discussion

11.00 – 12.30

Session 2: Equity considerations for planning, implementation and evaluation of urban NBS

What do we mean by nature-based solutions, green and grey infrastructure in an urban context? Overview of how green infrastructure can be used to avoid flooding, protect from storm surges, and to reduce heat island effects, etc. without generating inequality in risk or wellbeing.

What role can green infrastructure and nature-based solutions play in climate action at the city level? Best practices on how to include green infrastructure into a masterplan.  Lessons on what works and why, and what pitfalls to avoid.

Panel 2: Moderator: Mark Pelling, UCL

  • Giulia Macagno, Head of the City Climate Finance Gap Fund, EIB
  • Ana Scolobig, Senior Research Associate, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Anusha Shah, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers, UK
  • Discussion

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 14.00

Session 3: The equity and sustainability consequences of urban NBS

Moderator:  Lisa Vanhala, Pro Vice-Provost for the Climate Crisis Grand Challenge, Deputy Head of the Political Science Department, UCL

  • Timon McPhearson, Professor of Urban Ecology, New School, New York, USA (online)
  • Discussion

14.00 – 15.30

Session 4: Financing green infrastructure at the city level

Investment costs, revenue generation, cost avoidance and potential return on investment. Available instruments and financing solutions.

Moderator: Chris Hurst, UCL

  • Bouke de Vries, Advisor to the Board on Public Affairs, Sustainability Department, Rabobank
  • Andrea Fernandez, Managing Director of Climate Finance, Knowledge and Partnerships, C40 Cities
  • Susannah Fisher, ESRC Future Leaders Research Fellow UCL, IRDR
  • Laura Jungman, Global Programme on Nature-based Solutions, World Bank
  • Lin O’Grady, Head, Green Cities, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • Gerry Muscat, Head of Urban Advisory, European Investment Bank
  • Discussion

15.30 – 16.00


16.30 – 17.30

Session 5: Experience from the South

Investment costs, revenue generation, cost avoidance and potential return on investment. Available instruments and financing solutions.

Keynote:  Management of adaptation at the urban level

  • Joe Mulligan, Executive Director & Founding Principal, Kounkuey Design Initiative (online)

Panel 4

Moderator: Priti Parikh, UCL

  • Gabriel Dias Mingolini Nieves, Environmental Engineering, Municipality of Campinas (online)
  • Branka Knežević, deputy Secretary, Secretariat for Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, Capital City Podgorica (online) 
  • Ashraful Islam, Chief Town Planner and Project Director, Dhaka, Bangladesh (online) 
  • Manuel Fuentes, Subsecretary DADSA, Santa Marta, Colombia (online) 

17.30 – 18.00

Session 6: Conclusions and next steps

Conclusions and identification of:

  • Key messages to communicate to the broader urban community
  • Next steps
    • Mark Pelling, Priti Parikh & Chris Hurst, UCL