Occasional Paper

Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change in Coastal Cities

Presently, there is a unified message in the global policy discourse and internationally mandated scientific assessments that advocates nature-based solutions (NbS) as the basis for transforming society. NbS are underpinned by an ecosystem services understanding of humans and their relationship with nature. Such a transformation comes with the imperative to include a range of social actors, considering their past and current vulnerabilities, and at the same time contribute to nature preservation. This paper explores whether justice (environmental/climate/biodiversity) as an overarching goal can help meet the transformational promise and inclusive appeal of NbS, while addressing people’s socially differentiated vulnerabilities to multi-faceted risks related to climate change and biodiversity loss. A review of urban NbS from India, South Africa, Seychelles and Tanzania, focusing in particular on NbS in the context of coastal cities, provides various insights relevant to international and national policymakers, urban actors (planners and development workers) and scholars of urban sustainability.