ICSI publishes Climate Resilient Infrastructure Report: A Focus on Nature
The Climate Resilient Infrastructure Report series was first launched in May 2023 in an effort to report progress on the state of climate-resilient infrastructure and showcase best-practice case studies and initiatives from around the world. The series contributes directly to the UNFCCC Race to Resilience campaign, which seeks to catalyse action by non-state actors to build the resilience of 4 billion people from vulnerable groups and communities to climate risks by 2030. The campaign aims to put people and nature first in pursuit of a resilient world where we don’t just survive climate shocks and stresses but thrive in spite of them. The first issue of the series focused on the implementation of climate-resilient infrastructure that has the potential to deliver change at scale and pace.
ICSI is now pleased to present Issue 2 of the series, sponsored by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which takes a closer look at nature-positive infrastructure that is rooted in an approach that builds with nature, as opposed to around it, and in turn, works to halt and reverse nature loss.
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are a key tool for implementing nature-positive infrastructure. They involve working with nature to address societal challenges, providing benefits for both human wellbeing and biodiversity. They work to protect, manage and restore natural ecosystems in such a way that provides environmental benefits and tackles societal challenges. NbS have been shown to advance both climate mitigation and adaptation efforts and more recently, they have been recognised as a tool for enhancing climate-resilient infrastructure.
This publication seeks to highlight the relationship between climate-resilient infrastructure and nature and showcase projects that incorporate natural elements in their planning, design, processes, or materials, or that positively impact natural ecosystems. It emphasises the socio-economic and environmental outcomes delivered by this type of approach, helping to articulate the value of nature-positive solutions, and advocating for the prioritisation, adoption and implementation of these solutions.
Annika Zawadzki, Managing Director and Partner at Boston Consulting Group, says:
‘Condensing best practices of nature-based solutions is key to scale implementation around the world. This is where this report plays a fundamental role: not only does it create the necessary awareness, but by bringing solutions and best practices to light, it showcases how to overcome challenges and scale action.’
Through highlighting the interconnected nature of climate change, biodiversity, and infrastructure across sectors, ICSI hopes to inspire key stakeholders to reimagine the possibilities for the built environment and to spearhead the delivery of infrastructure that can withstand, respond to and recover from inevitable climate impacts.
Emma Howard Boyd CBE, UN Global Ambassador for Race to Zero and Race to Resilience, says:
‘Nature-positive engineering can offer benefits far beyond climate mitigation and adaptation. We should be prioritising nature-based solutions in infrastructure investment; in my view, a good reason must be given if this is not feasible. Engineers play a pivotal role in this shift. As financial bottlenecks are addressed, engineers must adopt new skills and knowledge, and collaborate effectively with policymakers, planners, and communities.’
The publication also highlights knowledge-sharing and capacity-building activities that can accelerate the uptake of tools, resources, and skills for advancing sustainable and resilient infrastructure in communities across the world, as well as collaborative initiatives that are holistic, transferable, and inclusive at their core.
In her Foreword, Ruth Boumphrey, Chief Executive at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, wrote:
‘As we build our new future, engineering a safer world, we must not make the mistakes of the past which developed ‘solutions’ that devastated the natural environment. We have advanced in our thinking and know that to keep humans safe we need to respect and support nature.’
Contributors to the report include Arcadis, Arup, BCG, City of Toronto, NHS Forest, Green-Gray Community of Practice, Institute of Asset Management, IISD, National Highways, PIARC, Stantec, The World Bank, UN Environment Programme, WSP, WWF, and many more.
‘Through collaboration and knowledge exchange, we can collectively identify the essential components of a nature-positive engineering approach and focus capacity-building efforts. This will ensure that current and future generations of engineers are equipped to deal with the challenges that climate change presents,’ says Savina Carluccio, Executive Director at ICSI.
‘We can also ensure that the idea of nature-positive infrastructure is not limited to small pockets of practice but is rather embedded in infrastructure lifecycles, engineering firms and technical approaches across the globe. The case studies in this publication offer a glimpse of what is possible when engineers embrace nature as a tool and an ally to help achieve sustainable and resilient outcomes.’’