Story | 26 Jun, 2017

GROW GREEN: new partnership to demonstrate benefits of nature-based solutions in cities

Innovation will be the focus of GROW GREEN, which stands for "Green Cities for Climate and Water Resilience, Sustainable Economic Growth, Healthy Citizens and Environments." This new five-year demonstration project aims to achieve climate and water resilience in cities. Funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, it is intended to showcase benefits from nature-based solutions in urban landscapes.

GROW GREEN will provide the platform for a step-wise change in the way that nature-based solutions are embedded in the long-term planning, development, operation and management of cities around the world.

IUCN has a growing interest in working together with cities, as they have an essential role in protecting and restoring ecosystems and to incorporate biodiversity considerations into their urban planning. Another strategic priority is the development of evidence to promote the multiple benefits of nature-based solutions for society and the up-scaling of their use, in particular to realise the potential of ecosystems to provide substantial climate change adaptation and mitigation opportunities,” said Chantal van Ham, EU Programme Manager Nature Based Solutions.

The three European ’Frontrunner Cities’ of the project are Manchester, Valencia and Wrocław. These cities are twinned with Wuhan in China, which will act as an incubator of the first regional hub of a global network of nature-based solutions practitioners. Each city is then paired with a ‘Follower City’, Brest, Modena and Zadar, which will learn from the implementation strategies and business models adopted by the Frontrunners. 

When I heard that Modena, the city where I first studied environmental management and participatory city planning was part of the GROW GREEN Project, I was doubly excited to go back to working on a European project that would link cities with natural infrastructure, a concept the IUCN Global Water Programme has consistently contributed to, in order to move from academic theory to practical implementation,” said Stefano Barchiesi, IUCN Project Manager Global Water Programme.

IUCN is responsible for the project’s dissemination, capacity building and communications activities. Focusing on the project cities, as well as a group of replication cities, IUCN will support the wider development of city nature-based solutions strategies and build the required capacity for their implementation. In collaboration with all the project partners, businesses and civil society, work will be undertaken to help develop a ‘community of practice’, including through information sharing and knowledge exchange activities with other nature-based solutions initiatives and EC financed projects.

Staff from the IUCN Water Programme and European Regional Office joined 21 other partners in Manchester on 13-14 June for the GROW GREEN kick-off meeting. Manchester City Council and the Manchester Climate Change Agency, will act as the Project Coordinator and Project Manager of GROW GREEN.


For more information, please contact:

Chantal van Ham [Email], EU Programme Manager Nature Based Solutions, IUCN European Regional Office 

Stefano Barchiesi [Email], Project Officer, IUCN Global Water Programme

Additional information:

EU Horizon 2020 programme – nature-based solutions  

Manchester Climate Change Agency