The COP28 presidential event on Nurturing Nature: Bringing Nature Positive Cities to the Forefront of Urban Climate Action, held on Saturday 2 December in Dubai, outlined how subnational leaders can advance nature positive development and celebrated the launch of the Urban Nature Program

The event was organized by ICLEI, UNEP, UN High Level Climate Champions and the World Bank, and convened as part of the Local Climate Action Summit by the COP28 Presidency and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The Urban Nature Program aims at scaling up financing to support cities and sub-national governments to implement their actions for nature-positive development promoted under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Working with the existing initiatives, the Program focuses on integrated solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss and linking to the portfolio development of multilateral development banks/agencies, financial institutions, and the private sector to mainstream nature into investment.

The Program will be co-led by the World Bank through its Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (supported by the GEF), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, in partnership with the World Resources Institute, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), C40 Cities, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), multilateral/regional development banks, and the European Commission.

The Urban Nature Program represents a catalyst to the implementation of the nature-climate agenda.

“Investing in nature means building a stronger and more resilient society. Nature holds the key to solving solutions to many societal challenges like the quality of life, or the number of jobs we have.”

~ Louise Cord, Global Director, Social Sustainability and Inclusion, The World Bank

The event showcased regions and cities as real-world examples, aiming to promote broader alignment in the climate and nature agendas. To increase the technical assistance and investment, the program will bring together a group of Lighthouse Cities that will benefit from peer-to-peer learning, project preparation support, and unlocking financial mobilization. At the event, the core partners of the Umbrella Nature Program shared the first cohort of Lighthouse cities:

Cape Town










Dhaka North




São Paulo

The Urban Nature Program stands as a critical and innovative initiative in the face of the escalating climate and biodiversity crises. As urbanization continues to increase rapidly, cities play a pivotal role in fostering a harmonious coexistence between urban development and the natural world, ultimately contributing to a more resilient and sustainable future.

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