8 cities

6 countries

7 years

These are the figures that define ICLEI Africa’s Urban Natural Assets for Africa (UNA) programme. But in looking back, the numbers are only a small part of the story. UNA’s real impacts are as dynamic, far-reaching and layered as the programme itself. Below we highlight the various impacts as well as key lessons and a selection of resources that have been learnt and developed over the years.

Our new and exciting online course is coming soon!

Based on the need to convert face-to-face capacity building content into a virtual format, the UNA programme pioneered the development of an innovative, interactive and dialogic package for online training, capacity building and learning.


Integrating nature and climate change considerations into urban planning policies in African cities as well as enabling operational shifts in African cities by supporting informed decision-making around urban natural assets.

EXPLORE our 11 handbooks created to showcase different programme learnings through case studies

Further reading

See the article Thin plastics banned, nature prioritised and bat habitat mapped: How our UNA Rivers Project is influencing policy in Malawi
See the article Bringing nature back into cities: How Tanzania is prioritising nature in a time of concrete, bricks and cement
The Sustainable River Based Urban Planning for Sub-Saharan Africa Guideline
The Sustainable River Based Urban Planning for Sub-Saharan Africa Guideline Case Study Document
The Sustainable Use of Natural Assets document
The Lilongwe Urban River and Revitalisation Plan: Landscape Framework and Implementation Strategy, which guides the restoration of a key natural asset through the implementation of a pilot project
The Resilience framework for coastal cities poster. Available in English here and in Portuguese, here.
The Lilongwe/Lingadzi Ecological Corridor System Plan: City of Lilongwe, which was co-developed in order for the city of Lilongwe to develop an accessible, environmentally sound, sustainable and functional ecological corridor system in the heart of Lilongwe.
The Nacala Coastal Natural Assets Management Plan, which serves as a guideline for the management of coastal zones in the municipality if Nacala, Mozambique. Available in English, here and in Portuguese, here.


Using multi-actor engagements and co-production to effectively embed nature in urban planning.

Further reading

See Handbook 7The importance of relationship building: foresting trust through time investment and innovative interactive exercise
See Handbook 9
– Prioritising processes: bridging the divide between different sectors and disciplines in sub-Saharan Africa 


Connecting to international agendas through on-the-ground implementation in African cities.

Further reading

See the case study titled Working with nature to reduce disaster risk in Africa, here.
See how an inclusive urban park replaces informal waste dumping site in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia here.
See the article A story: Waste management in Lilongwe, Malawi

Further reading

See the Alternative Planning Approaches for cities in sub-Saharan Africa poster & accompanying booklet
See the Urban Tinkering poster, which highlights the various principles of Urban Tinkering
See the peer-reviewed journal article Urban tinkering by Elmqvist et al. (2019)
See the case study titled The role of bats as biodiversity indicator species in sustainable biodiversity-friendly planning: A case study of Lilongwe, here.
See the music video of the hit song Maphumulo by a Malawian pop star, Lulu, with over 6000 downloads, galvanising community action, available here
See how a painted mural in Dar es Salaam gets people talking about urban nature here
See and download the THRIVE mobile app providing steps for implementing over 60 nature-based solutions
See the ‘Our Coast, Our City, Our Future’ 2020-calendar featuring scholars’ artworks after a community awareness-raising campaign on the value of coasts.
See Handbook 3Innovative approaches to planning in an African Context: Urban Tinkering in Malawi


Promoting gender equality and inclusion in urban planning, decision-making and the design of nature-based solutions.


Promoting collaborative efforts to service informal settlements with nature-based solutions.

UNA is funded by The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through SwedBio at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University.

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