Reconciling economic development, investment opportunities and the value of nature and urban green infrastructure – identifying policies and incentives for livable cities


URBIS Dialogue 3: Reconciling economic development, investment opportunities and the value of nature and urban green infrastructure – identifying policies and incentives for livable cities

Nature is not considered to offer an interesting return on investment in economic terms, however,  what is often forgotten is that true sustainable development goes beyond GDP and nature is essential for the survival of people and to make the economy thrive.

The world’s protected area network plays an important role in climate change mitigation and adaptation and the benefits of the Natura 2000 network have been estimated at 2 to 3 per cent of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product. An estimated US$ 6.5 trillion is contributed annually to the global economy by water infrastructure services such as wetlands, lakes and rivers. Nature filters toxins, buffers against storms, and stores water. Healthy and robust ecosystems form the backbone of a sustainable future. These services need to be safeguarded and nurtured to ensure continued benefits for people and nature. How can we demonstrate the value of natural capital for responding to societal challenges and turn the perspective on nature from a cost to an investment in political and economic decision making at urban level?

The following aspects will be addressed in this webinar:

  • Financing investments in biodiversity, green spaces, and green infrastructure
  • Expanding the knowledge on market and non-market mechanisms for investment in green infrastructure
  • Identifying policies and incentives for natural solutions to flood protection and other urban challenges
  • How blue and green infrastrucutre can become an incentive to developers


Webinar lead Chantal van Ham
Social and economic benefits of protected areas in the urban context Marianne Kettunen
Building with Nature in the city: Rotterdam programme “River as a tidal park” Victor Beumer
Victoria Business Improvement District David Beamont


Chantal van Ham EU Programme Manager Nature Based Solutions in the IUCN EU Representative Office, Brussels

Chantal is responsible for IUCNs activities on urban biodiversity and the cooperation with subnational governments in Europe. She develops and coordinates projects for biodiversity and ecosystems services conservation, restoration and valuation that help policy-makers, cities, local and regional governments find nature-based solutions for sustainable development, by mobilising IUCN knowledge and best practices. She represents IUCN in networks and fora at the European and global level to raise awareness of the value of nature-based solutions to improve quality of life, as well as economic prosperity. Before joining IUCN, Chantal worked as a Finance Specialist with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in the Netherlands. She has a degree in International Business and an MSc in Forest and Nature Conservation Policy. Chantal is passionate about nature and perceives the exchange with people from different professional and cultural backgrounds as an enriching and inspiring starting point for sustainable change.

Marianne Kettunen Principal Policy Analyst and co-lead of Global Challenges Work Stream, Institute for European Environmental Policy - IEEP

Marianne joined IEEP in 2005. She has a Masters degree in ecology and she is specialised in issues related to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at EU and global level. Marianne’s areas of expertise include the of biodiversity and ecosystem services, socio-economic benefits of protected areas, financing biodiversity conservation (e.g. resource mobilisation for 2020 biodiversity targets, the benefits and costs of Natura 2000 Network) and the EU action on invasive alien species. She is interested in European and global biodiversity issues, with experience on diverse projects both within and outside the EU. Marianne is also associated with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) as a visiting scientist and with the Finnish Environment Institute as a guest researcher.

Victor Beumer Urban Water and Soil Management, Deltares

Victor is the project manager of CIP-Eco-Engineering & Marketing Ecobouwen BGS as well as programme manager of Eco-infrastructure at Deltares. His work involves development and implementation of eco-engineering solutions (nature-based solutions) for infrastructure. He also works on biogeochemical and hydro-ecological issues addressing Green Infrastructure questions, and focuses on multi-purpose and/or eco-dynamic solutions.

David Beaumont Operations Manager, Victoria Business Improvement District

David Beamont leads on public realm and sustainability projects at the Victoria Business Improvement District (Victoria BID) in London, UK. His work involves bringing new green space to Victoria as well as enhancing existing green space under a ‘Greening for Growth’ approach in order to capture the business, health and environmental benefits it provides. He recently managed the delivery of the John Lewis Rain Garden, one of the first street-side rain gardens in Central London, and The Diamond Garden at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. In his current role between 2012 and 2014 he facilitated research by the Stockholm Environment Institute at York University and the Cities Institute at London Metropolitan University and funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs that evaluated the local impact of green infrastructure. In 2013 he commissioned Arup to write a Green Infrastructure Audit Best Practice Guide and in 2014 oversaw Victoria BID’s public realm strategy work with Publica that led to the Public Realm Vision for Victoria which includes a principle on green infrastructure. He has worked for IUCN, Fauna & Flora International and in 2011 completed an MA in Geography at Kings College London that focused on climate change, carbon and risk.

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