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SDG Academy

Nature-based Solutions for Disaster and Climate Resilience

SDG Academy via edX


Nature offers many solutions for reducing the impacts from disasters and climate impacts. This may include protecting forests on steep slopes, maintaining sand dunes along coastlines, wetlands to buffer excess rainwater. These so-called ‘Nature- based solutions’ (NbS) are an important piece in the puzzle to building the resilience of households and communities to an ever-increasing number of disaster events around the world.

For years, experience and evidence on NbS from around the world has been growing. But many people – from policy makers, through to engineers and businesses – don't yet know how NbS can help them solve the challenges they’re facing from events like floods, heatwaves, or droughts. These events affect the lives of millions of people every year.

So, what are ‘Nature-based solutions’, or NbS? How can they help build resilience to disasters and climate change impacts? Why is NbS relevant? How can I apply NbS in my work and everyday life?

In this online course, UNEP and environmental experts from around the world will provide you with answers to those questions, reaching out to you and me, to planners, policy makers, engineers, businesses, and youth. This is an opportunity for you to join a community of learners and environmental advocates.

First touching upon the “why”, the course provides an introduction to nature-based solutions for disaster and climate resilience, the benefits and potential opportunities. Then, specific modules aimed at different target audiences will focus on the practical application of nature-based solutions, the “how”.

Who is the course aimed at? Nature-based solutions are relevant to everyone, and we all benefit from seeing them applied. With this in mind, the course is designed to be accessible to everyone, no matter your background.


Unit 1: Why is this course relevant to me?

This unit introduces the course, its learning objectives and explains why we are currently at cross-roads in terms of disaster and climate risks and how nature can provide solutions.

Unit 2: What are Nature-based Solutions?

This unit explains that Nature-based Solutions is an umbrella term that encompasses many different approaches.

Unit 3: Nature-based Solutions applied to pressing challenges: urbanization, coastal development and dryland expansion

This unit focuses on the applications of Nature-based Solutions in specific contexts that are both challenging but also critical for ensuring disaster and climate resilience worldwide.

Unit 4: Including communities, youth and indigenous people in Nature-based Solutions

This unit focuses on the need to promote inclusive and community-led approaches in Nature-based Solutions initiatives.

Unit 5: From policy to practice

This unit answers two questions:

  • What do policy makers need to know about Nature-based Solutions?

  • How can engineers and practitioners implement Nature-based Solutions?

Unit 6: The business case for nature

This unit presents why and how businesses and the private sector can be involved in Nature-based Solutions at different levels.

Unit 7: Over to you: Time for action

This unit provides concluding remarks and rounds off the course.

Taught by

Nathalie Doswald, Mikhail Fernandes and Xinyue Gu


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