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Nature-based Solutions to Address Flooding in Coastal Cities

Status: Active
Operational Plan: 2021
Project Duration: 30 months
Start date: November 15, 2021

Natural areas adjacent to cities provide ecosystem benefits and services that support climate change adaptation for communities. Inspired by these systems, nature-based solutions (NBS) reduce flood and erosion risk through the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of natural coastal environments, and the construction of new features that mimic or work with ecological processes. NBS contribute to increased resilience in coastal areas, helping to manage risks with cost-effective, holistic, and innovative approaches, while also delivering co-benefits, such as habitat, recreation, and water quality. As countries look to finance infrastructure work in the context of a COVID-19 economic recovery, NBS represent one promising way to combine development, climate, disaster risk reduction and conservation objectives. Building on past collaborative experiences advancing knowledge on blue carbon, coastal adaptation, and extreme events, we are uniquely placed to build capacity for coastal communities to manage flood risk in a changing climate through NBS.

To find out more about this project, here is the complete project description.

Flooding in Coastal Cities


  • Coastal cities are vulnerable to flooding due to land-use changes, ecosystem loss or transformation, population growth in coastal zones, sea-level rise, changes in the frequency and severity of storms, and ageing flood protection infrastructure.
  • Nature-based solutions (NBS) can reduce flood and erosion risk through the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of natural coastal environments, but gaps and barriers prevent broader implementation of these types of solutions.


  • We are bringing together practitioners from across North America to develop an interdisciplinary community of practice working on NBS.
  • We are filling knowledge gaps to support the broader implementation of NBS in coastal cities in North America.


  • An intersectoral community of practice to support the use of NBS to address coastal flooding in cities.
  • A socio-economic analysis of NBS co-benefits.
  • A practical synthesis of existing knowledge on retrofitting existing infrastructure while enhancing co-benefits.
  • A guidance document on methodology and indicators to monitor the efficacy of NBS.
  • Case studies highlighting best practices of implementing NBS in coastal cities.
  • Online trainings and webinars for practitioners on implementing NBS in coastal cities.

For more information about this project or to partner with us, contact:

Lucie Robidoux
Head of Unit, Ecosystems
(514) 350-4311