Building in China with green facade

The Programme

The Programme

The UrbanByNature programme is designed and managed by ICLEI Europe, powered by EU- funded projects such as  H2020 NICE ,  HE NBRACER ,  HE NBS EduWORLD , EcoDaLLi, NetworkNature+, and more. It grounded on the initial works carried under Connecting Nature and Clever Cities, and hosted by CitiesWithNature. Our  UbN Integrated Management System consisting of 7 steps  methodology for a full cycle of analysing barriers, achieving action, and acceleration of action wants to answer what, to whom and how to communicate those results and make them usable. It has performed as a capacity building and knowledge sharing programme on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for city administrations, policy-makers, enterprises, non-governmental organisations, professional associations, community organisations, and the general public through EU-funded projects over the last years.

The UrbanByNature 7-steps integrated management cyclical approach, based on the international standard ISO 37101 “Sustainable development in communities”, was set up to support local governments, groups of technicians, associations, privates and public entities, address the full cycle for analysing barriers and opportunities, achieving action, and acceleration of action. Capacity-Building is at the heart of overcoming current policy, governance, finance and technical challenges, hindering the implementation of NbS for sustainable development. H2020 and HE projects have supported identifying gaps and links between local, regional, national and pan-European multi-level stakeholder governance frameworks, building the basis for the recommendations on EU regulation and planning policies strategies (e.g. Water Framework DirectiveFloods DirectiveBiodiversity StrategySoil StrategyUrban Greening Plans, etc.). Involving policymakers, practitioners, civil society, organisations, local authorities, water authorities, businesses and investors is part of building capacities and gaining more practical experience, to analyse, act and accelerate action, and is part of our NbS and Biodiversity Team and ICLEI vision and mission.

New free and open source visualisation and modelling digital tools, updated unified manuals and guidelines for NbS technical design, construction, operation and maintenance, and innovative cost-benefit evaluation methods and financial models are produced under the umbrella of EU-funded H2020 and Horizon Europe projects. Aren’t they a resource for society to become more resilient and well-adapted to sustainable challenges? And, if so, wouldn’t it be incongruent that, after the completion of those projects, EU-funded resources remain unused and in the shadows? UbN is currently assessing pathways to develop guidance to local and regional policymakers to for science and project outcomes to be translated and communicated to society. Mainstreaming NbS in planning policy and effective implementation is the aim and the UrbanByNature program our vehicle. Therefore our programme is encommeded to address the full cycle for analysing barriers, achieving action, and acceleration of action to converge into a significant change at city and regional level.

UrbanByNature aims at facilitating NBS replication across European regions, supporting the Green Deal, the implementation of Urban Greening Plans, the Berlin Urban Nature PactNature Restoration LawBiodiversity strategy for 2030 and Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030. Build on user stories, engage with users interested in testing tools, facilitate a co-design framework to understand the common needs addressed by local decision-makers in rural, peri-urban, and urban regions, different land-use patterns, wastewater effluents, and potable water demands, and put at their service training modules that truly answer their capacity-building needs.

Launched at its origins within the Connecting Nature Horizon 2020 project, UrbanByNature established hubs in Brazil, South Korea and the Caucasus. New hubs are planned in Spain, Scotland and Flandres. In parallel, Connecting Nature’s sister project CLEVER Cities expanded UrbanByNature’s global reach by establishing hubs in China (jointly with Connecting Nature), Latin America and South Eastern Europe. Currently, the H2020 NICE Project has created a series of webinars on water-treatment NbS, the NBS EduWORLD Project is developing a series of webinars for improved educational systems on NbS and the HE NBRACER Project will design a full cycle of capacity-building to assist on replication of best practices across different regions in Europe.

UrbanByNature is powered by ICLEI Europe, in cooperation with ICLEI’s regional offices across the world and ICLEI's World Secretariat. The programme is hosted by ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center through its CitiesWithNature platform

Find out more and watch our introductory video.

How can I join? 

Once you fill in our registration form, you will get automatically subscribed to our UrbanByNature Digest and receive notifications about upcoming webinars, events and learning opportunities across our different projects actively enrolled in UbN Capacity-Building and the hubs forum and knowledge exchange events to build cooperation and strength among cities and regional governments dealing with similar challenges and/ or looking for cooperation frameworks. You can join the trainings publicly delivered on a regular basis, join one or more of our active hubs, or refer to specific tailored and adapted training and service you may require in order to accommodate service delivery to your specific needs for which we ask you to contact us on this regard here.

Park in Seoul. Korea

Image from Dreamstime by Chitsanupong Pengsalae


A future where biodiversity thrives, ecosystems flourish and nature-based solutions are a cornerstone of healthy, equitable and resilient landscapes, cities and economies.


ICLEI Europe's Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) Team collaborates across diverse sectors and policy levels, tackling environmental, economic, and societal challenges on a policy level. In partnership with cities and regions, we champion transformative change by mainstreaming nature in urban development. Our commitment involves advocating for community-driven, place-based innovations and policies that are environmentally, culturally, socially, economically, geographically fitting and just.

Our mission is to integrate biodiversity and nature-based solutions into responses to climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem loss, and pollution. Serving as a bridge between science, policy, and traditional knowledge, we foster nature-positive practices, steering away from business-as-usual. Employing co-creative processes and capacity building with multi-stakeholder groups, we focus on resilient urban/rural landscapes, abundant wildlife habitats, and thriving natural corridors to enhance the health of people, ecosystems and the planet. 

Our approach

We have built the programme on a solid foundation taking into consideration relevant methodologies such as the Green Climate City programme and the Green City Action plan methodology for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), both developed by ICLEI, as well as the CitiesWithNature Initiative, designed by ICLEI, IUCN, and the Nature Conservancy. Furthermore, the International standard ISO 37101 “Sustainable development in communities” was also consulted to determine a holistic approach for the UrbanByNature programme. The integrated management cyclical approach has been set up in consultation with the mentioned relevant approaches to avoid duplication or reinvention of the wheel.

Furthermore, UrbanByNature’s concept also builds on the building blocks of the “Connecting Nature Framework” (Technical design, Indicators, Financing and Business Models, Entrepreneurship, Governance, Co-production and Reflexive Monitoring). The programme's integrated planning process, which has been used by local governments that are part of the ICLEI network and beyond, accounts for the complex combination of departments, sectors and organisations involved in sustainable urban planning. The programme is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the questions and expertise participants and contributors bring to the table from their diverse backgrounds and regions.

Keep in touch




Our partners

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The UrbanByNature programme is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union under Grant Agreements No. 730222 and No. 776604. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies within UrbanByNature and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.