Nature-based solutions for sustainable cities in Ukraine

Photo: Urban initiative “Garden of Stories” from Rivne

Life in cities is about constant change. Before you know it, a park becomes another construction site, a lawn behind a house building turns into a landfill, and your favourite district into a concrete jungle, lacking space for nature and its creatures.

- Ukraine ranks eighth in Europe in air pollution. Over a third of the population suffers from some form of respiratory disease.

- The total green area within Ukrainian cities and other towns covers 396,600 hectares. This is less than 1 percent of the country’s territory

- Ukraine has more than 6,000 landfills. This equals the area of 500 “Olympic” stadiums. A quarter of them do not meet safety standards.

Since November 2019, UNDP Ukraine has promoted the concept of nature-based solutions, shaping a stakeholder community around the topic.

In 2020, the global initiative UNDP Ukraine Accelerator Lab and its partners developed the Community Safari concept. The program engages city residents in searching for innovative nature-based solutions for local communities.

Inspired by this success, UNDP has initiated the project “Nature-based Solutions for Sustainable Cities.” The project aims to inform city residents, public authorities, and businesses about urban green solutions. We all have the right to live in a “healthy city,” breathe clean air, and see more green oases from our apartment windows, not just the walls of neighbouring grey skyscrapers. 

Nature-based solutions for development (NBS) is one of UNDP’s six key priorities. UNDP views nature as an opportunity to counter climate shocks and mitigate climate change.

The adoption of various NBSs will help solve at least three urgent crises in cities:

  • climate (e.g., urban heat reduction, reducing of buildings’ energy consumption, CO2 absorption);
  • biodiversity loss;
  • social wellbeing/health (e.g., air quality, health, wellbeing, social cohesion).

Expected project outcomes:

Outcome 1 – National and local authorities are able to implement nature-based and gender-oriented solutions at the local level;

Outcome 2 – Communities are able to implement and scale up gender-oriented NBSs;

Outcome 3 – Different population groups are increasingly aware of gender-oriented NBSs;

Outcome 4 – Housing cooperatives at the local level follow sustainable approaches to organic waste treatment, thus cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Community Safari

Community Safari is a programme that engages city residents in searching for nature-based solutions to environmental challenges. It is implemented by UNDP in Ukraine's “Nature-based Solutions for Sustainable Cities” project.

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No to concrete: Simple solutions for living in a green city

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Handbook: Cities, Nature and Innovation. New directions for development


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Project start date:

October 2020

Estimated end date:

March 2022

Focus area:

  • accelerate structural transformations
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Ukraine

    Implementing partner:

    United Nations Development Programme

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