"We are facing a number of challenges such as unsustainable urban growth and human health problems related to environmental degradation. Currently more than 70% of the European population lives in cities, and this figure is likely to exceed 80%. There is a growing understanding that nature can help provide viable solutions that can have social, environmental and economic benefits," said European Union Ambassador to Brazil Ignacio Ybáñez. His remarks were shared on March 10th, in Brasilia, at the opening of the III International Seminar on Nature-Based Solutions, whose theme was "The Challenge of Water and Cities".
During the two-day event, which included a series of panels and workshops, many different themes were discussed, including "Strategies for water resources management in the transition to sustainable cities" and "Challenges and opportunities for the universalization of sanitation in Brazil".
UN Environment Programme Director Asher Lessels emphasized the importance of the event: "This seminar is based on the assumption that our national scenario can make a difference in the global biodiversity," he said.
The seminar was supported by the European Union-Brazil Dialogues, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the National Water Agency (ANA), the Ministries of Regional Development, Economy and Foreign Affairs, among other Brazilian government institutions.
"It is a concern not only of the government, but also of the private sector. When thinking of the future, the national and international markets are increasingly aware of companies which put sustainability at the center of their operations" said Regina Silvério, director of the Centre for Management and Strategic Studies (CGEE).
Several initiatives on the subject are underway within the federal government, with the support of the European Commission through the Dialogues Support Facility. Brazil joins this movement by researching and investing in innovation for cities, through the so-called nature-based solutions.
As part of the seminar, participants went on a technical in field visit to the Structural garbage dump, once considered the 2nd largest landfill in the world, occupying an area of 200 hectares in the capital of Brazil, sitting close to Brasilia's National Park.
Technicians from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC) and European experts spent the morning of March 12th at the dump, where it is estimated that around 40 million tons of waste were accumulated over 40 years, until its closing in January 2018.
Remediation of this area is a major challenge for the public administration. CITinova, a MCTIC project, aims to diagnose the current levels of contamination of the site, as well as test three initiatives, one of which is NBS, to subsidize the remediation strategies of the area.
*Based on Information shared by ASCOM of MCTIC
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