In 12 sessions over three full days, we will discuss the value and limits of working with nature to meet societal goals in a warming world. We will highlight the state of the evidence for the social, ecological and economic effectiveness of nature-based solutions for dealing with the causes and consequences of climate change, and will address multiple contexts including oceans, cities, health, infrastructure, food and water security. Sessions will be two hours long and highly interactive. They will bring together evidence from both science and practice, as well as perspectives from multiple disciplines and sectors on the practical, financial and governance challenges to scaling up nature-based solutions.

The conference will be held in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. On the first night, there will be a buffet dinner amongst the natural history collections. On the second night, there will be a showing of films about NbS in action across the world. On the third night, there will be an open event in the Oxford Town Hall where we will bring together delegates with youth leaders from climate-nature activism and the general public.

Throughout the event, there will be plenty of opportunities for networking, including at poster sessions during tea/coffee and lunch breaks.

Here is an outline of the programme. Confirmed speakers are given below this table. More details about individuals sessions will be added over time. 

Session Session title

What are NbS? Definitions, Promise, Challenges

Session 1

Towards a better understanding of the value of nature for climate change mitigation

We will explore the potential and limits of climate change mitigation through nature-based solutions in terrestrial and marine environments. We will highlight the latest evidence, discuss the relative importance of carbon and non-carbon impacts (e.g. albedo), and how best to synergise mitigation and adaptation actions. We will explore some of risks around nature-based approaches to climate mitigation, including tree planting in inappropriate ecosystems, the challenges of bioenergy and BECCS, the moral hazard of promoting nature-based solutions at the expense of fossil fuel emissions reductions, socio-political factors and land rights, and the need to direct NbS investment towards protecting and restoring native natural ecosystems.

Convenors: Prof. Yadvinder Malhi and Cécile Girardin (University of Oxford)

Speakers: Neil Davies (University of California at Berkley), Charlotte Wheeler (University of Edinburgh), Pete Smith (University of Aberdeen), Michael Obersteiner (University of Oxford), Bronson Griscom (Conservation International), Caroline Lehmann (University of Edinburgh), Connie McDermott (University of Oxford), Danae Maniatis (Global Landscapes Forum)

Session 2

NbS for climate change adaptation and resilience

We will review evidence from science and practice for the role of NbS in reducing exposure and sensitivity to climate change and building adaptive capacity and resilience, and highlight key knowledge gaps. NbS are widely claimed to provide holistic, transformative, and locally-responsive forms of adaptation. Through a series of case-studies encompassing a wide range of adaptation contexts, we will explore the extent to which these claims about NbS are supported by the evidence, and will assess assumptions about the links between nature, adaptation, and resilience. We will reflect on major cross-cutting issues such as scale, incentives as well as complexities around how people and ecosystems co-respond to climate change, and we will discuss how to overcome barriers that currently limit the broadscale implementation of NbS.

Convenors: Nature-based Solutions Initiative (University of Oxford)

Speakers: Valerie Kapos (WCMC), Alexandre Chausson (NbSI), Beth Turner (NbSI), Henk Nieboer (Ecoshape), Sandra Lavorel (CNRS), Bruno Locatelli (University of Montpellier), Silvana Di Sabatino (University of Bologna & Operandum), Patricia Pinho (University of Sao Paulo),  Susan Chomba (World Agroforestry Centre), Stephen Woroniecki (Lund University), Saleem Huq (IIED)


Session 3

Mainstreaming NbS for urban sustainability and climate change action

We will introduce the role of urban NBS and give an overview of the latest global evidence of the potential of urban nature to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. We will provide example cases of how cities are working with NBS to address climate change on the ground and will discuss the importance of community engagement, finance and governance arrangements for successful implementation. And we will reflect on the challenges of mainstreaming NBS into urban development and identify priorities for research and practice.

Convenors: Harriet Bulkeley (University of Durham & Naturvation) and Jonny Sadler (Manchester Climate Agency & GrowGreen)

Speakers: Chantal van Ham (IUCN Europe & Urban Alliance), Julie Greenwalt (Global Commission for Adaptation), Katarina Hedlund (Naturvation), Jess Kavonic (ICLEI), Harriet Fink (Natural History Museum, London), Rob Carr (Environment Agency, UK), Craig Davies (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)

Session 4

How biodiversity science informs Nature-based Solutions in policy and practice

Biodiversity is the foundation of a healthy, resilient ecosystem.  In this session, we will explore whether and how biodiversity science informs the implementation of Nature-based Solutions in policy and practice. We will review the evidence and knowledge gaps on the extent to which biodiversity supports ecosystem and human resilience to the impacts of climate change in a variety of different contexts, and we will discuss the role of biodiversity in mediating social-ecological trade-offs. In a panel discussion, we will reflect on major cross-cutting questions, such as: What is the role of local knowledge about biodiversity in policy and practice? What are the key obstacles to biodiversity-based policy targets and implementation of NbS in different global regions? And, how should biodiversity science inform the development of global standards for NbS?

Convenors: Robin Chazdon (University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland), Cécile Girardin and Nathalie Seddon (NbSI, University of Oxford)

Speakers: Joe Tobias (Imperial College), Rhett Harrison (World Agroforestry Centre), Neil Davies (University of California at Berkley), Chris Kettle (Biodiversity International), Mike Barrett (WWF UK)

Session 5

NbS for food security on land and in the oceans

Food, along with water, is one of the basic required for sustained life.   As environmental, agricultural and aqua-cultural food production systems continue to degrade globally, and climate change is impacting the suitability of many food production practices in different regions, there is a perceived need to introduce climate resilience and sustainability into land and water management practices to ensure food security and contribute to ecosystem health.   Nature-based Solutions integrated into agricultural production systems, fisheries and forestry offer the potential to deliver improvements in both these key areas. This session offers a glimpse of the future in farming systems and food security and provides insights into the potential of alternative food production methods, that incorporate natural climate resilience and sustainability while delivering better ecosystem and public good outcomes.

Convenors: Claire Kremen (University of British Colombia) and Neil Coles (University of Leeds & ThinkNature)

Speakers: Steve Banwart (University of Leeds), Dennis Garrity (Evergreening), Ed Barrett-Lennard (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia), Juliana Delgado (The Nature Conservancy), Haseeb Irfanullah (International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Bangladesh), Jaiping Wu (Zhejiang University), Yodit Kebede (Montpellier University)


Session 6

NbS for health and wellbeing

Many actions and policies taken to protect nature can also deliver major improvements to human health and wellbeing. Better valuation and communication of these co-benefits can help engage policymakers and civil society to effect transformative change. To find solutions that benefit both people and the planet will necessitate overcoming a number of challenges including rethinking how we measure human progress, how we improve links between the fields of environmental science and global public health and how we encourage governments and large institutions to recognise and respond to these new opportunities. This session will lay out some of the key evidence of the health and wellbeing benefits of implementing NbS and will discuss how best to overcome challenges to scaling-up NbS for health.

Convenor: Dr Sarah Whitmee (Oxford Martin School)

Speakers: David Nabarro (Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation), Kathy Willis (University of Oxford), Anant Jani (University of Oxford), Sarah Jones (Biodiversity International), Sam Bickerstein (Opportunity International UK), Kristine Belesova (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

Session 7

NbS for water security and climate resilience in an urban world

Building on the foundation of science and results of the latest research on NBS for water security, we will bring forward stakeholders’ perspectives from different regions on how best to accelerate NbS uptake in the context of urbanisation and climate change. To date, urban water quality has been the main issue area; there is an increasing need to expand the NbS concept to also address water scarcity and quantity issues, as exemplified by the Cape Town and Chennai water crises in the past two years. Cities are interlinked to their surroundings, and these urban-rural linkages pose both conflicts and cooperation opportunities. The session aims to highlight NbS as mechanisms to address opportunities and transcend conflicts, including challenges around finance and governance.  We aim to present work from global and country/regions to bring forward on-the-ground programmes and hubs, experiences, and observations in terms of innovation, testing and scaling solutions.”

Convenors: Lynn Scarlett (The Nature Conservancy) & Dustin Garrick (University of Oxford)

Speakers: Harini Nagendra (Azim Premji University), Marcia Toledo (The Nature Conservancy), Shiraz Wajih (Gorakhpur University), Veronica Aria (CC35, Ecuador)

Session 8

Nature-based Solutions for development

This session will explore the evidence that investing in nature delivers key development outcomes for poor countries and poor people including jobs, income, food security, health and resilience. We will present preliminary findings from an evidence review describing what kinds of developmental benefits have been derived from different types of NbS and from NbS programming in developing countries. We will showcase different case studies of NbS from forest restoration to ecotourism to agro-ecology and explore how nature can even be integrated into development policy tools such as social protection. Our session will also highlight when investing in nature has proved to be a problem for development rather than a solution and the challenges that need to be addressed to maximise synergies between conservation and development – a key concern for the post-2020 international biodiversity framework, or new deal for nature and people.

Convenors: Dilys Roe (International Institute for Environment and Development), Nathalie Seddon & Beth Turner (NbSI, University of Oxford)

Speakers: Stewart Maginnis (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Andrew Norton (International Institute for Environment and Development), Tasfia Tasnim (International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Bangladesh), Alex MacGillvray (CDC Group)


Session 9

Building the NbS community of science, policy and practice

In this session, we will discuss what sort of alignment exists among the UN and Global Commission process with UNFCC, CBD, UNDRR, and SDGs. A myriad of informal and formal networks around NbS have developed since the past 5 years, how do we maximize the sharing of lessons across these networks?

Convenors: James Lloyd & Lucy Almond (Nature4Climate)

Speakers: Sally Armitage (Global Evergreening Alliance), Marina Melanidis (Youth4Nature), Ann-Kathrin Neureuther (Rare & UN Decade of Restoration), Florent Kaiser (Global Forest Generation & UN Decade of Restoration)

Session 10

Needs and innovations for delivering integrated green and blue infrastructure solutions in human-dominated landscapes

These two sequential sessions address the theory and practice of delivering integrated green and blue infrastructure solutions in human-dominated landscapes. The focus is on using nature-based and hybrid approaches as an effective and economic means of supplying key services to city dwellers, at the same time as helping to better mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. It seeks to showcase innovative approaches and experiences at each stage of the infrastructure delivery pipeline, from design, through financing, to on-the-ground implementation.

Convenors: Neil Coles (University of Leeds) & Lucy Emerton (Environment Management Group)

Session 10A

Design needs and innovations for integrated green and blue infrastructure solutions

We will address the theory and practice of delivering integrated green and blue infrastructure solutions in human-dominated landscapes. The focus is on using nature-based and hybrid approaches as an effective means of supplying key services to city dwellers, at the same time as helping to better mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. It seeks to showcase innovative approaches and experiences at each stage of the infrastructure delivery pipeline, from design, through financing, to on-the-ground implementation.

Speakers: Andrew Brown (Leeds University Business School), Timon McPhearson (The New School), Charles Vorosmarty (City University of New York), Katharina Schneider-Roos (Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation), Neil Coles (University of Leeds), Lucy Emerton (Environment Management Group)

Session 10B

Innovations in financing and valuing NbS - making the economic and business case

We will share best practice and lessons learned in how to mobilise adequate, appropriate and sustainable investments in NbS – among households, companies and industries, financial institutions, private investors, governments, multilateral agencies and the global community. There will be a particular emphasis on finding ways of closing the knowledge-policy-practice loop, and bringing together researchers, practitioners and investors to identify what kinds of information, actions and enabling conditions are needed to mainstream NbS into financial and economic decision-making.

Speakers: Lucy Emerton (Environment Management Group), Mark Gough (Natural Capital Coalition), Oshani Perera (International Institute for Sustainable Development), Beatriz Mayor Rodriquez (iCatalyst), Essam Mohammed (International Institute for Environment and Development), Ben Caldecott (University of Oxford), Robin Mitchell (The Biodiversity Consultancy)

Session 11

Nature-based business models and the business of nature

This session will examine how cash flows and business models can be developed from creating and sustaining Nature-based Solutions. We will explore the opportunities and challenges in different key sectors of the global economy and examine how these issues may differ across jurisdictions, particularly between developed and developing countries. We will also assess how technology, regulatory change, and new practices can help enterprises to deliver NbS at the scale and pace required.

Convenors: Ben Caldecott & Alex Money (Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford)

Speakers: Cameron Hepburn (University of Oxford), Rhian-Mari Thomas (Green Finance Institute), Robin Mitchell (The Biodiversity Consultancy), Justin Adams (Tropical Forest Association), Simon Young (Willis Towers Watson), Claire Johnstone (Environment Agency)

Session 12

Governing NbS - an opportunity for transformation

Nature-based Solutions depend on innovative and effective governance at local, national, and transnational scales. This session compares successes and challenges in NbS governance across developed and developing countries. What models can be replicated and scaled up? Looking ahead to the CBD COP15 in Kunming and the UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow, we also consider what international governance arrangements are needed to catalyse effective NbS.

Convenor: Thomas Hale (Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford)

Speakers: Andres Diaz Silva (Colombian Embassy, London), Jonathan Stern (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK), Rosa Morales (Peruvian Government), Harriet Bulkeley (Naturvation), Brendan Guy (Natural Resources Defence Council), Colin Mayer (University of Oxford)


Below is a list of confirmed speakers to date

  • Musonda Mumba | Chair, Global Partnership for Forest & Landscape Restoration (GPFLR)
  • Sandra Diaz | Professor of Ecology at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Co-Chair of the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment
  • Michael Obersteiner | Director of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University
  • David Nabarro | Co-Director of the Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation
  • Sandra Lavorel | Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, CNRS
  • Rosa Morales | Senior Researcher, Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP)
  • Stewart Maginnis | Global Director of the NbS Programme at IUCN
  • Lynn Scarlett | Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy
  • Colin Mayer | Professor of Management Studies (Said Business School, Oxford) and UK Natural Capital Committee
  • Mike Barrett | Executive Director of Conservation and Science, WWF-UK
  • Saleem Huq | Director of the International Institute for Climate Change and Development
  • Claire Kremen | Professor in Biodiversity, University of British Colombia
  • Rhian-Mari Thomas | CEO of the Green Finance Institute
  • Lucy Emerton | Environment Management Group
  • Robin Chazdon | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
  • Mark Gough | Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition
  • Harriet Bulkeley | University of Durham and NATURVATION
  • Dustin Garrick | Co-Director of the Smith School Water Programme, University of Oxford
  • Neil Coles | University of Leeds and ThinkNature
  • Yadvinder Malhi | Professor of Ecosystem Science, University of Oxford
  • Joe Tobias | Imperial College
  • Nathalie Seddon | Professor of Biodiversity, University of Oxford
  • Dilys Roe | International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Lucy Almond | Nature4Climate
  • James Lloyd | Nature4Climate
  • Justin Adams | CEO of the Tropical Forest Alliance (WEF)
  • Cameron Hepburn | Director of the Smith School for Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford
  • Henk Nieboer | Director of ECOSHAPE
  • Rhett Harrison | World Agroforestry Centre - CGIAR Consortium
  • Chris Kettle | Bioversity International and ETH Zurich
  • Silvana Di Sabatino | Professor, Universitá di Bologna and Project Lead of OPERANDUM
  • Pete Smith | Professor of Soils and Global Change, University of Aberdeen
  • Stephen Woroniecki | Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies
  • Caroline Lehmann | University of Edinburgh
  • Kathy Willis | Professor of Biodiversity & Head the Oxford Long-term Ecology group, University of Oxford
  • Patricia Pinho | University of Såo Paulo
  • Susan Chomba | Program Manager at Regreening Africa, World Agroforestry Centre
  • Bruno Locatelli | Cirad, University of Montpellier, and Center for International Forestry Research
  • Chantal van Ham | IUCN Europe/Urban Alliance
  • Julie Greenwalt | Cities Programme Lead, Global Commission for Adaptation
  • Jess Kavonic | Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) Cape Town
  • Thomas Elmqvist | Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Rob Carr | Environment Agency, UK
  • Andres Diaz Silva | Colombian Embassy, London
  • Brendan Guy | International Policy, Natural Resources Defence Council
  • Oshani Perera | Director, Infrastructure Programme, International Institute for Sustainable Development
  • Neil Davies | University of California at Berkley, & Executive Director UC Gump South Pacific Research Station
  • Shiraz Wajih | Director of Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG) in India
  • Andrew Norton | Director, International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Veronica Arias | Executive Director of Cities of the Americas against Climate Change (CC35) in Ecuador
  • Claire Johnstone | Catchment Funding Manager at the Environment Agency
  • Steve Banwart | Director of the Global Food and Environment Institute, University of Leeds
  • Jaiping Wu | Director Oceans research Centre -Zhejiang University
  • Ed Barret-Lennard | Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Western Australia
  • Charles Vorosmarty | Advanced Science Research Center, City University of New York (CUNY)
  • Essam Mohammed | Head of Blue Economy, Shaping Sustainable Markets, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
  • Beatriz Mayor-Rodriguez | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), & ICATALIST
  • Harini Nagendra | Professor of Sustainability, Azim Premji University
  • Jonny Sadler | Programme Director, Manchester Climate Change Agency
  • Sarah Whitmee | Oxford Martin School
  • Marcia Toledo | The Nature Conservancy
  • Ben Caldecott | Director, Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, & Associate Professor, Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment
  • Tom Hale | Associate Professor in Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government
  • Alex Money | Director, Innovative Infrastructure Investment Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
  • Robin Mitchell | Technical Director, The Biodiversity Consultancy
  • Simon Young | Senior Director, Willis Towers Watson
  • Cecile Girardin | Ecosystems Lab, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  • Connie McDermott | Land Use and Environmental Change, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  • Charlotte Wheeler | School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh
  • Bronson Griscom | Director of Natural Climate Solutions, Conservation International
  • Danae Maniatis | Climate and Forest Team in Asia-Pacific, Global Landscapes Forum
  • Beth Turner | Nature-based Solutions Initiative, University of Oxford
  • Alexandre Chausson | Nature-based Solutions Initiative, University of Oxford
  • Harriet Fink | Natural History Museum, London
  • Dennis Garrity | EverGreen Agriculture Partnership, World Agroforestry
  • Juliana Delgado | The Nature Conservancy
  • Tasfia Tasnim | International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) Bangladesh
  • Sarah Jones | Sustainable Agricultural Production, Biodiversity International
  • Anant Jani | Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services. University of Oxford
  • Montira Pongsiri | The Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, University of Oxford
  • Jennifer Cole | Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Andy Haines | Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Haseeb Irfanullah | International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) Bangladesh
  • Marina Melanidis | Youth4Nature
  • Ann-Kathrin Neureuther | UN Decade of Restoration
  • Florent Kaiser | Global Forest Generation & UN Decade of Restoration
  • Andrew Brown | Professor of Economics and Political Economy, Leeds University Business School
  • Timon McPhearson | Associate Professor of Urban Ecology & Director of the Urban Systems Lab, The New School
  • Katharina Schneider-Roos | Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (GIB)
  • Jonathan Stern | Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK
  • Yodit Kebede | Institute of Development Research (IRD), Montpellier University
  • Kristine Belesova | Deputy Director, Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Sam Bickersteth | CEO, Opportunity International UK
  • Sally Armitage | Global Evergreening Alliance