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Urban Natural Assets Programme

We support local governments in Africa to protect and revitalise their urban natural assets by integrating nature-based solutions into land use planning for increased resilience.

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Urban Natural Assets Programme

Years active:

2013 to 2024

Related ICLEI Pathway(s)


Kisumu, Kenya; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Kampala & Entebbe, Uganda; Nacala & Quelimane, Mozambique; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Lilongwe, Malawi

Funded by

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through SwedBio at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University

Project aims

UNA is made up of multiple types of ongoing and interconnected activities, all with the purpose of contributing to the following change pathways:

  • Developing cutting-edge tools and methods for:
    • Gaining an in-depth understanding of urban decision contexts
    • Analysis of challenges, needs, opportunities and solutions for improving natural asset management in African cities
  • Enabling co-production and transdisciplinary processes, advancing mainstreaming in practice
  • Enabling institutional (cultural) transformation in 8 African cities
  • Building capacity of African stakeholders, complimented through providing appropriate natural asset information to decision-makers to harness nature for resilience
  • Localising three key international frameworks (Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020) in African cities, influencing these frameworks with on-the-ground knowledge and experience as well as ensuring alignment and synergies between these frameworks
  • Testing new concepts to assess local applicability, as well as influence the theoretical and practical development of new knowledge areas, e.g. urban tinkering
  • Up and out-scaling UNA developed methods and tools via:
    • ICLEI Africa and ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center programmes and projects
    • Partnerships with UNHabitat, Robert Bosch Stiftung, WWF, UNDRR and others for alignment and expansion

For more on the specific aims and activities of the UNA Africa project please visit the project website.

For more on the specific aims and activities of the UNA Rivers project please visit the project website.

For more on the specific aims and activities of the UNA Coasts project please visit the project website.

For more on the specific aims and activities of the UNA Resilience project please visit the project website.



It is imperative we build climate resilience through alternative planning at multiple governance levels. UNA Africa does just this through helping us create the enabling conditions for effective and sustainable action. It supports us in prioritising nature considerations into climate planning and development processes.
- Mr. John Chome, Chief Executive Officer, Lilongwe City Council

Project highlights

Highlight 2

Three posters were produced which presents the key achievements of the programme; summarises the key outputs, tools and resources and showcases the areas of innovation and experimentation the programme engaged with.

Highlight 3

We produced three videos to promote the programme in two minutes, highlight impacts and achievements, and summarise the key recommendations and learnings

Highlight 4

We developed 11 handbooks to provide various target audiences (city officials, national government, organisations working on sustainability in Africa, funders and academics) with key considerations for mainstreaming nature into planning.


Highlight 5

An easy to engage webpage was constructed. This pulls together all resources and lessons.

Highlight 6

Based on the need to convert face-to-face capacity building content into a virtual format, the UNA programme pioneered the development of an innovative, interactive and dialogic package for online training, capacity building and learning.

Project partners

Urban Natural Assets Programme