Resilient Urban Centres and Surrounds (RUCaS)

Regional Conference
& Training 2023


NOV 14—15
& 21—22

Nature-based Solutions for urban development and adaptation in the greater Mekong region.

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The conference was delivered in English, with interpretation to Mekong national languages available.

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Program Overview
Plenary 14 November 2023

Thought leaders share their experiences with nature-based solutions and how they can be harnessed to create better outcomes for communities in very different urban settings.

Senior officials from Greater Mekong regional countries offer country-specific and regional perspectives on implementing nature-based solutions.

Practitioners, researchers and collaborators provide practical insights on opportunities and challenges in applying nature-based solutions for climate resilient development.


Workshops on application
15 November 2023

Practitioners and researchers from each country share the opportunities, progress and challenges of applying nature-based solutions in their country’s experience.

Via breakout sessions for each country, participants use RUCaS case studies to inform a wider discussion on the practical application of NbS. Case studies include:

  • Valuation and activation of ‘vacant’ urban land, Thailand
  • Universities as incubators of innovation, Viet Nam
  • Enhancing heritage wetland ponds for public and private benefits, Lao PDR
  • Urban green street park, Cambodia.

These discussions will include incorporating inclusion principles into conceptual plans for each case study, as well as considering the costs and benefits of NbS options. Discussions will also consider opportunities and barriers to broader application across each country.


Training 1: Identifying urban nature-based solutions fundamentals
– 21 November 2023

This training introduces foundational concepts and examples of nature-based solutions as multifunctional water infrastructure. It dives deeper into international experience and RUCaS case studies to explore how appropriate green, blue and grey measures were selected and evaluated. Presentations will discuss catchment and site issues and opportunities, together with potential hybrid, nature-based and non-structural solutions.

The session will be interactive and aim to foster a network and community of practice around using NbS for integrated urban flood management. Collaborators will share their experiences from similar projects advancing nature-based solutions in urban contexts, focusing on identifying context specific opportunities and challenges.

The training will also begin to identify pathways for implementation and potential upscaling, and how to embed approaches for achieving equity and fairness in NbS options.

Training 2: Evaluating options and building the case for action
– 22 November 2023

This training introduces the principles for quantifying, valuing and comparing the economic benefits and costs of conventional and hybrid nature-based solutions, using the Benefit: Cost Analysis Tool and Value Tool developed by the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities. These have been updated with experience from the Mekong region, with extended values that centre on inclusion, equity and diversity. The session will engage participants in identifying the benefits and costs of different options and refining the selected NbS interventions to ensure measures are locally appropriate and effective.

Important benefits include non-traded benefits such as ecosystem services, recreation services, livelihood and cultural services and values, and general urban amenity services. Fundamental to all this work is understanding costs throughout the project lifecycle (e.g. construction, commission, operation and maintenance costs).

This training also helps identify pathways for implementing and upscaling measures, exploring opportunities for financing and funding, as well as policy and planning barriers and opportunities.

The RUCaS program is supported by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as part of the Mekong–Australia Partnership. It is delivered by Water Sensitive Cities Australia (Monash University), with in-country partner the International Centre for Environmental Management.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade