The intricacies of implementing nature-based solutions, as well as best practices in mitigating urban and coastal climate change and strengthening infrastructure resilience were thoroughly discussed during AECOM’s Future of Infrastructure (FOI) webinar titled Nature-based Solutions: Infrastructure for Urban and Coastal Resilience.

The webinar was held at the AECOM office in Singapore on 27 September 2021, and streamed to an audience of more than 500 people around the world via Zoom.

Sharing their insights and expertise was a panel of speakers consisting of Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development, Singapore; Dr. Beverley Stinson, Global Business Line Chief Executive, Water, AECOM; Dr. David Gallacher, Executive Director, Environment. AECOM; Dale Hardcastle, Partner and Co-Director, Global Sustainability Innovation Center, Bain & Company; Professor Benjamin Horton, Director, Earth Observatory of Singapore; Flora Ji, Vice President, Nature Based Solutions, Shell; Hazel Khoo, Director, Coastal Protection Department, Public Utilities Board. and moderator Scott Dunn, VP of Strategy and Growth, Asia, AECOM.

The discussion touched on immediate actions that can be implemented quickly to improve awareness on driving sustainability on the built environment. The most effective way would be reaching out to the people in our community and helping them understand the effects of climate change on health and our livelihood, which will better facilitate both behavioral and social change.

Minister Indranee said, “Coming out of COVID-19, infrastructure could be the catalyst in helping the community rebuild and find the economic pathway forward.”

“Sustainable infrastructure represents a huge growth area – it’s growth in the area of green finance and it’s something we are looking at very actively as a financial hub in Singapore, if we do it right,” she expanded.

Professor Benjamin P. Horton also stressed, “Desperately with nature-based solutions, we need to keep what we have and replace what we lost. It is all about education here.”

He continued, “The fact that each individual panelist has a different message to convey in this same discussion, it goes to show how complex the issue of climate change is, and education is the key. If there was one thing I would say to the audience is that I would love for you tonight to go and speak with your loved ones, friends, family about climate change that you learnt from the conference. It’s all about awareness then making the right choices.”

A Q&A session and polls were conducted, allowing participants to report their perceived challenges as well as their aspirations for the implementation of nature-based solutions.