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BiodiverCities by 2030: Transforming Cities’ Relationship with Nature

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 19th January, 2022 06:14:49 PM
  • Print news

Global Commission on BiodiverCities sponsored by World Economic Forum (WEF) published its report on BiodiverCities by 2030 aiming to enable cities to live in harmony with nature.

Produced in collaboration with Arup and AlphaBeta, the report published on January 17 is a key output of the BiodiverCities by 2030 initiative, led jointly by the World Economic Forum and the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute, and championed by the Government of Colombia.

The initiative aims to support city governments, businesses and citizens, to make choices that enable cities to live in harmony with nature by 2030, said a press release on Wednesday.

This report calls on cities, as one of the crucial players in reversing nature loss and climate change, to become BiodiverCities by 2030. It articulates the opportunity for urban leaders and citizens to transform their cities’ relationship with nature through nine key messages.

1. An “urban era” is taking place which requires urban leaders and decision-makers to play a key role in shaping a sustainable, resilient and prosperous future for all.

2. Rapid urban expansion has come at the expense of climate, nature and the economy. Business as usual is no longer an option; cities must act now to rebalance their relationship with nature.

3. BiodiverCities by 2030 sets a vision of cities as living systems, where their economic, social and ecological functions come together in harmony. BiodiverCities have five characteristics, guiding nature-positive actions on infrastructure, governance, economy, health and wellbeing.

4. By shifting investment to nature-based solutions (NbS) for infrastructure, cities can build a climate-resilient built environment while lessening their impact on biodiversity.

5. Expanding nature in the built environment creates significant economic and social value and create jobs dedicated to restoring and protecting natural ecosystems.

6. The impact of cities’ nature-positive actions (through both NbS and land-sparing interventions) varies by sector, region and level of urbanization. NbS for infrastructure are best applied to water supply, pollution and climate adaptation and mitigation projects, and are most effective for cities in Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

7. Shifting to a systems approach to urban governance is one of three key conditions to cities achieving the BiodiverCities vision and capturing these opportunities.

8. Re-integrating local ecosystems in the urban planning process is a condition to realizing the BiodiverCities vision. It entails preserving existing natural habitats, re-naturing degraded or sub-optimized land and “growing smart” with new or upgraded infrastructure.

9. Increased investment in natural capital unlocks the benefits of NbS for infrastructure and should be further incentivized.

Experts consulted for the formulation of the Report include chairs of the Global Commission on BiodiverCities by 2030 Lena Chan, Senior Director, International Biodiversity Conservation, National Parks Board, Singapore and Mauricio Rodas Espinel, Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania. Special Envoy of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, (CVF) Presidency of Bangladesh, Md. Abul Kalam Azad has also actively contributed to the development of the report, including Adriana Lobo of WRI, Aziza Akhmouch OECD and many more.

The CVF Presidency along with the newly formed Society of Experts on Environment Development (SEED) will actively engage in dissemination of the report as well as active contribution in integrating nature-positive pathways towards building a more resilient urban landscape and future.