As the world turns increasingly urban, with more than five billion people projected to live in cities by 2030, it is becoming increasingly recognised that cities are important role players in halting global biodiversity loss.
Part of the problem, but also the solution
Resilience researchers have long argued that increased urbanization, although riddled with increasing uncertainty, represent an opportunity for change. This is because big cities are hubs for knowledge and innovation. It is also considered to be crucial for biodiversity conservation.
The City Biodiversity Summit 2010 will be held concurrently with the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10) for three days from October 24 to 26 of 2010.
The City Biodiversity Summit will conclude with a declaration on local authorities and biodiversity. The declaration, which appeals to the international community as a whole and the CBD Parties in particular, is drafted with the help of centre researcher Thomas Elmqvist.
The declaration recognises that "the rapid spread of urbanisation is one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss" but it also argues that cities are part of the solution.
- Local governments provide many services that affect biodiversity both positively and negatively. Public procurement is one such example. When combined, these influences can exert great power toward the conservation and the recovery of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the declaration states.
Integrating biodiversity preservation into urban planning
The declaration states that cities and local authorities can help implement the objectives of the Rio Conventions and work to manage ecosystems as part of a city's infrastructure and manage landscapes through an ecosystem approach.
The ecosystem approach is based on the importance of preserving the structure, function and resilience of an ecosystem through a management structure that matches the scale of the ecosystem.
The cities further pledges to participate in and support global or regional networks of cities and local authorities with common missions related to biodiversity such as the ICLEI and IUCN's LAB programme, the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities and others.
See video interview with Ann Kinzing, associate professor of Arizona State University, on the challenges and opportunities in turning urban systems more sustainable:
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