Cities and Biodiversity Outlook
The 4 October 2014 marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the open access book "Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – Challenges and Opportunities", published by Springer and part of the UN initiated Cities and Biodiversity Outlook (CBO) project.
The CBO was headed by Stockholm Resilience Centre together with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), scientifically edited by centre researcher Thomas Elmqvist and coordinated by Julie Goodness and Maria Schewenius.
Since the launch, the book has been downloaded more than 145,000 times and has within only nine months become one of the 30 most downloaded books in the Springer collection, which includes more than 170,000 titles.
It is now the fifth most downloaded book in Springer’s Life Sciences series. The geographical distribution include downloads in more than 100 countries.
Answering the call
The CBO project began as a request from the 193 nations present at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Conference of the Parties in 2010 (CBD COP 10) in Nagoya, Japan.
The request reads: “…to prepare an assessment of the links and opportunities between urbanization and biodiversity for the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, based on the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook”.
The CBO project ultimately grew to involve more than 200 people and span over two years, producing the world’s first comprehensive scientific assessment of global urbanization trends.
"We were delighted to have co-hosted the launch of the CBO last year. This assessment has given center stage to some extremely important new data, including on changes in global urban land cover," says Andrew Rudd, Urban Environment Officer at the Urban Planning and Design branch at UN-Habitat.
"Consequently, governments have been able to understand better the direct and quantifiable links between urbanization and the environment. Over the past year this has also helped galvanize support for an explicitly urban dimension in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Bravo to all the authors of this timely assessment!"
A useful read
Over the year since its launch, the CBO has featured in many of the discussions on cities and biodiversity by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
"The CBO's efforts to quantify and draw attention to the challenges and solutions associated with current patterns of urbanization are welcomed in a decision on ‘Engagement with subnational and local governments’, that will be proposed for adoption at the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties this month in Korea," says Andre Mader, the Programme Officer for Local Authorities and Biodiversity at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
"The decision that will be proposed also encourages a broad dissemination and use of the CBO. The impressive number of downloads shows a recognition of the usefulness of this ground-breaking publication. Congratulations and thanks are due to the authors and editors" he continues.
A world wide web indeed
The website www.cbobook.org has reached a global audience of people from 139 countries and 2043 cities. The CBO video, An Urbanizing Planet, has been presented at conferences and events around the world, for example opening the Renaturing Cities conference held in Brussels, October 2014, organized by the European Commission.
The original English version of the video, narrated by Hollywood actor Edward Norton, has been translated to Chinese and Hindi, and has been viewed more than 18,000 times.
The CBO project has contributed to highlighting the importance of urban areas and understanding the linkages to ecosystems and biodiversity. Recent progress include the urban focus within the negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals, and support for the urban research agenda emerging within new global sustainability science platform Future Earth.
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