World Migratory Bird Day | Submissions from cities

Mexico City, Mexico

In Mexico City, it is possible to observe 356 species of native birds, of which 47 species are in some local or international risk category. Of the total diversity, 120 species are resident. However, a large number of birds migrate or transit from North America to spend the winter, as the city is part of the central flyway, one of the four main routes. Due to this, it is possible to observe 235 species of birds that are in a migration category and that maintain resident populations in the city and also, 121 species that are exclusively migratory.

Migratory birds can find in Mexico City a variety of ecosystems such as forests, scrublands, wetlands and natural grasslands, as well as urban green areas where they can take refuge for several months and then return to their breeding areas. These natural ecosystems are protected in a System of Natural Protected Areas and of Environmental Value Areas, a Ramsar Site, two Important Bird Conservation Areas (IBA) and a complex network of urban green areas.

The Ministry of the Environment develops different activities to provide quality habitat where they can find places of refuge and resupply of food and water, so that they can survive and continue their trips. Hard work has been done restoring natural ecosystems and green infrastructure, establishing 44 million trees and other plants, as well as restoring more than 30 kilometers of rivers. In addition, community brigades are in charge of fire prevention and response, and the removal of waste and invasive plants. These activities are very important for the conservation of natural ecosystems and specifically for wetlands, since the water lily (Eichhornia crassipes) invades until it completely covers them, preventing the arrival of birds by perceiving it from the sky as a green area and not like a body of water.

Due to the lake origin of the city, 34 new wetlands (31.09 hectares) have been created and 722 hectares of these ecosystems have been restored, mainly in Xochimilco and Tláhuac, where the arrival of up to 220 species of birds has been recorded. Additionally, the Bird Beach has been created in the San Juan de Aragón Forest, which is visited by 192 species of birds.

30 million plants have been incorporated into conservation land and 14 million into urban land of 80 species, many pollinated by insects. More than 1,000 pollinator gardens and insect hotels have also been created, in collaboration with 979 trained women and community brigades, which represent a valuable source of resources for nectarivorous and insectivorous birds. This has been complemented by the promotion of agroecological practices in more than 12 thousand hectares and the recovery of 1 million square meters of chinampas, with the participation of more than 40 thousand people from ejidos and communities that inhabit these territories.

The biodiversity monitoring program developed by community brigades allows us to learn about the species that make use of green spaces, integrating citizens in bird watching and nature photography tours and other conservation activities. Thanks to the participation and interest of citizens in the care of urban wildlife, new species and large flocks have been registered.

Definitely, the birds that have surprised citizens the most are the American White Pelican, Wilson’s Phalarope and the Belted Kingfisher observed in wetlands and the flocks of Cedar Waxwing on urban land. Among the most charismatic insectivorous species are the Canada Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Black-and-White Warbler and others.

Further reading

City Government of Puerto Princesa, Philippines

The City Government of Puerto Princesa initiatives thru the office of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO):

 

Protected Biodiversity Areas

As the only Highly Urbanized City in the entire region of MIMAROPA, The City Government of Puerto Princesa find it critical to establish protected areas and other biodiversity reserves such as the Palawan Flora, Fauna, and Watershed Reserve (PFFWR), Magarwak Nature Research and Ecological Park (MNREP), Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat (CNCH) and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) that help maintain natural ecosystems and support its community thru its ecosystem benefits. These areas harbor a rich diversity of flora and fauna, rivers, crees and streams, including endangered and threatened species, and serve as an important refuge for wildlife, including migratory birds. Protected areas serve as critical stopover sites where migratory birds can rest, refuel and replenish their energy reserves during long-distance migrations. These areas provide abundant food resources, safe roosting places, breeding grounds, and suitable habitat conditions for birds to recover from the ordeals of their flight during migration. By protecting these areas, Puerto Princesa ensures that migratory birds have suitable stop-over (resting) and nesting sites where they can “feed and rest” during their journeys.

 

Coastal Area Maintenance

Activities like mangrove planting through the “Love Affair with Nature” and CGPP’s Bays Conservation through coastal clean-up initiatives under “Save the Bays”, now on its 9th episode, contribute to the health of coastal ecosystems. Mangroves and bays are critical habitats for insects, numerous marine living things and other small organisms that form the base of the food chain. Puerto Princesa boasts a sprawling coastline spanning 416 kilometers, showcasing a rich diversity of landscapes. Additionally, the mangrove areas within the city cover a total expanse of 6,281 hectares. By maintaining these coastal ecosystems, Puerto Princesa City supports the availability of insects, which in turn supports migratory birds that feed on them.

Love Affair with Nature under City Ordinance No. 287, passed on December 26, 2005, is one of the City Government of Puerto Princesa’s local policy that is focused on rehabilitating and enhancing coastal area management. The said ordinance declared every 14th of February a yearly activity were the large City community participate in mangrove planting. Dubbed and institutionalized as “Love Affair with Nature”, it expanded Valentine’s Day’s expression of love from the customary person-to-person and added a concern to protect mother nature and as a continuing call to ensure the protection and sustainable use of the natural resources. The event heightens awareness of the people on the ecological role of mangroves and other coastal ecosystems in the vital web of life, (Hon. Feliberto S. Oliveros III, December 26, 2005, City Ordinance No. 287 of the 11th Session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Puerto Princesa).

 

Establishment of Nurseries for (Endemic/Local) Forest Tree Species

Establishing nurseries for (endemic) forest tree species and fruit tress not only supports reforestation but also enhances the biodiversity of the locality. Trees provide a natural habitat for a variety of insects, creating a conducive environment for their reproduction and survival. As these forests grow and mature, they become attractive destinations for migratory birds, providing food and shelter. The maintenance of these nurseries provides support to our continuing efforts to reforest denuded areas, bolster private reforestation endeavors and help in providing accomplishment of the exacted Corporate Social Responsibility of our business community. The game plan is to provide these seedlings for free.

Reforestation efforts in Puerto Princesa City is already institutionalized as early as the year 1991 and celebrated annually thru an event called “Pista Y ang Cagueban” (Feast of the Forest) This yearly activity helped restore degraded areas, providing habitats for countless species of plants, animals, insects, fungi, and microorganisms. The efforts help restore and expand habitat for various species of endemic flora and fauna, promoting biodiversity conservation and supporting ecosystem resilience. This activity culminates the consciousness of the City’s inhabitants and a reminder of their responsiblity to help the Government restore its natural forest. City Ordinance No.216 formalized this activity and its annual observance.    

 

Avian Fauna Assessment in Protected Areas and Wetlands.

Given that birds are good barometer of a healthy environment, henceforth, the City Government of Puerto Princesa thru the Office of the City ENRO, essentially focuses on the conduct of periodic annual bird assessment to provide us key information, and data of these avian species to help us understand their role in our ecosystem. The information provided by this activity inculcate in our consciousness the importance of conserving avian fauna biodiversity, maintaining a balanced and healthy ecosystem, and sustaining the benefits that birds provide to society. Bird assessment involves evaluating the status, abundance, distribution, and trends of the bird population. Assessing bird populations such as migratory birds help prioritize conservation efforts by identifying bird species at risk of decline, also, monitoring bird populations provides insight into the overall condition of an ecosystem.

We made an extra step forward by embracing avian eco-tourism in the City to support our local bird assessment effort. We initiated in partnership with the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) the PPUR International Bird Photography Race in November 2015 and is still proceeding up to this year. This annual assessment event under the auspices of an eco-tourism activity, provided us records of both endemic and migratory birds. Data of migratory birds during this activity include rare and first country records. Additionally, the PPUR-IBPR contributes to the local circular economy of the City.

We participate in the annual Asian Waterbird Census with the National Government thru the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). City ENRO’s participation in these monitoring efforts contributes to the broader conservation goals and supports the establishment of key areas for migratory birds such as the Snake Island found in Honda Bay of Puerto Princesa City. Regular monitoring of migratory bird populations helps assess the health of habitats and identify the need for conservation efforts to preserve biodiversity. This data is crucial for understanding their migratory patterns, identifying threats, and implementing effective conservation strategies.

 

Environmental enforcement

The City Government of Puerto Princesa have invested in the field of enforcement. placed under the Office of the City ENRO are the Bantay Gubat (Forest Guardians), Bantay Dagat (Sea Guardians) and Bantay Bakawan (Mangrove Guardians). They are the government arm to impliment and impose obedience to the various environmental laws of the Republic and local policies. Their activities include the deterrent of wildlife trafficking, IEC and cooperation with local partners and the community.

Collaboration with Key Agencies: Working with organizations like DENR and PCSD/S promotes collaboration and the sharing of resources. It promotes a unified approach to bird conservation by combining expertise and data from various stakeholders. Through this collaboration, the following benefits are achieved:

  • Comprehensive Data Collection: Agencies often have more extensive resources and a broader reach, allowing for more thorough data collection and analysis. Our participation helps strengthen this collaborative network.
  • Policy and Regulation Support: Information gathered from monitoring activities informs government policies and regulations related to migratory birds. This collaboration can lead to better enforcement of conservation laws and regulations.
  • Public Awareness and Education: Joint monitoring efforts often include outreach to local communities, and raising awareness about the importance of migratory birds and their conservation. Our involvement helps educate others and promote a culture of conservation.

Contributing to Conservation Outcomes: It is our objective to directly contribute to the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. We are exerting efforts to work with other key partners and support local as well as global community to broaden our environmental objectives, enhance our capability and approach in biodiversity preservation, and widen our understanding of ecosystem health, and the sustainability of natural resources. The current effort of the City ENRO is the establishment of a new RAMSAR site within urban district. We are excited to pursue this project in collaboration with our local and international partners.

Cascais Municipality, Portugal

Cascais Municipality is located on Portuguese coastline, bordered by the Sintra mountains at the north side, and the Atlantic Ocean in the west and south sides. A large portion of municipality, over 28% of territory (2641ha), is inserted in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and is part of Natura 2000 Network (Sintra/Cascais SCI PTCON0008), a protected area that extends from the coast to the mountains and interior plateau, with several different habitats present, including heathlands, mixed oak and pine forests, mediterranean matorral, dry grasslands rich in orchids, riparian forests and humid tall grasses, sand dunes and costal cliffs and reefs. Ecological network also includes small rivers inside urban areas, urban parks and peri-urban rural areas, as well as a local coastal protected marine area (AMPA). In addition, Cabo Raso Marine Site (PTZPE0061) is located along Cascais coastline and is an important feeding area for pelagic and coastal birds. All these natural areas provide stopover sites for several species during their spring and post breeding migrations. Over 130 migratory bird species have been recorded in Cascais, and around 40 migratory species recorded in Cascais municipality are insectivorous.

Cascais Ambiente is the municipal company for waste management, urban cleaning and ecological infrastructure management, and has been carrying out major efforts for keeping and improving city health, environment, natural resources and quality of life. Among many projects, several actions have been helping to preserve and improve birds and insects habitats and food sources, directly and indirectly.

Habitats management, ecological restoration and adaptation to climate change
Cascais Ambiente is responsible for managing and restoring several areas within Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Quinta do Pisão, a visitation area rich in biodiversity has been actively managed and restored, acting as a pilot area with successful practices expected to be replicated into more areas. It is already possible to see the effects of these practices, as Quinta do Pisão supports highly diverse insect and bird populations, with over 90 bird species recorded during annual monitoring. Recently, Cascais Ambiente started a new project, LIFE ResLand, aiming to adapt natural park and rural peri-urban landscape to climate change, with actions focused on building resilience to wildfires and to improve and restore ecosystems. Major actions being implemented that are expected to promote biodiversity include:

  • Implementation of natural grazing and rewilding practices using roe deer, and native semi-feral breeds of sheep, donkey and horses to manage shrub vegetation, for
    decreasing fuel load and wildfire risk, while increasing vegetation
    diversity and complexity, increasing resources and attracting more insects and birds.
  • Sustainable management and restoration of native forests, riparian forests, and ponds, enhancing their ecological services and increasing the availability of natural habitats and food resources for other animals.
  • Monitoring of birds, pollinators and other biodiversity groups, as ecological indicators for assessing progress of the actions.
  • Work with local community and property owners for future replication of actions in private land.

Other habitat management actions include:

  • Implementation of nature-based solutions for forest pest management (ex.: Spongy moth) such as installation of bird nest boxes and bat shelters to attract natural predators, with high occupation rates over the years.
  • Implementation of cover crops in habitat and pasture edges for increasing food resources and for providing shelter for animals.

Raising awareness and involving the community for nature conservation
Cascais Ambiente has also been caring out extensive work with schools and local communities. Some examples of actions helping to preserve bird and insect habitats and increase awareness for their importance include:

  • Community and youth involvement in several environmental volunteering programs for conservation of forests, sea and coastal habitats (Oxigénio, Natura Observa, + Mar), and main activities are plantation of native trees and shrubs, manual removal of invasive plants, collecting garbage from small rivers and coastline, and construction of insect hotels and nest boxes for birds.
  • Educational projects at local schools and urban green spaces, such as Cascais BioUrbe project, that aim to raise awareness about biodiversity and ecosystem services, to improve local biodiversity and increase knowledge, with installation of nest boxes, bat shelters and insect hotels, among other actions.
  • Implementation of organic community gardens.

Opinion piece by Gareth Presch, CEO, World Health Innovation Summit

Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. The impacts are already harming health through air pollution, disease, extreme weather events, forced displacement, food insecurity and pressures on mental health. Every year, environmental factors take the lives of around 13 million people. Over 90% of people breathe unhealthy levels of air pollution, largely resulting from burning fossil fuels driving climate change. This is a major problem, especially in urban areas. In 2018, air pollution from fossil fuels caused $2.9 trillion in health and economic costs, about $8 billion a day.

Nature and Health Opportunities

The potential of urban green and blue spaces to generate better health and well-being is clear. Countries around the world are adopting Green Social Prescribing. Green social prescribing is the practice of supporting people to engage in nature-based interventions and activities to improve their mental and physical health. Green social prescribing includes both what is known as green and blue activities. These could include local walking schemes, community gardening projects, conservation volunteering, green gyms, open water swimming or arts and cultural activities which take place outdoors. These activities may be ‘prescribed’ by link workers (and other trusted professionals) alongside other forms of support, for example, referrals to support housing or finances – based on the needs and circumstances of each individual (Global Social Prescribing Alliance).

Image: Nature and Health at COP28

There are numerous known benefits associated with increased exposure to urban nature. This includes health and well-being benefits, such as:

Physical health

e.g. directly, through reduced air pollution and cooling effects, or indirectly, through increased opportunities for physical activity

Mental health and well-being

e.g. stress relief or reducing harms such as noise

Social, cultural and spiritual benefits

e.g. support of urban nature for social contact and cohesion

Education, heritage and creativity

Finland is leading the way with clean cities and towns based on the recent  2023 World Air Quality Report by IQAir. Indeed, the towns of Sodankylä, Utsjoki and Kuusamo in Finland came out as being the least polluted in the world compared with more than 7,800 different places world wide. The concentrations of small particles in the air were measured in 134 different countries and regions in 2023. According to the report, only seven countries fell below the air quality recommendations set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the concentration of fine particles. According to the organization, the annual average value of small particles in the air should be less than 5 micrograms per cubic meter. In addition to Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius and Grenada fell below the limit. In a comparison of over a hundred capital cities, Helsinki ranked in the top ten in terms of air quality, but even fewer fine particles were measured in the air of the capital cities of Estonia, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand, for example. The most polluted air was in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. The most polluted capital cities were Delhi in India and Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Ninety-nine percent of the world’s population breathes air that does not meet the limit values ​​set by the WHO and can be harmful to health and air pollution causes seven million premature deaths every year.

With 55% of the world’s population living in urban areas and an additional 52.5 billion urban residents expected in the next 30 years, and with 65% of SDG targets being relevant to cities, it’s no surprise the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities

A healthy, thriving natural environment is vital for creating resilient urban places. Cities were on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN’s Report on COVID-19 in an Urban World (2020) noted that 90% of reported cases at that time were in urban areas. While urban density was found not in itself to be a decisive factor in the transmission of the virus,  inequality, inadequate housing, strained health systems, inadequate water and sanitation services and pollution made certain urban areas vulnerable. The pandemic calls for a renewed emphasis on a just and green urban transition, and a renewed focus on addressing inequalities in cities and by promoting nature in cities we can see benefits for citizens.

Image reference: Lancet Planetary

The climate crisis urgently calls to accelerate the shift towards renewable sources of energy. The way cities are planned and managed has a profound impact on energy demand which impacts our health and nature. Compact, well-planned and managed cities, with non-motorised mobility options, green public spaces and natural cooling/temperature regulation measures tend to have below national levels of energy consumption. These transitions will support our health and well-being.

Compact, well-planned and managed cities, with non-motorised mobility options, green public spaces and natural cooling/temperature regulation measures tend to have below national levels of energy consumption.

Financing Nature and Health

As health becomes far more important in determining investment we understand that when health is compromised so is our economic growth. At the Annual Investment  Global Conference 2023 (ref: AIM Report) in Abu Dhabi last year I ran a workshop for the World Association of Investment and Promotional Agencies highlighting the opportunities to invest wisely in health and wellbeing which would deliver long-term economic returns. This was followed up by the COP28 declaration “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” which calls on the health/public sector to support the SDGs with a 1% commitment from the sector’s pension funds (WHS – not for profit fund).  We’re now seeing these new models of healthcare that are focused on the environment and nature ultimately preventing disease while supporting economic growth (New WHIS ESG – Health, Climate Place Based Impact Model). As a result, new opportunities are emerging through partnership working – the establishment of Ecogreen Green Capital (African Focused – Great Green Wall of Africa Foundation) at COP28 and a new fund with the Commonwealth Pacific Climate Fund that will support the Commonwealth’s Small Island Development States for example. 

We must plan and manage our cities in a way that simultaneously accelerates the achievement of SDGs and responds to global megatrends.

Cities must be healthy, sustainable and future-ready with nature at the heart of our plans.

Image: COP28 Declaration & Ecogreen Capital Launched

Kijani Pamoja – based in Tanzania – has joined CitiesWithNature as an official partner! Kijani Pamoja is a youth-led Pan-African re-greening movement to activate, inspire, and educate communities to regreen cities and urban spaces and care for the environment. CitiesWithNature and Kijani Pamoja will collaborate on developing and sharing practical guidance around tree planting – specifically creating Miyawaki forests – as well as awareness raising and advocacy around nature, biodiversity and Green Recovery.

Kijani Pamoja means “Green Together” and works to unite communities to become restoration leaders and key drivers of the movement. Their mission is to activate financial and human resources to engage communities to take action and plant trees and uber-dense indigenous “mini” forests (Miyawaki Forests) in cities across Africa.

In March 2022, in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland to Tanzania, Kijani Pomoja launched a 10-year urban re-greening movement that aims to plant millions of trees to create thousands of mini-forests across Dar es Salaam. This forms part of their efforts to reduce the country’s largest commercial city’s vulnerability to climate change.

Image gallery

Story and photo credit: John Namkwahe, Communication Lead at Kijani Pamoja

 

Dar es Salaam is estimated to lose about 10% of its trees annually according to IINTERACT-Bio’s 2019 study titled “A Thematic Atlas of Nature’s Benefits to Dar es Salaam”. The study further indicates that by 2040, Dar es Salaam will frequently experience temperatures above 36°C and therefore recommends that tree planting efforts are intensified.

A similar urban re-greening campaign was also launched in Zanzibar on 22 March, implemented by Kijani Pamoja partners to further promote the climate action agenda in the isles. The launch event brought together a number of environmental stakeholders from public entities, private institutions and development partners including embassies to Tanzania.

As a partner organization to CitiesWithNature, Kijani Pamoja aims to address some of the environmental challenges faced by other towns and cities across Tanzania and East African Community (EAC) Member States such as Kenya and Uganda in the near future.

“Protecting and enhancing urban green spaces provides huge benefits to one of Africa’s fastest growing cities. Growing and caring for trees encourages active community participation and improves the mental and physical health of people living in our cities” said Ms. Sarah Scott, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of the Kijani Pamoja Movement during the organization’s launch in March. Moreover, she appealed to the Tanzanian government, global donor community, private sector, and local communities to join hands and work together to eliminate the existing environmental challenges in the country.

The Tanzanian Government and environmental stakeholders operating in Tanzania including the Embassies and private sector institutions have pledged to support the Movement. In support of the movement, Ms. Jokate Mwegelo – a District Commissioner for Temeke, who officiated the movement launch on behalf of Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Mr. Amos Makala – said, “I am encouraged by the Kijani Pamoja mission and movement to engage various stakeholders plus communities in our country to plant trees and make our cities more livable and sustainable for the future”. She added: “We are all responsible for conserving nature for the betterment of our planet. The Government of Tanzania plays its part to conserve the environment by preserving forests and supporting environmental conservation initiatives in the country”.

The Irish Deputy Head of Mission, Ms. Mags Gaynor, emphasized the crucial role of forests in addressing climate change and protecting our planet. She added that, “Climate action is a diplomatic and development priority for Ireland. Therefore, Ireland is happy to support Kijani Pamoja in this initiative that will contribute to increasing urban forest conservation, mobilizing stakeholders, and inspiring youth to be at a forefront of the movement”.

Light pollution and its impact on migratory birds is the focus of World Migratory Bird Day 2022, a global campaign that aims to raise awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. Activities to mark the day will be held globally under the theme “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night”.

Light pollution is increasing around the globe. More than 80 per cent of the world’s population is currently estimated to live under a “lit sky”, a figure closer to 99 per cent in Europe and North America. The amount of artificial light on the Earth’s surface is increasing by at least 2 per cent each year and could be much greater.

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Natural darkness has a conservation value in the same way as clean water, air, and soil.

A key goal of World Migratory Bird Day 2022 is to raise awareness of the issue of light pollution and its negative impacts on migratory birds.

Solutions are readily available, and we hope to encourage key decision-makers to adopt measures to address light pollution.

Light pollution is a significant and growing threat to wildlife including many species of migratory birds. Every year, light pollution contributes to the death of millions of birds. It alters the natural patterns of light and dark in ecosystems. It can change birds’ migration patterns, foraging behaviours, and vocal communication. Attracted by artificial light at night, particularly when there is low cloud, fog, rain or when flying at lower altitudes, migrating birds become disorientated and may end up circling in illuminated areas. Depleted energy reserves put them at risk of exhaustion, predation, and fatal collision with buildings.

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An enormous diversity of birds, active at night, experience the impacts of light pollution.

Many nocturnally migrating birds such as ducks, geese, plovers, sandpipers and songbirds are affected by light pollution causing disorientation and collisions with fatal consequences.

Seabirds such as petrels and shearwaters are attracted by artificial lights on land and become prey for rats and cats.

Solutions and recommendations to mitigate light pollution

Guidelines on light pollution covering marine turtles, seabirds, and migratory shorebirds were endorsed by the CMS Parties in 2020. Among their recommendations, the guidelines set forth six principles of best lighting practices and call for Environmental Impact Assessments for relevant projects that could result in light pollution. These should consider the main sources of light pollution at a certain site, the likely wild species that could be impacted, and facts about proximity to important habitats and migratory pathways.

New guidelines focusing on migratory landbirds and bats are currently being developed under CMS. They will be presented to CMS Parties for adoption at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS in 2023.

Numerous governments, cities, companies, and communities around the world are already taking steps to address light pollution.

In some cities, particularly in North America, initiatives such as “Lights Out” programmes and bird-friendly building guidelines aim to protect migrating birds from light pollution by encouraging building owners and managers to turn off any unnecessary lighting during migration periods.

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World Migratory Bird Day is a call to action for international migratory bird conservation.

As migratory birds’ journey across borders, inspiring and connecting people along the way, it is our aim to use the two days in 2022 to raise awareness of the threat of light pollution and the importance of dark skies to bird migrations.

More information

About World Migratory Bird Day

World Migratory Bird Day, celebrated in both May and October each year, is organized by a collaborative partnership among two UN wildlife treaties – the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds

(AEWA) – and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA). The 2022 campaign is also being actively supported by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat, BirdLife International and a growing number of other dedicated organizations. World Migratory Bird Day highlights the importance of international cooperation for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. For the peak day in May, more than 200 registered events in over 30 countries to mark World Migratory Bird Day 2022 will include bird festivals, education programmes, media events, bird watching trips, presentations, film screenings and a benefit concert to raise funds for international nature conservation.

These events are hosted by governments, parks, schools, libraries, and numerous other groups and range from bird walks to educational workshops and festivals. Some events are offered virtually.

In the Americas, upcoming virtual events include an expert-led webinar on bird migration hosted by the National Audubon Society and a conversation with bird-glass collision researcher and author Daniel Klem Jr. hosted by Environment for the Americas on May 12th. There will be a virtual art activity and reading of the children’s book What if Night? with author Paul Bogard and illustrator Sarah Holden on May 13th.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) established a special WMBD Small Grant Fund to provide financial support to EAAFP Partners and collaborators to raise awareness on the need of conserving migratory waterbirds and the value of their habitats in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway. The EAAFP also published a special newsletter to mark World Migratory Bird Day 2022.

Why celebrate World Migratory Bird Day on two days?

Traditionally observed on the second Saturday of May and October, the two celebrations of World Migratory Bird Day are a way to reflect the cyclical nature of bird migration as well as the fact that there are varying peak migration periods in the northern and southern hemispheres. The two-day observance of World Migratory Bird Day also gives more people the chance to celebrate and contemplate migratory birds during peak migration times in different parts of the world.
www.worldmigratorybirdday.org

About the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

An environmental treaty of the United Nations, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. This unique treaty brings governments and wildlife experts together to address the conservation needs of terrestrial, aquatic, and avian migratory species and their habitats around the world. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1979, its membership has grown steadily to include 133 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
www.cms.int @bonnconvention

About the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)

The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds that migrate along the African-Eurasian Flyway. The Agreement covers 255 species of bird ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle. The treaty covers 119 range States from Europe, parts of Asia and Canada, the Middle East and Africa. As of today, AEWA currently has 82 Parties, 44 from Eurasia (including the European Union) and 38 from Africa.
www.unep-aewa.org @UNEP_AEWA

Environment for the Americas (EFTA)

EFTA is a Colorado-based non-profit organization that provides bilingual educational materials and information about birds and bird conservation to raise awareness of migratory birds and to promote actions that protect migratory birds throughout the Americas.
https://www.environmentamericas.org/

Related links:

CMS COP13 Resolutions and Decisions on Addressing Light Pollution:

To implement nature-based solutions successfully in urban areas we need smart policies and effective ways of working together with many different stakeholders. The Urban Nature Atlas is a great place to learn from various nature-based solutions that cities have already implemented. Take a look at this database developed by CitiesWithNature partner organisation Naturvation below. 

But what policy instruments can we use in cities to encourage nature-based solutions such as ecosystem restoration or sustainable urban drainage systems? A new database, the Urban Governance Atlas, will provide proven policy instruments. They are inviting people to nominate policy instruments that could be included in the database until 30 June:

The Urban Governance Atlas (UGA) will be an interactive online database of around 250 good practice policy instruments that support the use of nature-based solutions (NBS) for urban ecosystem restoration and more inclusive green space planning. The first database of its kind, the UGA will allow users to explore a different kinds of policy instruments being applied across the world, especially those coming from countries in the EU and Latin America. By focusing on instruments that have been proven to work well, the UGA will support cities to become greener and more inclusive and serve as a resource for civil society, the scientific community, and wider audiences.

In addition to serving as a resource, the UGA provides an opportunity for you to share your knowledge and be part of a global community working on NBS. By helping us to fill in the UGA, your organization or project logo can also be featured on the website! Sound interesting?

  1. Nominate policy instruments for us to include in the database (email these to mckenna.davis@ecologic.eu); and
  2. Fill out a short questionnaire per instrument (for more information, visit our informational page and watch our short introductory video)

For any questions, please contact mckenna.davis@ecologic.eu. Thank you for your support and we look forward to hearing from you!

Nominations and inputs are welcome until  30 June 2022.

Source: https://oppla.eu/urban-governance-atlas-call-contributions

What's in a name?

Speaking of nature-based solutions, what exactly are they? Definitions matter and there has been a fair amount of debate about how nature-based solutions should be defined. At the UN Environment Assembly earlier this year, the following definition was adopted:

Nature-based solutions are ‘actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, which address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services and resilience and biodiversity benefits.’

Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by DLKR on Unsplash

CitiesWithNature offers the latest NbS tools & resources

The Tools & Resources Hub on the CitiesWithNature platform provides easy access to a wide range of reliable resources and cutting-edge tools on nature-based solutions. All in one place, and for free.

Montréal in Canada is leading the way by weaving nature into its urban fabric. The city, which hosts the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), works on various initiatives to protect ecosystems, promote nature in the city and encourage residents to take part in local initiatives, as part of the city’s ecological transition. 

Not only was Montréal among the pioneer cities to join CitiesWithNature, the CitiesWithNature initiative was launched in Montréal in 2018 at the ICLEI World Congress by the founding partners ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Montréal’s city profile on CitiesWithNature, introduces the city’s considerable nature initiatives and key policies, plans and projects that they have shared on their Nature Pathway.

One of these initiatives is Montréal’s shiny new insectarium that aims to connect people with nature through an innovative approach. The insectarium is the first museum in North America that provides people the opportunity to get up close to living insects as they move around freely in immersive habitats. Montréal’s Mayor, Valerie Plante, recently opened the redesigned space.

One of the iconic insects featured at the insectarium is the monarch butterfly. This eye-catching species is renowned for its long-distance migration from Canada through the USA to Mexico. Given this migration pattern, the local actions of cities and citizens matter on a global level: protecting the monarch’s habitat and its food plants throughout North America is essential for the survival of this species.

Similarly, another leading CitiesWithNature city, San Antonio in Texas, planted the North American Friendship Garden in collaboration with counterparts from Mexico and Canada. This garden includes a pollinator garden to provide a sanctuary for monarch butterflies during their international migration. Read more about this inspiring initiative.

Photos by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Here on the CitiesWithNature platform, over 200 cities from around the world are connecting, sharing their experiences and actions, and benefiting from access to a range of partner organisations and practical tools.

CitiesWithNature enables local governments and their partners to:

Showcase their city’s actions and plans, understand how they contribute to global nature goals and easily track their achievements on the Action Platform

Integrate nature throughout their city’s plans, policies and operations via the Nature Pathway

Access cutting-edge tools and resources on nature-based solutions, ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation on the Tools & Resources Hub

Get practical guidance on key topics such as resilience and catchment management via the Guides

Connect with other cities and leading international partner organisations

Share their city’s nature work with a global audience

Not yet part of CitiesWithNature? It’s easy and free to join. Watch this tutorial to see how to register your city and activate your account on CitiesWithNature:

Your City Profile is where you can showcase your city’s nature work and where all your activities on the platform are gathered.  The basic information that cities can upload on their City Profiles is a photo of the mayor, a short overview of the city, its natural features and biodiversity work, relevant social media channels, and some photos of natural areas and biodiversity initiatives that the city is proud of.

In addition to this standard information, cities use the Nature Pathway to share key documents such as their Environmental Strategy, Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, etc., to showcase their work and inspire other cities.

On the Tools and Resources Hub, cities can also share specific tools or resources such as guidelines, handbooks or case studies.

Lastly, cities can also post news updates, photos, videos or weblinks on their City Profiles.

Check out the inspiring profiles of these cities: Barcelona, Cape Town, Montreal, San Antonio TXBaia Mare and West Torrens in Adelaide

The Tools & Resources Hub on the CitiesWithNature platform provides easy access to a wide range of reliable resources and cutting-edge tools on nature-based solutions. All in one place, and for free. See what tools and resources we have on nature-based solutions. 

What is the Nature Pathway?
The Nature Pathway is a comprehensive roadmap that helps you to integrate nature throughout your city’s plans, policies and operations. It is based on a tried-and-tested ICLEI methodology and provides step-by-step guidance and tools for mainstreaming biodiversity in your city. On the Nature Pathway you will find useful examples of policies, plans, projects and tools from other cities and leading international organizations. You can also showcase your city’s own work and inspire others by uploading relevant documents as you progress along the Nature Pathway.

The new-look Nature Pathway features an intuitive interface, easy navigation and new functions. Keep an eye out for the new tutorial on the site, which explains all the different parts of the Nature Pathway.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter!
The CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature Buzz Newsletter is a monthly roundup of important news, events and new insights about what local and regional governments – and their partners – are doing to boost nature and benefit people.

Visit our sister platform, RegionsWithNature
Regional governments like provinces and states are uniquely positioned to promote nature-positive development at the landscape scale and across urban-rural linkages. RegionsWithNature will support regional government officials and other stakeholders to enhance ecosystem restoration, biodiversity conservation and nature-based solutions in their regions. Read more here.

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

Learn how participating cities can publish their nature and biodiversity commitments and progress on the CitiesWithNature Action Platform, share their journey with other cities, and use the Action Platform to generate reports and inform decision making in their own council and community.

Join leading Australian cities at this webinar hosted by ICLEI Oceania to learn more about their nature work and for a demonstration of the new CitiesWithNature Action Platform.

Wednesday 6 April at 4pm – 5:15pm AEST

Virtual Zoom Event

Register free here.

 

This webinar will demonstrate how to use the Platform and feature some updates from several cities in preparation for populating the Action Platform.

Speakers will include:
– Cr Amanda Stone, Councillor, Yarra City Council, Melbourne
– ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Centre
– Melbourne
– West Torrens
– Wollongong  

Sublime Point Lookout, Maddens Plains, near Wollongong, Australia. Image credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/0v7BeBsQhCY

Why should cities commit and take action for nature on the CitiesWithNature Action Platform?

CitiesWithNature Action Platform recognises the critical role cities play in protecting and restoring nature

Why do we need nature to make our cities more sustainable and resilient?

  • By 2050, two thirds of people will live in urban areas.
  • People depend on healthy ecosystems for food, livelihoods, health and wellbeing.
  • By integrating nature into our cities, we enhance community resilience to global challenges like climate change, and enable people and biodiversity to thrive.
  • There is a growing urgency for collective and large-scale action to protect the biodiversity in and around cities to prevent irreversible loss and damage to the natural systems we depend on.
  • Now more than ever, we must unite and embrace nature, reconnect communities with nature, and become CitiesWithNature! 

Why are the world’s biodiversity goals important for cities?

  • Through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD), countries commit to a new and ambitious blueprint, the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF), to guide actions for protecting nature and its vital contributions to people.     
  • The GBF has a whole-of-government approach and recognizes that cities and subnational governments are key to its successful implementation.
  • In the 2030 Action Targets, the GBF sets out clear targets for urgent actions we must take in the next decade, so that people may live in harmony with nature and thrive.

How can CitiesWithNature help cities to thrive with nature?

What contribution can cities make?

  • Cities are where most people live, where new ideas germinate, where most of the consumption that threatens nature takes place, and where many decisions are made, reaching far beyond the city limits.
  • Local and subnational governments have direct contact with the people who live in their cities, allowing for more concrete and strategic action on the ground.
  • Local and subnational governments have the power to integrate nature into the way cities work.
  • They can do this through policy reform, advocacy, investment, and on-the-ground interventions.
  • They can do this for land use and urban development planning; infrastructure development and maintenance; management of consumption including agriculture, water and industry; resource mobilization; and urban response to disasters and risks – ultimately improving health and wellbeing.
  •  2030 Action Targets, the GBF sets out clear targets for urgent actions we must take in the next decade, so that people may live in harmony with nature and thrive.

What is the Action Platform?

  • The CBD recognizes the CitiesWithNature Action Platform in its Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2021-2030 as the place where cities will monitor and report on their voluntary commitments to national and global biodiversity targets.
  • Through the Action Platform, cities can showcase their actions and plans, understand how they contribute to global nature goals and easily track their achievements.
  • The Action Platform translates the post 2020 global biodiversity framework into commitments that cities and regions are willing to make, taking specific actions under the commitments and setting targets for a particular action most relevant to the city’s local context.
  • It  has 3 action areas that align with the categories of the CBD 2030 Action Targets: to protect and restore nature; use nature sustainably; and develop tools and solutions.
  • , the GBF sets out clear targets for urgent actions we must take in the next decade, so that people may live in harmony with nature and thrive.

How cities can make their mark through the Action Platform

Level 1: Make a COMMITMENT

  • A city can show its commitment to take action on specific topics such as nature areas, recycling and access to parks.     
  • All commitments are voluntary but will contribute towards achieving global and national targets for protecting and restoring nature.
  • After making commitments, cities can move on to the next step: Taking specific actions and setting specific targets aligned with their local and regional context and priorities.

Level 2: Take specific ACTIONS to achieve a commitment

  • After making a particular commitment, a city can identify what actions they will take to achieve it.     
  • For example, after committing to “Protect, connect and restore ecosystems”, a city can specify how it will achieve this by taking actions such as “Increase protected areas” or “Restore degraded areas.”
  • These actions should align with the city’s biodiversity plans, policies and strategic direction, as well as subnational and national biodiversity strategies and action plans. 
  • They should be implemented at the city’s pace, considering capacity and resources.

Level 3: Set specific TARGETS to monitor progress

  • After making a commitment, and identifying the actions to be taken, cities can then set targets to track their progress. 
  • For each action, a city can set a specific target for what it wants to achieve by 2030. For example, “By 2030, protected areas will cover 4% of the city’s jurisdiction.”           
  • For each target, a city must also set a baseline. For example, “Currently protected areas cover 2% of the city’s jurisdiction.”

Linking the three levels of the Action Platform

  • Commitments, actions and targets are the three levels of the Action Platform geared to help you in your journey towards achieving sustainability goals. For example:
  • Commitment: Our city commits to protect, connect and restore ecosystems.     
  • Action: We will achieve this commitment by taking the action of increasing protected areas in our city.      
  • Target: By 2030, protected areas will cover 4% of the city.

Calling all cities to take action!

  • By using the Action Platform, cities can inspire each other and show the world what actions they are taking for nature and people. They can monitor and track their progress, and see how their actions compare with other cities in their country, region or continent. 
  • The Action Platform also helps cities to gather information to feed into their countries’ National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. This helps their countries to achieve national priorities and simplify their reporting to the UN CBD.
  • Join CitiesWithNature and use the Action Platform to unite with other cities around the world – to ensure healthier, happier and safer cities for a nature-positive future.

CitiesWithNature Action Platform launch on Earth Hour 2022: Support from partners

CitiesWithNature Action Platform launch on Earth Hour 2022: Support from leaders

CitiesWithNature Action Platform recognizes the critical role cities play in protecting and restoring nature

The new CitiesWithNature Action Platform will accelerate bold action for nature by enabling cities to make voluntary commitments that contribute towards achieving global and national biodiversity targets.

By joining CitiesWithNature and using the Action Platform, cities become part of a global community of like-minded frontrunner cities, increasing collective action and cumulative positive impacts for people and the planet. They inspire and prompt other cities to take action, learn from each other, receive international recognition for their contributions and successes, and build the case for scaling up projects and attracting funding for nature.

These commitments also contribute to a global Action Agenda under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in support of the forthcoming post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The connection to the Sharm El Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People elevates commitments from cities and non-state actors to reduce the drivers of biodiversity loss and advance positive socio-economic and ecological outcomes.

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Cities and subnational governments are key to the successful implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and I applaud our active collaboration in connecting the CitiesWithNature Action Platform as an engagement channel to raise awareness and mobilize cities’ commitments worldwide into the Sharm El Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People.

We welcome the opening of the CitiesWithNature Action Platform, which is recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity in the draft Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2021-2030), as the place where cities will monitor and report on their voluntary commitments to national and global biodiversity targets.

Only a whole-of-government approach will ensure the urgent change needed to secure a sustainable future for all!

While the nations of the world gather in Geneva to advance the text for an ambitious and transformative post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to safeguard nature, large and small cities around the world are encouraged to share their actions on the CitiesWithNature Action Platform. It is envisaged that this will be just as influential as the climate actions of cities, which have been shared via global climate reporting platforms for many years.

The CitiesWithNature Action Platform is aligned with the 2030 Action Targets in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and makes it easy for cities to share their commitments, set their own targets, track their progress, and see how their actions compare with other cities in their country, and globally. It also helps cities gather information on how they contribute to their countries’ National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and can support national reporting to the UN CBD.

With more than 80% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) generated in cities and more than half of global GDP estimated to be dependent on nature, it is clear that cities have a critical role to play in ensuring nature is restored and protected. Local and subnational governments have the power to integrate nature into the way cities work, through policy reform, advocacy and on-the-ground interventions. Topics covered by the Action Platform include everything from nature-based solutions, ecosystem restoration and conservation, to biodiversity mainstreaming, financing and circular economy.

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By joining CitiesWithNature and using the Action Platform, cities across the world can commit ambitious actions that contribute to national and global biodiversity and nature goals, and easily track their achievements individually and collectively.

It is fitting that the Action Platform is opening to coincide with Earth Hour, as a catalyst for urgent change to shape our future,