This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature.
It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To reimagine our relationship with nature.
It’s time to raise our voices to tell the world that we need action now.
WHAT CAN CITIES DO?
Cities house the majority of people living on the planet today and consume around 75 per cent of the resources that come from nature. By 2050, the UN predicts 80 per cent of the world population will live in urban areas. Consequently, cities have a huge role to play in preserving the planet’s finite resources and providing services for people. If we are to change the current course of destruction and embrace greater custodianship of nature, we must first LEARN about what we can do; SHARE that knowledge with our citizens on World Environment Day; and ACT on the things we need to change.
Here are some resources for city mayors, councils and municipalities to LEARN about how they can protect biodiversity:
These UNEP Guidelines explore ways to harness climate and resource potential for health and well-being at neighbourhood level
This UNEP report examines how cities can become sustainable and resource efficient as urban populations grow
The UNEP GEO Cities Report provides local governments, scientists, policy-makers and the general public with reliable and up-to-date information on improving urban environmental planning and management
This UNEP report shows how local governments and decisions can help improve the state of the global environment
The Cities and Biodiversity Outlook summarizes how urbanization affects biodiversity and examines 10 ways cities can strengthen conservation and use natural resources more sustainably
Consult these resources to learn how to protect land from degradation
The UN Habitat Guidelines look at how to balance territorial development by enhancing urban-rural linkages
CitiesWithNature, an initiative hosted by ICLEI, IUCN and The Nature Conservancy, is a shared platform for cities and their partners to engage and connect
The Nature of Cities initiative curates conversations about urban solutions to environmental challenges
Cities4Forests encourages cities to better connect, conserve, manage, and restore forests around them
Here are some ideas for how cities can SHARE the message on World Environment Day:
Join the CitiesWithNature initiative that recognizes and enhances the value of nature in and around cities
Sign up to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
Announce a new “green area” to be created in your city
Use social media accounts to highlight the native biodiversity that exists with in your city and what is in danger of being lost unless measures are taken
Send native plant seeds to citizens on World Environment Day that they can plant on their balcony or garden to encourage biodiversity
Join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition
Join the Cool Coalition
Have the mayor host a virtual chat with citizens pertaining to questions about the environment in the city
Announce new targets pertaining to nature and biodiversity
Here’s how cities can ACT for nature:
Adopt a “Whole-of-Government” approach, to allow a wide vision towards sustainable urban development
Include nature-based solutions as part of your city climate strategy
Develop combined transport and ecosystem corridors, naturally shading pedestrians and cyclists while connecting key green spaces in and around the city
Set targets to protect and create green spaces in the city, and introduce innovative policies such as obligations to recreate as much green space as a real estate development is eating up
Consider making living roofs and solar panels mandatory requirements in the specifications for tendering of affordable housing
Create urban gardening opportunities for communities
Produce a sustainable development report to be updated on a regular basis
All cities, large and small, are invited to become part of a unique initiative that recognizes and enhances the value of nature in and around cities across the world
Enlist urban planners to analyse how more trees can be planted in residential neighbourhoods and close to schools and hospitals
If native watersheds were built over due to urban expansion, enlist planners to analyse whether they can be restored
Allocate funds for biodiversity restoration in your annual budget
In collaboration with scientists, find out what ecosystem services you could make use of in your city and protect or restore them.