Cities Biodiversity Center

Recent News

  • CBC March 2015 Newsletter out now!
    Published News

    The ICLEI CBC March 2015 Newsletter is out now!


    The ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Centre March 2015 Newsletter is out now!March 2015 Newsletter.jpg

    Download it here!

  • Urban Natural Assets for Africa (UNA AFRICA) Update
    Published News

    "Urban Natural Assets for Africa Project” (UNA Africa) is facilitated and lead by ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability and funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation through SwedBio at Stockholm Resilience Centre.


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    UNA Africa is designed to improve human well-being and contribute to poverty alleviation and building resilience of the urban poor, through building local government capacity to enhance local implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity targets. The project is being implemented under the global Urban Biosphere Initiative (URBIS –

    There are 4 sub-Saharan African cities participating in UNA Africa: Lilongwe (Malawi), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Cape Town (South Africa) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). The project is divided up into 3 components or phases: 1.) A scoping workshop in each city to outline and define the priority agendas around natural assets in the region in order to inform the desired type of capacity building to be provided at subsequent workshops; 2.) A tailor-made capacity building workshop in each city, providing information and resources tailored for each city’s needs and based on the outcomes of the first workshop; and 3.) The development of a mobile application to provide support and information to increase understanding of the contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services towards alleviating poverty and improving human well-being.

    10371479_836299236413421_5261921858648558791_n.jpgSo far workshops have been held in two of the four engaged cities: Lilongwe, Malawi, on 16 – 17 December 2014 (workshop report HERE) and more recently Dar es Salaam 11-12 February 2015 as part of the first phase of the project. 

    The most recent workshop in Dar es Salaam was organised and facilitated by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, with the support of project partners SANBI, the African Center for Cities, the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), with substantial input and support from Kinondoni City Council. The event brought together some of the primary role-players involved in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in Dar es Salaam. The core partners used this workshop to outline and define the priority agendas around natural assets in the region in order to inform the desired type of capacity building to be provided at subsequent workshops. The objectives of the Phase 1 workshops are to increase understanding of the value, economic and social benefits, and sustainable management of natural assets and green infrastructure in the region. In addition, the workshops aim to identify priority regional agendas for the sustainable use and management of natural assets. Dar es Salaam’s consultation brought together government departments, researchers, local NGOs, fisherman and civil society representatives in order to strengthen working relationships. With these stakeholders, the workshop identified the capacity constraints for managing biodiversity, as well as the accessibility of biodiversity information for effective decision making, and therefore the biodiversity tools and results-oriented-training that would be needed to achieve these objectives. 

    Drawing from this preliminary workshop, the topic/topics for training and the workshop date will be confirmed in collaboration with the City Councils involved, over the next few weeks. ICLEI and project partners, together with all relevant city stakeholders and NGOs currently working in Dar es Salaam will work closely to take both their work, and the outcomes of the workshop, forward, through contribution of knowledge into the training and application development and capacity building phase. ICLEI greatly looks forward to continuing to roll out UNA Africa and to working closely with our participating cities. Look out for the Dar es Salaam workshop report to be published soon. For more information contact UNA Africa’s project manager:

  • Exciting survey: Municipal Nature and Biodiversity
    Published News

    The San Francisco Department of the Environment and the Nature Conservancy California Program have created a municipal biodiversity survey to gather information about best practices and current policies regarding the conservation, restoration, and stewardship of biological diversity in cities. We are interested in what other cities are doing, both for our benefit, and to share with the greater biodiversity community. We would like to know how your city’s different agencies and organizations support nature and biodiversity?


    Attention all BiodiverCities and local government biodiversity practitioners,

    In collaboration with the Nature Conservancy, California office, San Francisco Department of Environment has developed and is disseminating a Municipal Biodiversity Survey in order to gather data on the extent to which municipalities are actually managing their own indigenous nature and biodiversity. We want to "lift all boats" so that we can all learn and improve our own best practices based on what everyone is doing on urban biodiversity and natural lands management in the world's cities.

    The back end of the survey is sophisticated enough that we will be able to develop a robust report on the state of the world’s cities’ management of their own biodiversity. We are excited about this as both an information dissemination and global community building tool.

    We encourage all our BiodiverCities to complete this and add to the community of practice.

    The survey is located at


  • Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation
    Published News

    At the 48th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, at the IUCN headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, a Ramsar draft resolution has been approved by the Standing Committee, to take to the Ramsar COP 12, which will be held in Uruguay in June 2015.


    The Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation (SC-48-29) will encourage a positive relationship between the city and its wetlands by rewarding awareness-raising, education activities, and a participatory approach, as well as the consideration of wetlands in planning and decision-making processes.

    This is exciting news for cities that contain Ramsar sites, or other wetlands, within or on their boundaries, as it offers the opportunity for recognition by Parties and the international wetland community. The Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation will be awarded by Ramsar, and supported by an Independent Advisory Committee – which will oversee the nominations for the award. The Independent Advisory Committee will include ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, relevant international UN organisations, representative Parties of the Ramsar Standing Committee from the 5 regions, as well as the Ramsar Secretariat and Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP).

    The Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation is designed to support the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2016-2021 and the identified goals within this plan, encouraging CEPA (communication, education, participation and awareness), wise use of wetlands, and good management practices at the local level. The activities at the city level with Ramsar Wetland sites and other wetlands, will therefore support the Parties to reach their national Ramsar objectives, and strengthen partnerships across government levels. Proposed by Tunisia and the Republic of Korea, WWF International and ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center have supported and advised this Draft Resolution on Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation –here’s hoping that it will be accepted at the Ramsar COP 12!

  • Save the date 11/12 April: Urban Nature 2015 at the ICLEI World Congress
    Published News

    We are proud to announce the 3rd Urban Nature Congress, which will take place at the ICLEI World Congress, from 11 – 12 April 2015, in Seoul, Korea.


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    Biodiersity and water are inextricably linked, both underpinning the well-being of humankind, and both with significant impact on the social and economic success of cities, including for food and water security, climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction. Water supports all biodiversity, both aquatic and terrestrial, and the quality and quantity of water influences the provision of invaluable ecosystem services. Biodiversity by the same token, supports essential ecosystem services, such as water and nutrient cycling, water purification, flood management, and water storage and recycling in soils. The sustainable use of water not only contributes to water security, but also to the increased resilience of biodiversity. Biodiversity and water therefore provide essential natural infrastructure to cities, which if managed well is cost-effective, and also contributes to adaptation to climate change. Biodiversity and water are central to sustainable development, and should be managed in an integrated way

    We are proud to announce the 3rd Urban Nature Congress, which will take place at the ICLEI World Congress, from 11 – 12 April 2015, in Seoul, Korea.

    Providing a platform to share information, showcase good case studies, encourage interactive discussion, and offer inspiration for cities, Urban Nature 2015: Local Action for Biodiversity will explore the value of integrated approaches to planning and managing water and biodiversity.

    The Urban Nature Congress is a workshop run by ICLEI’s global Cities Biodiversity Center, under the  globally recognised Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Program. More information will follow shortly.

    Download the draft programme here
    Save the date - We look forward to seeing you there! 
    (Register for the ICLEI World Congress 2015 HERE
    Kind regards,
    ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center
  • Biodiversity Summit For Cities and Subnational Governments
    Published News

    Dear ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center Colleagues, Partners, and Friends, 2014 was a wonderfully busy and extremely fruitful year with many exciting events, the launch of innovative projects, strengthened partnerships, global biodiversity successes, and local/subnational government milestones!


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    Last year culminated with the Cities and Subnational Government Biodiversity Summit 2014, held in Pyeongchang, Korea, in parallel to the CBD COP 12. The passion exhibited, and the incredible work showcased by local and subnational governments from around the world, at the Biodiversity Summit was certainly inspirational! The Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution for Cities and Subnational Governments on Biodiversity was a very strong outcome of the Summit, and we hope to build on this in 2015, strengthening the global biodiversity agenda through support for local/subnational implementation.

    Please find the final report for the Biodiversity Summit 2014 attached.

    We wish you a wonderful and biodiverse New Year - all the best for 2015 - and we look forward to continuing our work with you into the future.

    Warm regards from the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center

  • Biodiversity Mainstreaming Toolbox for land-use planning and development in Gauteng is launched!
    Published News

    ICLEI Africa, in partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) has proudly launched the first regionally-dedicated toolbox for incorporating biodiversity considerations in local government planning and decision-making making in South Africa.


    The Biodiversity Mainstreaming Toolbox for land-use planning and development in Gauteng Bio Newskit content.jpgbrings together the range of maps and guidelines that local governments should use to ensure that biodiversity is sufficiently considered in land-use planning and environmental authorisations to conserve biodiversity inside and, fundamentally, outside of protected areas. It is aimed at all local governments departments, and provides an accessible introduction to biodiversity management at the local government level, including the importance of biodiversity for climate change resilience. The term ‘toolbox’ indicates that the document is a starting point for users to become acquainted with the range of tools available, and provides information on where to access the tools themselves.

    The Toolbox received a warm reception as it was rolled out to each municipality in Gauteng at the end of November. The range of departments at each workshop, and the insightful discussions around implementation of the tools showed the dedication that local governments in Gauteng province have to conserving biodiversity in the region.  

    Download the Toolbox:


    Keep your eyes peeled for the Senior Manager’s version of the Toolbox – which provides a short overview of toolbox and why biodiversity is important to local governments and development – and the Planners Quick Guide to the Biodiversity Mainstreaming Toolbox, to be released by the end of year.  Watch this space!

  • BRAIN EXPANSION ALERT!- Want to learn about cutting edge sustainability science? Step up for an amazing online course on sustainable development with Stockholm Resilience Centre
    Published News

    SRC has developed a cutting edge course together with the Sustainable Development solutions network. Topics include: the #Anthropocene, planetary boundaries, the social-ecological systems approach and #resilience thinking. Join!



    Planetary Boundaries and Human Opportunities: The Quest for Safe and Just Development on a Resilient Planet helps students to explore and apply a range of emerging concepts within sustainability science. These concepts include: the Anthropocene, planetary boundaries, the social-ecological systems approach and resilience thinking. Such concepts are at the core of contemporary research and debates in the arena of global sustainability.

    They are key to frame and understand rapidly changing trends in global environmental change caused by humans, and to assess responses that aim at addressing the consequences and impacts of these changes. They are also helpful in exploring pathways for ensuring safe and just human development for present and future generations.

    A thriving global society, now and in the future, depends on the stable functioning of all interacting components of the Earth System – including; the atmosphere, oceans, forests, waterways, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. Unfortunately, scientific evidence indicates that human influence has altered Earth System processes to a point that we have begun transgressing planetary boundaries that have kept civilization safe for the past 10,000 years.

    Humans are now the most significant driver of global change, potentially propelling the planet into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. In this new situation, unsustainable patterns of production, consumption, and population growth are challenging the resilience of the planet to support human activity. The fundamental question is how our societies can develop in a just and safe way within the planet’s boundaries. 

    This course aims at expanding and updating participant’s ‘conceptual toolbox’ in matters of global sustainability. Upon successful completion, a participant will be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of key concepts on global environmental change and their theoretical underpinning, as well as an up-to-date understanding of current debates in the global sustainability arena and emerging examples of approaches and solutions currently being developed.

    Throughout the course, Professor Rockström and along with colleagues from the Stockholm Resilience Centre will hold live hangouts to answer your questions about the course and sustainable development issues, in addition to discussion forums where you can engage with fellow students and course staff. The course is also rich in activities that will illustrate the application of these concepts, connecting global and local contexts. 

    The success of the course depends on an active student base representing a diversity of experiences, cultures, and perspectives, so add your voice to the global discussion by registering today.

    Course Structure & Requirements

    This eight-week course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, quizzes, activities and an interactive discussion forum. Each of these course components can be completed at a time that is convenient for the student. The material for each week is made available each Monday, and once the material has been opened, it remains open for the duration of the course. There will be no mandatory written assignments for the course but the course encourages active participation in the discussion forum.

    In addition, Johan Rockström and invited guest researchers will hold 3 real-time Google Hangouts to encourage students to ask questions and engage directly with experts. These Hangouts will be announced 1-2 weeks in advance. As a guideline, in order for students to become part of the community, engage with the content and get the most out of the course, they should aim to spend approximately 6 hours per week.

    All students who successfully complete the course requirements will receive a digital certificate of completion signed by Professor Rockström and a ‘sustainable citizen’ avatar badge. For those that are exceptional contributors to the course, special recognition and a limited number of prizes will be offered. While this course is not credit granting, we encourage students to work with their own institutions to explore the option of granting credit for online coursework. More details will be provided following the launch of the course.

    Course Syllabus

    Week 1: Introduction and the Big Picture

    • Chapter 1: Introduction
    • Chapter 2: The Big Picture

    Week 2: Welcome to the Anthropocene

    • Chapter 1: The Holocene and the Anthropocene
    • Chapter 2: Visions of the Anthropocene 

    Week 3: Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience thinking

    • Chapter 1: Social-Ecological Resilience
    • Chapter 2: Understanding Complexity in a Turbulent World

    Week 4: Planetary Boundaries Framework – Part 1

    • Chapter 1: A New Framework for Human Development
    • Chapter 2: The Big Three Boundaries: Processes with Global Scale Tipping Points 

    Week 5: Planetary Boundaries Framework – Part 2

    • Chapter 1: The Four Slow Boundaries
    • Chapter 2: Human-made Planetary Boundaries Processes 

    Week 6: Planetary Boundaries and Global Equity

    • Chapter 1: Natural Resources and Interactions Between Boundaries
    • Chapter 2: A Safe and Just Operating Space for Humanity 

    Week 7: Moving towards Global Sustainability within Biophysical and Social Boundaries

    • Chapter 1: Global Governance
    • Chapter 2: Promising Pathways to Success

    Week 8: Conclusion

    • Chapter 1: Science in the Anthropocene and the Sustainable Development Goals
    • Chapter 2: Conclusions

    About the Instructors

    Johan Rockström, Lead Instructor

    Johan Rockström is a Professor in Environmental Science with emphasis on water resources and global sustainability at Stockholm University and the Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre. He is an internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues, where he led the recent development of the new Planetary Boundaries framework for human development in the current era of rapid global change.

    He is a leading scientist on global water resources, and strategies to build resilience in water scarce regions of the world, with more than 15 years experience from applied water research in tropical regions, and more than 100 research publications in fields ranging from applied land and water management to global sustainability.

    Sarah Cornell, Instructor

    Sarah Cornell is the research coordinator of the Planetary Boundaries research group at the SRC, and a co-convenor of the international Planetary Boundaries Research Network. Both of these initiatives take a transdisciplinary approach and link insights from Earth system science and social-ecological resilience, to better characterise the complex issues of global sustainability. 

    Sarah’s research background is in marine and atmospheric biogeochemistry, but like many global change scientists, she has a very interdisciplinary research trajectory. She has worked on integrated environmental assessment, risk management, sustainability governance, and the philosophy of science. Her current research focuses on conceptualisations of humans in the Earth system. Her main interests are in obtaining a multidimensional understanding of anthropogenic global changes and what they mean for people.

    Garry Peterson, Instructor

    Garry Peterson is a Professor in Environmental Sciences with focus on resilience in social-ecological systems and head of the PhD programme in Sustainability Science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, at Stockholm University.  He co-leads a research project on social-ecological dynamics of ecosystem services in the Stockholm region, contributes to IPBES, and contributed to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.  He is co-leader of the regime shifts research theme at the Stockholm Resilience Centre ( 

    Garry Peterson has an interdisciplinary background and his research has consistently combined theoretical development with applied practical work. His current research focusses on how interactions among people and nature produce diverse benefits for people, or ecosystem services, and how social-ecological systems can abruptly reorganize. He is also currently working on identifying how alternative social-ecological trajectories that could lead towards 'good' futures for people in the Anthropocene can be identified and compared.      

    Carl Folke, Instructor

    Carl Folke, professor, is the founder and Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Carl has contributed to the development of new research areas, interdisciplinary arenas, and concepts that have spread in science, policy and practice. He works with interdisciplinary and integrative science for sustainability with a focus on social-ecological systems, resilience thinking, and ecological economics, emphasizing that people are embedded parts of the biosphere and at the same time shaping it from local to global levels, and how to adaptively govern and manage for resilience and transformation in social-ecological systems.   

    Carl has produced over 250 scientific papers (16 in Science and Nature) and 13 books, including Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience (with F. Berkes) Cambridge 1998, Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change (with F. Berkes and J. Colding) Cambridge 2003, and Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: Resilience-Based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World (with Chapin, F.S, III, and G.P. Kofinas) Springer Verlag 2009. He serves as advisor to international research institutes, has a long record of science and policy collaboration, and more recently collaboration between science and the business community.   

    Lisa Deutsch, Course Director and Instructor

    Dr. Lisa Deutsch is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Studies at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Lisa is responsible for the innovative activities and study programs that focus on developing the next generation of resilience and sustainability scientists. She also teaches at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

    Lisa's research examines the couplings between the ecological effects of globalization of food production systems and national policy and economic accounts. She particularly focuses on the impacts of global trade on food systems. She also works on the challenge of tracing and mapping food flows to cities to explore how cities feed themselves. Her work contributes to the development of a set of complementary tools that can be used to understand global food flows and the dependence of cities and nations on services from ecosystems globally.

    Kevin Noone, Instructor

    Kevin Noone is Professor of Meteorology at the Department of Applied Environmental Science at Stockholm University. He was the founding Director of the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences from 2010-2014, and has been affiliated with the Stockholm Resilience Centre. From 2004-2008 he was the Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). He has a background in Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Oceanography, Meteorology, and Atmospheric Physics. He has been on the faculty at both Stockholm University in Sweden and the University of Rhode Island in the U.S.

    His early research work in Chemical Engineering focused on transparent semiconductors for use as solar cells. His primary research interests at present are in the areas of sustainability science, atmospheric chemistry & physics, the effects of aerosols and clouds on air quality and the Earth's climate, and Earth System science. He is an advocate of using holistic approaches to obtaining a solid scientific basis for decisions on environmental and climate issues. He is author/coauthor of more than 120 scientific articles, two books and 10 book chapters. 

    Victor Galaz, Instructor

    Victor Galaz is an Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in political science, and is currently working as a researcher and co-theme leader for Global and Cross-Scale Dynamics at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and as Acting Executive Director for the Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere programme at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

    His current research interests are in global environmental governance, planetary boundaries, emerging technologies and emerging political conflicts associated with the notion of the Anthropocene. His work has been featured in international media such as Wired, The Guardian, New Scientist and Nature. He is a regular contributor in the Swedish public and policy debate about environmental policy and emerging technologies. Victor is also the author of "Global Environmental Governance, Technology and Politics - The Anthropocene Gap" (Edward Elgar, 2014).

    Thomas Elmqvist, Instructor

    Thomas Elmqvist, PhD, is a professor in Natural Resource Management at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. His research is focused on ecosystem services, land use change, urbanization, natural disturbances and components of resilience including the role of social institutions. He serves as associated editor for the journals Ecology and Society, Ecosystem services, and Sustainability Science. He has led the “Cities and Biodiversity project” ( and currently leading a Future Earth project “What is Urban” and part of the scoping expert group on regional and sub-regional assessments in IPBES.

  • URBES factsheet – Green Infrastructure, a wealth for cities
    Published News

  • URBES factsheet – Green Infrastructure, a wealth for cities
    Published News

    Latest factsheet from URBES: URBES factsheet – Green Infrastructure, a wealth for cities


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    Download the latest factsheet from URBES: URBES factsheet – Green Infrastructure, a wealth for cities here

  • Launch of the UNA Africa Initiative and the 2015 URBIS Webinar Series
    Published News

    At a champagne breakfast at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (led by ICLEI Africa in partnership with the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center), together with project partners launched Urban Natural Assets for Africa - a cutting edge program to support the local implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets to conserve and protect nature in cities in sub-Saharan Africa as a project under the Urban Biosphere Initiative (URBIS).


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    At a champagne breakfast at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity, ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, together with project partners SwedBio, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI),  the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and the African Center for Cities, proudly launched Urban Natural Assets for Africa - a cutting edge program to support the local implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets to conserve and protect nature in cities in sub-Saharan Africa as a project under the Urban Biosphere Initiative (URBIS)

    Through generous funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through SwedBio at Stockholm Resilience Centre, this project will support knowledge exchange between important actors in cities across the African continent, through capacity development with regards to biodiversity and ecosystem services. 

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    Project Partners: Georgina Avlonitis and Shela Patrickson (ICLEI), Proff. Thomas Elmqvist (Stockholm Resilience Center),
    Ellika Hermansson Torok (SwedBio), Tim Hirsch (GBIF), Russell Galt and Tanya Abrahamse (SANBI)
    and Dr David Maddox (URBIS Chair and Founder of the Nature of Cities) celebrating the launch of the UNA Africa Project

    This capacity building will be based on a thorough needs-assessment conducted in each of the participating cities. The aim of this capacity building programme will be to contribute to meeting the objectives of sustainable use of regional biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to improve human well-being, poverty alleviation and strengthened resilience amongst the urban poor. 

    Target Cities to date include: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Kampala, Uganda; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Cape Town, South Africa.


    Professor Thomas Elmqvist took up the golden scissors and cut the red ribbon,
    marking the official launch of the UNA Africa initiative.

    Councillor van de Merwe of the City of Cape Town stated: “As a City blessed with a wealth of urban natural assets, we are delighted to be a part of this important programme in conjunction with three other influential African cities.  We look forward to sharing with our colleagues in these cities, and yourselves, some of the opportunities and challenges in managing these assets in a sustainable manner, so as to ensure significant benefits to all citizens and visitors alike, now and long into the future. In particular, we would like to introduce our “Source to Sea” river corridor initiative into UNA, to exchange ideas around maximising ecological, recreational, educational, scientific and quality of life opportunities linked to restoring and enhancing important water courses through our urban area.”

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    Hussein Omar, urban planner and representative of the City of Dar es Salaam speaking at the launch event

    Hussein Omar, an Urban Planner representing the City of Dar es Salaam at the event, highlighted that: “Dar es Salaam holds a wealth of biodiversity and it’s something I am very proud of. Oftentimes we work in silos which can be very frustrating and a waste of resources when common objectives may be able to be achieved if we instead, worked together. If this project can help us to get our city’s departments on the same wavelength- mainstreaming nature in all our work, we can certainly achieve great things for biodiversity in the city!”

    In addition, David Maddox, Founder of the Nature of Cities launched the 2015 URBIS Webinar Series. This series will be an exciting URBIS platform for dialogue, held at monthly intervals which will bring together local governments and leading experts in pertinent fields to share experiences, address specific urban challenges, consider new developments, explore collaborative opportunities and strategise on ways forward, with a special focus on city-regions. These events will be facilitated in a highly interactive and participatory manner, conducive to constructive discourse and candid debate. The 2015 URBIS Dialogues will address exciting topics and themes within the urban biodiversity realm, and will contribute towards the establishment of criteria for the URBIS Cities of Distinction Award process. Notifications around the first dialogue will be shared soon.

    “As a City which includes two biosphere reserves, we also look forward to participation in the 2015 URBIS webinar series,” stated Councillor van de Merwe.

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    Attendees included project partner representatives, (Tim Hirsch, Deputy Director of GBIF; Dr Tanya Abrahamse, CEO of SANBI;
    Prof. Jose Puppim de Oliviera of UNU-IAS; Chantal van Ham of  IUCN);
    city participants and other guests of honour such as Dr. Pavan Sukhdev, Study Leader of TEEB.

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    Maria Schultz and Ellika Hermansson Torok of SwedBio at the Stockholm resilience Center,
    funding and implementing partners of the UNA Africa Initiative

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    Dr. David Maddox, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, the Nature of Cities;
    Principal, Urban Oikos Partners LLC, New York; URBIS Advisory Board Chair

    ICLEI and its partners are thrilled to announce the launch of these URBIS initiatives, which should spur great progress towards implementing the Aichi Targets at the subnational and local level, in Africa through the UNA Project and beyond.

    For further information, please contact Georgina Avlonitis (


  • Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution on Cities and Subnational Governments for Biodiversity
    Published News

    Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution on Cities and Subnational Governments for Biodiversity


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    Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution on Cities and Subnational Governments for Biodiversity was recently adopted at the Biodivesity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments for Biodivesrity, which took place at the CBD COP 12 in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, Korea.



    Download the full Resolution here!
  • Integration, cooperation, passion and commitment: 2014 Biodiversity Summit spurs the integration of biodiversity into all levels of government
    Published News

    The knowledge-packed Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments held in parallel with the CBD COP 12 on 12-14 October in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province concluded today, inspiring greater cooperation among all levels of government and furthering the work on promoting biodiversity for sustainability.


    Organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with the Government of Gangwon Province, the Summit saw close to 600 participants from 53 countries across all regions. Around 270 local government representatives participated in the Summit, including 40 city and sub-national leaders (governors, mayors, deputy mayors, and commissioners) as well as representatives of national, international and UN organizations, and experts in the field.

    The Summit took stock of progress since the previous Cities Biodiversity Summit at the CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad and outlined the latest tools, initiatives and networks, illustrating throughout, the value of bringing nature back into cities. Andre Mader, ICLEI’s seconded staff member to the CBD stated that: “This Summit is a particularly important platform to advance our goals. The context is about as appropriate as we could wish for, with almost all of the national governments of this planet negotiating how to guide policy just next door. So to reiterate the message from the Executive Secretary of the CBD, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias: please challenge yourselves and others at this meeting. Use it as a milestone in the story of your city, subnational government, organization or country, and be inspired and encouraged by the interaction with like-minded individuals.”

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    ICLEI President, David Cadman handing the final version of the Gangwon/Pyeongchang resolution to the Honourable Governor of Gangwon Province.

    The Summit covered a diverse range of topics, bringing together experts in the field and city and subnational government representatives to discuss: bridging the science-policy interface, the creative green economy, biodiversity planning, and implementation of the Aichi Targets, to name but a few. The Summit drew to a close with a Mayors/Governors Roundtable demonstrating the effective leadership of selected cities and subnational government in the field of mainstreaming biodiversity into municipal governance and policy. “It’s time that biodiversity is put front and center on the international stage so that we can stop the mass extinction of species on the global scale. I know in my position as a Mayor, I can make a difference, and so can you,” urged Honourable Mayor Troy Pickard of Joondalup, Australia.

    A major outcome of the Summit was the Gangwon / Pyeongchang Resolution for Cities and Subnational Governments, which demonstrates the spirit of cooperation between cities and national governments to jointly safeguard urban biodiversity. This resolution will be submitted on behalf of local and sub-national governments to the CBD and aims to concretize support to the SDG process, specifically on the proposed stand-alone goals of the urban SDG (Goal 11) and on biodiversity conservation (Goal 15). “Through this, the willingness and commitment of the subnational governments around the world will be heard loud and clear at the High Level Segment during COP 12,” emphasized Yeonman Jeong, Vice Minister of Environment for the Republic of Korea. “The Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution is a strong and innovative statement, built on this strong foundation of dialogue, and a united voice from yourselves, that we are proud of, and we fully support the Honourable Governor Moonsoon Choi as he is elected to present the Resolution to the high-level segment of the CBD COP,” said ICLEI President David Cadman as he handed over the final version of the text.
     For more information, visit

    Media contacts
    On site, Georgina +27829256854 (English),
    On site, Yeon-hee Park, (English, Korean), ICLEI Korea Director, 010-7701-2781
    In Bonn, Germany, Katrina Borromeo, (English) Head of Communications, +491738692298

  • Cities Biodiversi​ty Summit Press Release
    Published News

    The 2014 Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments will cement unparalleled cooperation among all levels of government to collectively safeguard urban biodiversity and support the Sustainable Development Goals on cities and biodiversity.



    Cities and subnational governments of the world unite to safeguard biodiversity at the 2014 Biodiversity Summit, Pyeongchang, the Republic of Korea.

    The 2014 Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments will cement unparalleled cooperation among all levels of government to collectively safeguard urban biodiversity and support the Sustainable Development Goals on cities and biodiversity.

    12 October 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea – The Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments is set to make huge strides towards safeguarding urban biodiversity by bringing together local, subnational and national governments, facilitating a new wave of cooperative biodiversity governance. This multi-level government cooperation is crucial in ensuring the successful implementation of existing and new biodiversity actions, plans and strategies for cities and subnational governments in order to protect the world’s extraordinary wealth of biodiversity but also its role in generating ecosystem services upon which large and small urban populations and communities rely on for their food, water, and health.

    South Korea 1.jpg

    Taking place in parallel with the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP12), the Summit will be held on 12-14 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, in the Republic of Korea. Hosted by the Republic of Korea and the Provincial Government of Gangwon, the Summit is organized in partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Secretariat of the CBD.  Around 500 representatives from local, subnational and national governments are expected to attend to explore ways of integrating biodiversity across government sectors, strengthening multi-level cooperation in support of the Strategic Plan of the CBD (2011-2020) and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and reinforcing support for the Sustainable Development Goals on biodiversity and on cities. 

    This year’s Biodiversity Summit will also build on the groundbreaking outcomes of the previous Biodiversity Summits and CBD COPs. Specific focus will be given to multi-level cooperation to further scale up the progress that has already been made at the city and subnational level.

    The Executive Secretary of the CBD, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias remarked that while there has been notable progress in implementing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets at all government levels, it is still not enough. “We need good ideas from everyone including the Biodiversity Summit and the engagement of cities and subnational governments in Pyeongchang to help us build on the good success stories out there. There are many success stories, but, we need to scale up. We need to multiply those success stories to more cities, to more subnational governments”, said Dr. Dias.   

    ICLEI Korea Director Yeon-hee Park commented that, “With this Summit, we hope to contribute to the global discussions on biodiversity, and most importantly, provide the necessary leadership for local and subnational governments to transform their cities into sustainable and biodiverse cities”.

    A key outcome of the Summit will be the Gangwon / Pyeongchang Resolution for Cities and Subnational Governments which will demonstrate the spirit of cooperation between cities and national governments to jointly safeguard urban biodiversity. The Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution will also concretize support to the SDG process, specifically on the proposed stand-alone goals of the urban SDG (Goal 11) and on biodiversity conservation (Goal 15).

    Working together with different levels of government makes a lot of sense because ultimately, we are all striving for the same goal – a world where our invaluable natural resources are conserved and used sustainably and biodiversity is respected and integrated into decision making to ensure sustainable development,” said ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center Manager, Shela Patrickson. 

    Under the theme ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’, COP 12 aims to enhance the awareness of the global community on biodiversity for sustainable development. It will also feature a proposed suite of decisions under the umbrella of “Cooperation with other Conventions, International Organizations and Stakeholders’ Engagement Including Business”, which includes a decision on Engagement with Subnational and Local Governments. COP12 is the fourth consecutive COP to consider text on subnational implementation, and the first to focus explicitly on sustainable urbanization.

    For more information, visit

    Media contacts

    On site,Georgina +27829256854  (English),

    On site,  Yeon-hee Park, (English, Korean), ICLEI Korea Director, 010-7701-2781

    In Bonn, Germany, Katrina Borromeo, (English) Head of Communications, +491738692298

  • LAB Symposium on BiodiverCities without Boundaries
    Published News

    The 2014 Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Symposium on BiodiverCities without Boundaries, held from 23 – 25 June, Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei was a resounding success.


    LAB Taiwan2.jpg

    Hosted by LAB member, the Kaohsiung City Government and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the LAB Symposium brought together LAB cities from around the world, as well as local and international biodiversity experts to discuss how science, policy and local governance can create beautiful, biodiverse cities.

    Officiating the opening, the Honourable Mayor Chen Chu welcomed local and international delegates and highlighted that symposium provided a valuable exchange of experience on urban biodiversity policy and planning that should be used to sustain natural heritage to future generations

    The first day of the symposium included a keynote speech from ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center’s Georgina Avlonitis on the Cities Biodiversity Outlook and broke into parallel sessions to discuss Urban Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Global Change; How to connect people, cities and nature and Sustainable Marine and Wetland Management. Within these sessions, LAB cities Edmonton, Montreal, Cape Town and eThekwini shared insights and experiences of biodiversity planning, resulting in discussions on applying this experience locally.LAB Taiwan3.png

    Day two looked at international and local examples of urban biodiversity conservancy and governance, both through key note speeches and a panel discussion. The afternoon’s site visit to Jhongdu Wetland Park on the city’s Love River illustrated the value of restored wetlands in the urban area, providing a refuge to local plants and animals and providing flood attenuation in a previously highly industrialised area. Accordingly, the area is now a favoured residential suburb, where house prices have increased to the highest in the city.

  • June 2014 Newsletter out now!
    Published News

    It is our pleasure to share with you our latest Cities Biodiversity Center Newsletter!


    CBC newsletter June 2014 news image in page.jpg

    This issue we look at the many important conferences that are taking place in 2014, such as COP12 and Resilient Cities. We also have a look at new projects and tools that are striving to increase biodiversity in cities around the world. We trust you will find this month's edition both insightful and interesting!


    Download it here!

  • Launching “The Nature of Mainstreaming: A local integrated planning toolkit for biodiversity and ecosystem services”
    Published News

    The Nature of Mainstreaming toolkit was launched to an international audience at ICLEI’s Resilient Cities 2014 conference, in a session on tools for decision-makers to plan for resilience.


    nature of mainstreaming1.jpg

    The session was organised by URBES (the Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services project), which focuses on making science and research accessible for policymakers. The Toolkit was authored by Jennifer Pierce from Cornell University, and commissioned by the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC). Pierce introduced the concepts outlined in the Toolkit and presented the 6 tips that are designed to assist cities in mainstreaming biodiversity. The Nature of Mainstreaming Toolkit provides important guidance for local governments to ensure that awareness and consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem services are integrated across departments and into city planning and decision-making, and joins the suite of other resources that ICLEI CBC has to offer.

  • New publication: Ecological outcomes of civic and expert-led urban greening projects
    Published News

    Pippin Anderson (Africa Center for Cities), Georgina Avlonitis of ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center and Henrik Ernstson (SRC) have recently published a paper that compares the ecological effects of green space rehabilitation projects between expert-led and civic-led groups in Cape Town (paper). The paper contributes to urban ecology, and natural resource management—but also to ‘environmental stewardship’ studies, and debates around expertise. The study suggests that civic-led greening interventions can be equally as effective in restoring biodiversity and landscape ecology.


    Parks and private and public gardens do not exist in isolation, but form part of the urban fabric, contributing to ecological functioning. There is growing interest in how civil society can shape urban nature and vegetation patterns. Through the landscape ecological field work conducted by Georgina Avlonitis, data was generated from sites in the City of Cape Town that had been rehabilitated by expert biologists on the one hand, and civic organisations on the other. Six different sites were sampled: two civic-led intervention sites, one expert-led rehabilitation site, two conservation sites and one abandoned site. These sites were then compared in terms of their plant and pollinator diversity and then discussed in relation to how they were managed. 


     Image: Bottom Rd Sanctuary was one of the 6 study sample sites and is a sterling example of a succesful civic-led intervention project. A resident of a property bordering Zeekoevlei has transformed this former rubbish dump into a biodiverse jewel in Cape Town’s crown.. Kelvin Cochrane, who comes from family of bakers and still earns his living this way, bought a plot in Bottom Road on the vlei in 2005. Since then he has been clearing the area of alien vegetation and reintroducing indigenous species based on intuition. This  site is a valuable green  public amenity and educational facility for an otherwise impovershed area of the Cape Flats. 

    "By emphasizing the ecological outcomes, this study also highlights the importance of civil society in linking conservation goals to more broad-based notions of quality of life and the ‘good and just city’ [where citizens across demographic groups have access to urban green spaces]. The results indicated that civic-led efforts warrant attention in keeping with those of experts, both in relation to meeting indigenous conservation targets, as well as supporting functional groups and wider ecological processes."

     The full research paper is available HERE or contact

  • International Day of Biodiversity 2014: Island Biodiversity
    Published News

    Happy International Biodiversity Day 2014 to all! Today we celebrate islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas that constitute unique ecosystems, often found nowhere else on Earth.


    These ecosystems are the legacy of a unique evolutionary history and are irreplaceable treasures. Islands are especially susceptible to the effects of Climate Change due to their relatively small and closed ecosystems; it often takes just one small change that can have huge knock on effects that cannot be undone. Perhaps today, it is also fitting to remember John Donne's quote, that 'no man is an island'. We cannot function alone and separated from the natural world- we are inextricably linked to our ecosystems- they are the keys to our livelihoods, our economy, our well-being and cultural identity. Although today marks a special day for biodiversity, it is important to remember our connection to it, every day.

    Biodiversity: this is the assembly of life that took a billion years to evolve. It has eaten the storms, folded them into its genes and created the world that created us. It holds the world steady (E.O. Wilson). 

    (This year's theme of Island Biodiversity was chosen to coincide with the designation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States. In addition, the theme was chosen to correspond with the timing of COP decision XI/15 paragraph 1(a) “to strengthen the implementation of the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity”.)

  • LAB showcased in the Guardian
    Published News

    A recent article in The Guardian (UK) newspaper notes the role of city governments and the pioneering work of LAB participants as a way of enhancing biodiversity in urban areas.


    The article discusses the importance of biodiversity in urban areas. Whilst the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity can be stark, the article showcases examples of cities where wildlife not only survives, but can indeed thrive. View the full article here!

  • Save the Date! 2014 LAB Symposium
    Published News

    ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability is proud to announce the 2014 LAB Symposium- BiodiverCities without Boundaries: Science, Policy & Local Governance to be held in the beautiful city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan from 23-25 June 2014.

    kaoshiung front page.jpgThe Symposium aims to provide attendees with information relating to the latest research on biodiversity and ecosystem services within cities and global case studies of best practice in biodiversity management from cities and experts around the world. Two days of formal symposium will be followed by an optional field trip to some magnificent culturally and ecologically rich locations in Taiwan's natural areas.
    We welcome you to SAVE THE DATE and look forward to sending you further information, including the Symposium Program in due course.
  • Africa’s growing community of biodiversity informaticians strategise in Pretoria
    Published News

    More than 25 delegates representing 19 African countries gathered in Pretoria, South Africa, at the Pretoria National Botanical Garden from 25 to 27 March 2014. The purpose of this meeting was to implement an innovative and collaborative project aimed at ensuring that relevant biodiversity information is available to support efficient policy formulation and decision-making in Africa. The project, entitled, Mobilising Africa’s policy and decision-making relevant biodiversity data, is generously funded by the JRS


    More than 25 delegates representing 19 African countries gathered in Pretoria, South Africa, at the Pretoria National Botanical Garden from 25 to 27 March 2014. The purpose of this meeting was to implement an innovative and collaborative project aimed at ensuring that relevant biodiversity information is available to support efficient policy formulation and decision-making in Africa. 

    The project, entitled, Mobilising Africa’s policy and decision-making relevant biodiversity data, is generously funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation and co-ordinated by the Biodiversity Information Management (BIM) Directorate of SANBI in partnership with African Participants of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). ICLEI was represented by Georgina Avlonitis, Node Manager for ICLEI's Local Government data publishing portal.

    Convening a group of leading African biodiversity informaticians presented new opportunities for networking, mentoring and knowledge exchange. The momentum generated by such interactions aims to accelerate the mobilisation of policy-relevant biodiversity data. In doing so, it is anticipated that the business case for biodiversity informatics will become more self-evident and, consequently, this important field will draw greater financial, human and technical resources.

     The overarching aim of the project is to develop and implement a strategy for mobilising African biodiversity data while strengthening regional collaboration and capacity in biodiversity informatics. The strategy will set priorities for capturing, digitising and publishing biodiversity data with a view to reinforcing the knowledge base on which policies and decisions concerning biodiversity are made. 

     To this end, delegates to the workshop in Pretoria were asked to:

    • Decide what biodiversity data is required for making evidence-based policies and decisions in their respective countries;
    • Map institutional landscapes to determine the significant sources and repositories of required biodiversity data;
    • Determine the current availability and accessibility of required biodiversity data;
    • Set priorities for the mobilisation (collection, digitisation and publication) of required biodiversity  data; and
    • Identify regional capacity constraints in biodiversity informatics and, accordingly, agree on the type of training to be provided at subsequent workshops.

     In biodiversity conservation, natural resources management and, indeed, many other sectors, biodiversity data is essential for evidence-based policymaking. For example, economic policymakers require data on traded biological products like timber, food and medicine; agricultural policymakers require data on pollinators, pests, crop diversity and genetically modified organisms (GMOs); water policymakers require data on biological indicators and invasive alien species; and health policymakers require data on pathogens and disease vectors.

  • ICLEI Member Cape Town awarded global Earth Hour Capital 2014
    Published News

    All 6 South African entries demonstrate the ambition and action of local government in South Africa; this ambition should be further supported and resourced by national stakeholders


    MyCiti Cycling Route Launch.jpg

    The Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) has awarded Cape Town, South Africa the title Global Earth Hour Capital 2014. 

    The city is recognized for its ambition and pioneering actions to combat climate change in its effort to bolster quality of life for its citizens. Cape Town succeeds last year’s winner Vancouver, Canada.

    The Earth Hour City Challenge is a recurring year-long competition designed to mobilise action and support from cities in the global transition towards a climate friendly, one-planet future. In a partnership between WWF and ICLEI, ICLEI provided the use of its carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) as the reporting platform for the initiative. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – Africa mobilized South African municipalities to take part, supporting six to select and upload their actions, commitments and performance to the cCCR. After the first round, Durban was selected a national finalist alongside Cape Town.

    All South African cities have the potential to be Earth Hour Capitals and the win reinforces the necessity for local governments to be recognised, resourced and included in national decision-making as South Africa seeks to meet its ambitious climate change and development goals.

    In the final round of the global competition, in which Cape Town was up against 14 global finalists, the city stood out as a role model for the global South with a showcase of green programs and actions other cities can replicate. The city has taken bold steps towards transitioning its energy system away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy with its roll out of a solar water-heating program. Community engagement on sustainability issues and strong progress with energy efficiency, especially a large-scale retrofitting program for its buildings stock, were other pioneering actions highlighted. Sarah Ward, Head of Energy and Climate Change at the City of Cape Town, said: “This is affirmation for the citizens that they are doing the right thing. We can all be proud of that, together.”

    Jenny Clover, Senior Manager at ICLEI – Africa, commented: "This outstanding win demonstrates the primary role of local governments in driving and facilitating a low-carbon transition in emerging economies; for the benefit of citizens. It is a win of which all South Africans can be proud."

    Over 160 cities from 14 countries joined the competition, more than double the participation from last year. This was the first time South Africa was a part. Municipalities that entered the competition included eThekwini (Durban), Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane (Pretoria), and Buffalo City (East London). Stories relating to the actions that these cities are taking, from Green Building Incentive Schemes, to purchasing green electricity, have been uploaded to the WWF website. A poster showcasing the highlights of all the cities entries is available here.

    The EHCC jury of experts selected Cape Town after a shortlist and final review of 14 city finalists from across the world. WWF South Africa’s CEO Morné du Plessis said: “We are very proud of Cape Town’s efforts towards becoming a sustainable city. This is a real feather in the cap for Cape Town considering the competition it was up against.”

    Sarah Ward of the City of Cape Town added: “Here’s to all South African cities becoming Earth Hour Capitals.”

  • LAB: Wetlands & Communities workshop
    Published News

    The City of Tshwane and ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center hosted the first LAB: Wetlands & Communities workshop at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve on 20 – 21 February 2014.


    The workshop was the first time that the various stakeholders had come together to discuss the development of a Local Government Wetland Management Plan and a pilot project at Colbyn Valley wetland.

    Opening the workshop, Ms Dorah Nteo, Strategic Executive Director for the City of Tshwane’s Sustainability Unit in the Office of the Executive Mayor, spoke of the importance of environmental sustainability and wetlands to the City of Tshwane, as well as the role of the Sustainability Unit in creating a sustainable, world-class city.

    The enthusiasm and engagement of the delegates ensured that the processes was very successful and was hugely inspiring. Outcomes of the workshop will now be formalised by ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center and the City of Tshwane and fed into the development of the Wetland Management Plan.

  • ICLEI Secretary General and Governor of Gangwon Province agree on mutual cooperation for hosting Cities Biodiversity Summit during CBD COP12
    Published News

    On 26th of February, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability’s Secretary General, Gino van Begin met with the Governor of Gangwon Province at the Gangwon Provincial Government Building to congratulate the Province on their agreement to host the “Cities Biodiversity Summit” during the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP12) and to enhance mutual cooperation between the two parties for a successful event.


    On 26th of February, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability’s Secretary General, Gino van Begin met with the Governor of Gangwon Province at the Gangwon Provincial Government Building to congratulate the Province on their agreement to host the “Cities Biodiversity Summit” during the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP12) and to enhance mutual cooperation between the two parties for a successful event.

    ICLEI and Gangwon.jpg

    Picture (above right): (from left) Mr. Ji Soon-sik, Chief of Event Operational Section, Support Group of Gangwon-do of CBD COP 12; Ms. Park Yeon-hee, Director of ICLEI KO; Mr. Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General; Mr. Choi Moon-soon, Governor of Gangwon Province; Mr. Kim Duk-lae, Director of Green Resource Bureau; Mr. Moon Nam-soo, Chief of Environmental Policy Section, Green Resource Bureau.

    The Cities Biodiversity Summit, which will be co-hosted by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability and Gangwon Province, will take place during the CBD COP 12, from 12-14 of October and will involve the participation of international delegates covering nearly every major region of the world, biodiversity experts, scientists and NGOs alike, for what is sure to be a knowledge-packed and dynamic city and sub-national summit.                                                                            

    “It is a great honor to host Biodiversity Summit in Gangwon Province where [our own] rich biodiversity exists…” said the Governor, Choi Moon-soon, “I will do my best to make the summit a milestone event where not only Gangwon Province, but also all other international local governments focus on the biodiversity agenda and have interactive [discussions] to solve the issues [we face].”

     “[ICLEI] will cooperate with Gangwon Province to make the Biodiversity Summit a place for developing and implementing agendas to enhance biodiversity by all local governments from around the world…I also expect that this will be a great opportunity to emphasize the role of local governments in achieving the sustainable development goals,” commented ICLEI Secretary General, Gino van Begin.

    Govenor of Gangwon and ICLEI Secretary General.jpg

    Above: ICLEI Secretary General, Gino van Begin and Mr. Choi Moon-soon, Governor of Gangwon Province exchanging gifts.

    South Korea is a country of great ecological wealth and it is hoped by Ms. Park Yeon-Hee, director of the ICLEI Korea Office that, “through the Biodiversity Summit, the efforts of Korean local government on biodiversity will be broaden and improved.”

    Among other things, the Summit will take stock of progress since the previous Cities Biodiversity Summit at the CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad, India; outline the latest tools, initiatives and networks, illustrating throughout, the value of bringing nature back into cities; and forge further concrete action points for national, subnational and local governments, international development organisations, and the scientific community for implementing the Plan of Action.


  • City of Tshwanenominated for World GBC Government Leadership Awards
    Published News

    LAB member, City of Tshwane, has been nominated for the World Green Building Council (GBC) Government Leadership Awards, which will be hosted during November as part of COP-19 of the UNFCCC, Warsaw Poland.


    The World GBC Government Leadership Awards, organised in partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and UN-cot-logo1.gifHabitat, rewards international best practice in city-level government policy for green building initiatives.  The awards promote leadership and inspire governments to replicate best practices in green building policy.

    “Tackled the right way, green building programs can reduce carbon emissions, cut costs, create jobs and revitalise entire communities and cities. The Government Leadership Awards demonstrates how local and regional governments can capture the benefits of green building now and well into the future,” says the WorldGBC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Henley.

    The Cities Biodiversity Center wishes the City of Tshwane every success at the awards!

  • URBES training workshop (13-15 November 2013): on monetary and non-monetary valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services
    Published News


    URBES flyer.jpg

Recent Events

  • Biodiversity Summit For Cities & aSubnational Governments 2014
    No type

    Biodiversity Summit For Cities & Subnational Governments 2014. Download it here.

  • Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments 2014 (Korean)
    No type

    Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments 2014 (Korean) Download it here.

  • IUCN World Parks Congress 2014

    The IUCN World Parks Congress is a landmark global forum on protected areas held every ten years. As the world’s most influential gathering of people involved in protected area management, it sets the global agenda for the following decade.

    For more visit

  • Biodiversity Summit for Cities & Subnational Governments 2014
  • CBD COP 12

    The twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will engage in a mid-term review of the implementation of the Strategic Plan and the Aichi targets. The theme of the meeting will be 'Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.' The Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP MOP 7) will take place immediately before COP 12.

  • Resilient Cities

    For more visit

  • Third International Climate Adaptation Conference

    For more visit

  • Resilience 2014

    For more visit

  • 3rd Biodivercities

    For more visit,91,0/BiodiverCities.html

  • World Urban Forum 7

    World Urban Forum 7
    Medellin, Colombia
    5-7 April, 2014

    For more visit

  • 5th Biennial C40 Mayors Summit

    Led by new C40 Chair & Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes, former Chair, 108th Mayor of New York City, and President of the C40 Board Michael Bloomberg and Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Parks Tau, the fifth biennial C40 Mayors Summit will convene mayors from the world’s largest cities for three days to advance urban solutions to the climate crisis. More here.

  • Biodiversity & Development workshops

    For Gauteng-based local government officials, we invite you to a series of workshops on Biodiversity & Development. The workshops will introduce biodiversity in local government mandates, plus how and why to consider biodiversity in spatial planning, disaster-risk reduction and environmental planning. Please note the workshops are free-of-charge but space is limited and is offered on a first-come first-served basis. RSVPs (with workshop dates you will be attending) should be sent to- Liz Metcalfe Tel: +27 21 202 0391 Email: Do


    wnload the flyer here.

  • First Sustainable development Implementation Forum

    The UN Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD) will host the first annual Sustainable Development Implementation Forum (SDIF) sometime in early 2014, in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The SDIF aims to serve as a global platform for sharing best practices in formulating and implementing sustainable development programmes, reviewing evidence of impact, and charting out new and improved pathways for sustainable development implementation. The programme of the annual SDIF also will include topics related to: scaling up implementation; finding effective solutions to address implementation constraints and challenges; examining emerging issues in the context of planning and implementation; promoting the science-policy-practice interface to ensure the transition towards sustainability; and promoting and facilitating partnerships, as well as building communities of practice. The SDIF will include high-level policy dialogues, training sessions, seminars, side events, and expert panel discussions covering key cross-cutting sustainable development and green economy issues and good practices in strategy-making and policy implementation. The Forum was originally scheduled for 28-31 October 2013 but has been postponed. More information:

  • Background Paper for 1st URBES Training Session, November 2013, Barcelona

    November 2013the URBES project.jpg

    Monetary and non-monetary valuation of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services

    Download the Background paper for the 1st URBES training session here.

  • 1st Session on monetary and non-monetary valuation of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services

    13-15 November, 2013, Barcelona, Escola Industrial

    No registration fees! Downloda the invitation  here.ICLEI-invitation-Barcelona-21-08-2013-B.jpg

    This first of three training sessions will offer a unique opportunity to gain knowledge on the latest science of the values of Urban Biodiversity, which will be immediately applicable in ongoing city development processes. A 2,5 days interactive training session focused on the monetary and non-monetary valuation of ecosystem services in the urban environment, will bring together European top scientists and practitioners to share the latest knowledge and best practices in the field. Participants will gain in-depth knowledge about an ecosystem services approach to management, and its values for an integrated and sustainable urban development. They will also increase their understanding of valuation tools and methods. Pre-register now by sending an e-mail to 

    Official registration on the website will be opened by the end of September. Further information on

    URBES is a three-year research project funded by BiodivERsA that aims to bridge the knowledge gap on the links between urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services. It informs urban management and decision-makers on how to best integrate the natural environment and human needs. The project consortium consists of world-leading research institutes on sustainable urban development, based in Europe and the USA (New York).

  • Local Climate Solutions (LOCS) for Africa Congress
    ICLEI Conference

    The Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2013 Congress:Web panel ad.jpg

    Africa transitioning: embracing urbanization, responding to change and harnessing opportunities

    Where: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    When: 30 October – 1 November

    Who: leaders and technical officials from local government and their associations across Africa, technical experts and researchers, national governments, development partners, business, industry, NGO’s.

    Convened by: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and Dar es Salaam City Council

    Click HERE for the LOCS website.


    Across Africa, urbanisation presents new and multiple development opportunities and challenges at the local level. Globally more than half of the world’s population resides in cities and urban areas, severely increasing pressure on essential services, infrastructure and natural systems which underpins economies and social well-being. Security and access issues pertaining to water, energy and food are projected to be exacerbated through climate change, most affecting the vulnerable within society.

    These challenges calls for innovative solutions – A transition in Africa towards embracing urbanization, responding to change and harnessing opportunities.

    The biennial Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2013 Congress series provides a unique and accessible platform for African local governments, their associations, national governments, scientists and experts, NGO’s,  development partners and business to engage on the complex issues and innovative solutions related to urbanisation in Africa through the context of climate resilience.

    With its strategically cross-cutting and interlinked Congress themes, Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2013 will provide a key opportunity to strengthen the sharing of global good practice and locally appropriate solutions and technologies towards accelerated climate action on the ground. Congress themes will include a strong emphasis on local leadership, financing and accelerated integrated action at the local and sub-national level, underpinned by a special focus on integrated planning towards addressing climate resilience in Africa.

    LOCS for Africa 2013 is a unique platform for advancing new partnerships and consolidated local climate action on the continent for the global common good. The Congress series brings together a wide range of global and regional partners and programmes. Networks and institutions interested to partner in Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2013 are invited to contact the ICLEI Congress team.

    For more on the Congress Partners, please see here.

    The Local Climate Solutions for Africa Series: LOCS 2011 OutcomesLoCS Closing Plenary

    The upcoming Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2013 Congress will build on the remarkable successes achieved at the inaugural LOCS event (, which saw the participation of over 50 African cities from 25 countries, as well as high level dignitaries from national government, research agencies, business and other organisations. A key outcome of the event, the African Mayors Climate Change Declaration, has fed into various international climate advocacy forums.

    For a comprehensive list of the various outcomes and partners of the LOCS 2011 Congress, we welcome you to visit the Outcomes Page. The 2011 Congress has featured in various newspapers and publications, while a number of exciting events and interesting press releases are available. The official Congress Declaration can be downloaded from the Outcomes page. For more information, please contact us

    Please visit the LoCS Image Gallery to view selected photographs from the event.

    ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability– Africa

    ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, is the world’s leadingassociation of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development. ICLEI is a powerful movement of 12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities as well as 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries.

    On the ground ICLEI offers a wide suite of training and capacity building tools and projects, local sustainability planning and project implementation, exchange programmes, sharing of good practice and building leadership and networks in an urban context – all towards more sustainable, resilient and efficient cities and towns across the globe.

    ICLEI Africa, the regional office for ICLEI in Africa, is based in Cape Town, South Africa and collaborates closely with the global ICLEI network and other regional offices around the world, in sharing tools, materials and strategies and good practices specifically designed and implemented at the local level.

    The Secretariat has seen continual growth over the past years, to its current total of 69 member local governments, in 18 different countries across Africa.

    ICLEI Africa’s key environmental work streams within the Secretariat includes:

    • Climate Resilience

    • Low Emission Development

    • Integrated Urban Water Management

    • Urban Biodiversity and

    • Integrated Urban Planning

  • CBO Book Launch, New York
    World Day

    CBO Book launch.jpg

  • EcoCity World Summit


    ECOCITY 2013, the collective place and moment to build a common culture among sustainable city players, a platform to accelerate the transition on a global scale. Click HERE for more information.


  • 2013 International BiodiverCities Conference
    ICLEI Conference

    Biodiversity Conservation in a Changing Climate

    The nature of things to come

    The City of Joondalup in collaboration with the ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and the Western Australian Local Government Association is pleased to be hosting the 2013 International BiodiverCities Conference.

    This three day conference will be held on the 9-11 September 2013 at the Joondalup Resort, Perth, Western Australia. Not only will you get to enjoy an extensive conference program but it will be Spring and wildflower season, a perfect time to visit Western Australia to see the diverse array of native wildflowers bloom in spectacular colour.

    The program will feature field trips, key note and parallel session presentations from regional and international environmental experts addressing biodiversity conservation in a changing climate. Topics covered will be:

    • Managing impacts of climate change on local biodiversity
    • Assessing and managing coastal vulnerability
    • Partnerships to enhance biodiversity
    • Community education and public participation
    • Biodiversity for carbon sequestration
    • Integration of biodiversity into the urban landscape.

    Anthocercis littoreaThe official program for the 2013 International Biodiversity Conference will be released soon with more detailed information about the conference and its key-note speakers.

    The first day of the conference will be opened by Professor Tim Flannery, awarded the 2007 Australian of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to research on climate change and the environment. This scientist, explorer and conservationist has made contributions of international significance to the fields of palaeontology, mammalogy and conservation and to the understanding of science in the broader community. Our keynote speaker line-up to date:

    • Professor Tim Flannery, Scientist, Explorer and Conservationist
    • Professor Stephen D. Hopper AC, Winthrop Professor of Biodiversity, Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management, and School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia
    • Dr Michael Dunlop, Land Water Biodiversity Climate Analyst, CSIRO, Australia
    • Dr Paul Hardisty, Director of the National Climate Adaptation Flagship, CSIRO, Australia
    • Dr Debra Roberts, Director of Climate Change, EThewini Municipality, Durban, South Africa
    • Professor Bruce Clarkson, Director of Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, New Zealand
    • Anissa Lawrence, Director, TierraMar Consulting, Australia
    • Dr Asa Gren, Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden
    • Professor Kingsley Dixon, Director of Science – Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Australia (Conference Dinner Speaker)
    • Professor Haripriya Gundimeda, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India
    • Dr Berthold Seibert, Project Director, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity
    • Craig Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Greening Australia WA
    • Professor Lei Yang, Centre for Water Studies, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan
    • Mr Andre Mader, Program Officer, Convention of Biological Diversity Secretariat, Montreal, Canada

    View the video of the conference here!

    The Biodivercities Conference Flyer and Biodivercities Conference Sponsorship Pack are now available.

    For further information please contact the City on 61 8 9400 4397 or via email.

  • The 6th Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference

    Venue: Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort (PPNBR)

    Organised by the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) and convened by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and CGIAR Research Program: Forests, Trees and Agroforestry in collaboration with the Sub Global Assessment Program coordinated by UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the UNCCD-Global Mechanism, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE), A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES), and other ESP partners.

    Click HERE for more information.

  • World Cities Summit Mayor's Forum
  • Durban Adaptation Charter workshop

    Pioneering cities and experts meet to pave the way for implementation of the Durban Adaptation Charter

    Durban, South Africa, 25 March 2013

    Local government thought leaders from around the world, including representatives from Bulawayo, Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Gorakphur, Hanoi, Lagos, London, Mandurah, Quintana Roo and Thimphu met in Durban from the 20th to 23rd March to further the implementation of a set of political commitments towards addressing the impacts of climate change , known as the Durban Adaptation Charter. The workshop identified numerous needs from local governments, echoing many of the currently available approaches to climate change adaptation. These included inter alia: data, information, access to funding, global advocacy, capacity, leadership, national support, integration with local agendas and plans, city-to-city sharing via exchange visits. Further innovative ideas were put forward and foremost amongst topics discussed was the need for tracking mechanisms to track and assess effectiveness of adaptation measures at the local level. Most critical was the identification of a dual approach to engaging policy- and decision-makers and that of local government practitioners through separate but complimentary mechanisms. The local government thought leaders provided guidance on establishing a governance framework that will draw on the expertise of multiple organizations and that is designed to advance the international profile of adaptation as well as provide on-going implementation support for signatories.

    EThekwini Municipality, under the leadership of Mayor James Nxumalo, ICLEI Vice President and head of the ICLEI resilience portfolio, is seeking to further the implementation of the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC) for Local Governments by assessing mechanisms to assist signatories to turn political commitment into strategic action. The Durban Adaptation Charter for Local Governments (was the primary output of a local government convention held in parallel with the UNFCCC COP17, led by eThekwini Municipality, the South African Local Government Association, South African Cities Network, South African Department of Environmental Affairs, South African Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. During this momentous gathering in December 2011 the Charter was signed by 107 mayors and elected officials representing 950 local governments globally. Since then the number of signatories has grown to 971, including local governments that signed at a ceremony at the ICLEI World Congress in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, prior to RIO+20. By signing the charter, leaders pledge their political commitment to strengthen local level adaptive capacity to climate change, and undertake to become key drivers and champions for the local government adaptation agenda.

    To further ensure a concrete implementation path for the DAC, an Implementation Guidance Workshop was held in Durban from the 20 to 23 March 2013. This event was hosted by eThekwini, funded by USAID, through the ICMA and CityLinks program and organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability –Africa. In his opening address Mayor Nxumalo, said, “Ethekwini Municipality and a growing list of partners are advancing on the Durban Adaptation Charter with the Resilient Cities Congress as the platform for the annual review. Through this Implementation Guidance Workshop, we will further identify potential governance mechanisms, the need for support for the implementation of the DAC and for appropriate mechanisms for documenting progress.

    ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin, who presented during the opening plenary said: “our hope would be that this workshop would trigger the potential for further funding, fostering a multi-regional approach that will multiply these experiences to other DAC cities, serving to strengthen implementation of adaptation actions and foster the recruitment of new cities to the DAC”. The outcomes from this workshop will be taken forward via two key outputs, a summary report of findings and a concept note for furthering the development of a long term secretariat for the DAC. The findings will also be presented at the upcoming Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn, Germany, from 31 May to 2 June 2013.