Cities Biodiversity Center

Recent News

  • An interview with the CBD's Braulio Dias on why biodiversity is locally important
    Published News

    Yeonhee from the ICLEI Korean office speaks to the CBD's Braulio Dias and discusses why biodiversity is not only important at an international level but also on the local.


    An interview with Yeonhee of ICLEI Korea and Braulio Dias, Braulio NEWS Content.jpgExecutive Secretary - Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),  explaining why biodiversity is not only an international issue but also a local one.





  • Policy relevent biodiversity data for sound decision making in Africa
    Published News

    To sustain ecosystems and biodiversity, we must manage them effectively. But how can we manage, what we cannot measure? Biodiversity data is critical to make informed policies and sound science is necessary for sound decision making. All too often, policymaking is impeded by a lack of adequate and accessible data, exacerbated by poor coordination between countries. GBIF is an international, inter‐governmental partnership dedicated to making information on the world’s biodiversity accessible to governments, researchers and the public everywhere. Cities have the opportunity to change that throug


    To sustain ecosystems and biodiversity, we must manage them effectively. But how can we manage, what we cannot measure? Biodiversity data is critical to make informed policies and sound science is necessary for sound decision making. All too often, policymaking is impeded by a lack of adequate and accessible data, exacerbated by poor coordination between countries. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international, inter‐governmental partnership dedicated to making information on the world’s biodiversity accessible to governments, researchers and the public everywhere. Cities have the opportunity to change that through the tools and mechanisms offered by GBIF, at the very least in so far as local government biodiversity data is concerned. 

    Georgina Avlonitis, Node Manager of ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center’s Local Government associate node for GBIF, recently travelled to Benin to represent local governments at the 5th GBIF African Regional Meeting (1-5 July), which was held in Cotonou, Benin this year. Here data managers and curators from around Africa gathered to discuss and agree on a strategy to best mobilize Africa’s biodiversity data. On the second day, the JRS-funded workshop was held by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), with a focus on mobilizing policy and decision-making relevant biodiversity data to ensure that the use of biodiversity data contributes towards informed and sustainable decision-making whilst contributing towards country level socio-economic developmental objectives. All nodes worked together on agreeing on a set of priorities based on regional needs that would help with the proactive collection, collation and management of biodiversity data.

    Also present was GBIF's Executive Secretary, Donald Hoburn who, addressing an audience at the launch of Benin's biodiversity data publishing portal on the third day of the meeting, said: " The more data we have, the more we can understand. GBIF helps countries to work together to share data, tools and expertise. This combined network already includes data for every country in the world...As a result, we can see that efforts in many countries combine to help us all gain access to essential information on biodiversity at local, national, regional and global levels...We are here today because we are collaborators in an important task."

    GBIF pic.jpg

    ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center's Georgina Avlonitis, GBIF Africa's Node managers, researchers and data publishers together with Donald Hoburn, Executive Secretary of the Global Biodiversity Institute and Benin Minister for Environment, Mr Raphael Edou at the launch event of Benin's Biodiversity Data Publishing Portal. 

    Perhaps the greatest challenge of our time is to usher in a new era of sustainable development; one in which human well-being and social equity are meaningfully improved, while ecological scarcities and environmental risks are reduced. The process is complicated, yet amoung the diversity of actors working towards this cause there is almost unanimous recognition of the essential role that data will play in the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals framework. For more information on local government data publishing, please contact

  • 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.


  • Why SDGs should have cities and biodiversity
    Published News

    ICLEI’s Shela Patrickson is attending the UN’s 8th Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this week to shine the light on why cities and biodiversity matter in sustainable development.


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    Addressing the member states as ICLEI’s delegation head, Shela Patrickson convincingly made the case on why ICLEI, the world’s largest global cities network on sustainability, is advocating for a single Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on cities, and for biodiversity to be integrated in all SDGs as a cross cutting theme. This is in line with ICLEI's engagement in the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments in the Post 2015 Development Agenda Towards HABITATIII.

    Throughout the week, Patrickson participated as the Speaker from the Floor at the Morning Hearings of Major Groups on Forests and Biodiversity, attended a Joint Side Event where ICLEI acted as one of the collaborators together with IUCN, CBD and national governments, and delivered the Local Authorities Major Group (LAMG) intervention on the agenda item related to biodiversity, taking into account the successful outcomes of the OWG7 and progress achieved within the Global Task Force.

    In her plenary statement, she said that: “Biodiversity underpins the very survival of the world’s population, and the majority of that population lives in cities. The number of urban dwellers is projected to almost double again by 2050, which means that the same amount of urban infrastructure needs to be developed to cater for this growth over the next 35 years, as has been established over the last 4000 years. This vast and rapid urbanization is going to impact all we currently do or have done until now in all spheres of policy, governance and implementation."

    "If one out of two will live cities in Urban World of 2030, UrbanSDG is not an option, but a must to reach global goals"


    Why biodiversity and ecosystem services matter in cities

    Cities rely on biodiversity at a fundamental level, as does the rest of the world’s population. They have a disproportionate impact on biodiversity as they consume a proportionally large percentage of the world’s natural resources, with impacts on biodiversity, both within and without the city boundaries. This means that there needs to be cross-boundary partnerships between local, subnational and national governments, as well as the linkages between urban and rural areas, to address biodiversity loss and sustainable consumption.

    At the same time, cities have the significant potential to be part of the solution, as they are where much of the implementation of national goals and policies will take place.

    More importantly, urban areas often contain very rich amounts of biodiversity, contributing significantly to global biodiversity, and many essential ecosystem services are provided by urban biodiversity for urban dwellers.

    In addition, urban biodiversity delivers ecosystem services that can bring about the: reduction of the impacts of climate change; resilience against disasters like flooding and droughts; assisting in storm water management, regulation of temperature; improving food and water security; contributing to livelihoods and addressing poverty. Urban biodiversity also provides habitats for species, such as pollinators, and connectivity for the movement of both fauna and flora. 

    Braulio Diaz, the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) remarked that, "Even built environments in cities are affected by biodiversity, for example, green spaces and agriculture in cities support conflict resolution and human health". 

    He added that: "Urbanization is a major global process, in the next 30 years the urban population will double at the cost of crop land. It has been shown that the quality of life in cities depends on urban biodiversity to reduce violence and address social issues. The increase in physical activities also improves health".

    Why cities and biodiversity matter to sustainability

    Much progress has been made recently to recognize that cities are important implementers of biodiversity solutions, and important partners alongside nations. (i.e. COP Decisions IX/28, X/22, and XI/8, and especially the “Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity” in 2010) The upcoming CBD COP12 in Korea, will see another opportunity to strengthen this movement through the side event: the Biodiversity Summit: Local and Subnational Governments for Sustainable Development.

    Summing up, Patrickson furthered that “Both biodiversity and cities, as well as biodiversity in cities, cannot be ignored if a comprehensive and meaningful set of SDGs is to be developed.”

    An urban SDG should therefore include biodiversity as a fundamental component due to cities reliance on biodiversity, the significant impact that they have, and the rich levels of biodiversity contained in urban areas. 

    Not only should there be a standalone Biodiversity SDG and Urban SDG, but biodiversity should also be integrated into many of the other SDGs as a core and cross-cutting theme.


    For more information:

             Further reading:

             The City Biodiversity Outlook


  • Why Biodiversity is Essential for Social and Economic Aspects of Sustainable Development: Perspectives and Country Experiences from Developing and Developed Countries
    Published News

    At this Event, countries from various regions of the world will discuss how biodiversity contributes to combating poverty, supporting livelihoods and promoting human well-being and socio-economic development, and how it can be effectively addressed in potential sustainable development goal(s). The Side Event is also expected to lay the groundwork for meaningful discussion on the theme of “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development” at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in October 2014 in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea.


    At the 8th Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Developments Goals, held in New York, a side event entitled Why Biodiversity is Essential for Social and Economic Aspects of Sustainable Development: Perspectives and Country Experiences from Developing and Developed Countries. The event focused on Urban Biodiversity and saw Shela Patrickson - Manager of ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center in South Africa – comment on how harmonising conservation with development is a challenge.

    “As the representative from the Government of India pointed out, harmonising conservation with development is a challenge. It is projected that 70% of the population will be urban by 2050, and to cater for this urban growth, almost the same amount of urban infrastructure needs to be put in place in the next 35 years as has been established over the last 4000 years. Much of this urbanisation will take place in biodiversity hotspots, with great impact on threatened and rare habitats and species. Conversely cities also consume a large proportion of the world’s natural resources, both within and without city boundaries. This means that partnerships between local, subnational and national governments are important. Cities are also where a lot of the implementation of national goals and objectives take place. In addition, consideration of rural issues is also important, but urban areas face different challenges and issues, and there needs to be consideration of the linkages between urban and rural areas.”

    Also in attendance was Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary of CBD, who specifically mentioned cities in his statement in the afternoon session on biodiversity and forests. Dias stated "even built environments in cities are affected by biodiversity, for example, green spaces and agriculture in cities support conflict resolution and human health". He went on to focus on the world’s growing population, specifically looking at the next 30 years, "urbanisation is a major global process, in the next 30 years the urban population will double at the cost of crop land. It has been shown that the quality of life in cities depends on urban biodiversity to reduce violence and address social issues. The increase in physical activities also improves health".


    In the Rio+20 outcome document, The Future We Want, governments at the highest-level reaffirmed the “intrinsic value of biological diversity as well as the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic values of biological diversity and its critical role in maintaining ecosystems that provide essential services which are critical foundations for sustainable development and human well-being.” Governments also   recognized the severity of the global loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems, and emphasized that these undermine global development, affecting food security and nutrition, the provision of and access to water and the health of the rural poor, as well as the overall well-being of people worldwide, including present and future generations. They indicated that this highlights the importance of the conservation of biodiversity, enhancing habitat connectivity and building ecosystem resilience. They also recognized that the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities make an important contribution to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and their wider application can support social well-being and sustainable livelihoods.

    The Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in decision XI/22 emphasized the crucial role of biodiversity in achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication through ecosystem services such as water, food provision and disaster risk reduction. In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution encouraging member countries to consider the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in developing the Post-2015 Development Agenda and in the process of establishing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the United Nations General Assembly.

  • World Wetlands Day – 2 February 2014
    Published News

    This World Wetlands Day, we reflect on the importance of wetlands – for local governments and for society at large. Wetlands provide a number of vital goods and services that society take advantage of every day. As well as providing water to drink and to nourish crops and livestock, wetlands have a significant role in the reduction of storm and flood impacts, soaking up excess water and providing storage for water in times of drought.


    However, across the globe, wetlands are being lost due infilling for development and through degradation and pollution. ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center is therefore delighted to be working with the City of Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipalities in South Africa, on the Lottery-funded LAB: Wetlands & Communities project.

    The first project workshops will be undertaken during February and April, and will bring together a range of local government stakeholders – such as stormwater engineers and town planners – with local communities to understand the issues and perceptions of wetlands and to determine a concerted way forward.

    We look forward to working with the City of Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality throughout 2014!

    For more information, contact


  • Lagos as a model city
    Published News

    A great piece by SETH D. KAPLAN in the New York Times on what makes Lagos a model city in a country that is facing serious poverty issues.


    Nigeria is arguably the worst run of the world’s seven most populated countries. Despite earning hundreds of billions of dollars in oil revenue over the past decade, it is expected by 2015, by some calculations, to have the second-most destitute people in the world after India. But its largest city, Lagos, which until recently was known as one of the world’s most difficult cities to govern, seems to have turned a corner.

    Read the full article here.

  • Sustainable cities become a fit place for everyone
    Published News

    The future of the biosphere – indeed, of humanity – will be determined in the cities and towns of the 21st century. Cities cover a mere 4 per cent of the planet’s surface, but account for 60-80 per cent of global energy consumption, 75 per cent of carbon emissions and more than 75 per cent of the world’s natural resources.


    With the United Nations Human Settlement Programme, UN-Habitat, projecting that 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, there simply cannot be a sustainable world without sustainable cities.

    Urbanisation has been accompanied by growing numbers of urban poor converging in slums, in inequitable and often life-threatening conditions that put increased pressure on the local environment.

    This is the case in one of the largest slums of South America, Vila Brasilandia, where CIFAL has been working for the past three years. This slum, with a population larger than Dundee, has been under pressure to find ways to reconcile deficient housing and the sustainable use of natural resources.

    The Forest Invades the City

    Bordering one of the remaining green belts of the 22 million people megalopolis Sao Paulo, it has been encroaching into the urban forest for many years. It recently launched “The Forest Invades the City”, an innovative campaign designed to lessen its impact on the neighbouring forest by planting native trees, installing grass roofs, and propagating edible plants in abandoned squares. 

    Read the rest of the article here.

  • 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!

  • Ecological Infrastructure and Water Security Dialogue
    Published News

    What is the role of ecological infrastructure in securing South Africa’s water future? How can nature help with the problems of water security, disaster risk reduction, rural development and job creation? How can business, government, water and biodiversity sectors work together to restore and maintain ecological infrastructure and improve efficiencies in the delivery of water and sanitation services?


    Join us at 9am on 20 November, in Durban, for a cross-disciplinary dialogue with national government, municipalities, water and biodiversity sectors on ecological infrastructure and water security at the launch of the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership.

    Registration is free but seats are limited. RSVP to to secure your seat at this exciting event. More information is available in the invitation, on the SANBI Grasslands Programme website and upon registration.


     Invitation to EIWSD1.jpg

  • Global Youth Biodiversity Network
    Published News

    The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) is an international network of youth organizations and individuals from all over the world whose common goal is to prevent the loss of biodiversity. As officially recognized youth constituency, GYBN is representing the voice of global youth in the negotiations under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). We raise awareness among young people of the values of biodiversity and connect individuals and youth organizations in order to build a global coalition to halt the loss of biodiversity.


    We are committed to bringing the opinions and positions of young people into the political arena, empowering young people to take action. GYBN seeks to inspire global youth and future leaders to work for sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity for a healthy environment and society. 

    To actively take part in GYBN - please join our mailing list at
    You can also become a fan of GYBN on facebook:
    For more information about GYBN check out

  • Nantes Declaration refuels hopes for local governments, as science calls for urgent climate actions
    Published News

    With the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report painting a clear and worrying picture regarding man-made climate change, cities and regions came together at the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change on Saturday to affirm their commitment to scale up climate actions, urge engagement with the global level on climate change, and enhance access to finance. The Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change was adopted with the support of over 50 mayors from 30 countries, and more than 20 regional and global networks of local and subnational governmen


    With the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report painting a clear and worrying picture regarding man-made climate change, cities and regions came together at the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change yesterday to affirm their commitment to scale up climate actions, urge engagement with the global level on climate change, and enhance access to finance.

    The Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change was adopted with the support of over 50 mayors from 30 countries, and more than 20 regional and global networks of local and subnational governments.

    Adoption of the Declaration marks the start of a new phase for the Local Government Climate Roadmap, an advocacy process aimed at recognizing, engaging and empowering local governments within the global climate regime.

    Among the innovative features of the renewed Local Government Climate Roadmap is the creation of a “Friends of Cities” group that brings together national governments who wish to collaborate with local and subnational governments. The Roadmap aims to pave the way to the UN Paris Climate Conference in 2015.

    Polish Vice-Minister of the Environment Beata Jaczewska said that the declaration will play an important role in the upcoming Convention of the Parties (COP) conference, to be held in November 2013 in Warsaw. The Polish Presidency will convene the first ever “Cities Day” that will bring together Ministers and Mayors during the high level segment on 21 November 2013.

    Mayors from around the world offered statements of support for the Declaration.

    Farhad Suri, Mayor of South Delhi, India, recalled the words of Gandhi while expressing his approval: “Our future is shaped by what we do today.”

    Mathew Appelbaum, Mayor of Boulder, Colorado, USA, spoke of the devastation of his city by extreme weather, and of the urgent need to turn words into action: “We recently experienced an incredible flood, in which a year’s worth of rain fell in four days. Events like the one that struck Boulder are becoming more common all around the globe. It’s clear cities are on the frontlines - we are suffering the impacts of climate change. Because of that we have to be leaders and mitigate and adapt in the face of climate change. I am delighted and proud to support the Nantes Declaration.”

    Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Executive Mayor of Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa, offered strong support, calling for a greater focus on the global south, as well as access to funding for much needed adaptation measures.

    The audience, comprised of local government leaders, national government officials, and international organization representatives, stood in applause upon the adoption. The adoption ceremony came on the second day of the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change, an event held under the patronage of François Hollande, President of the Republic of France and with the support of the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, which brought local leaders together to discuss funding climate actions.

    The Nantes Declaration was developed through a partnership with the Local Government Climate Roadmap and was facilitated by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

    For more information, visit Local Government Climate Roadmap.

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


    URBES flyer.jpg

  • A ‘nudge’ in the right direction: a tool for pro-environmental behaviour
    Published News

    An overview of research into ‘nudge’ theory and practices has recently been presented. While there is much evidence to show how humans make decisions, translating these psychological and economic insights into viable policy instruments that encourage behavioural change remains challenging, the authors conclude.


    An overview of research into ‘nudge’ theory and practices has recently been presented. While there is much evidence to show how humans make decisions, translating these psychological and economic insights into viable policy instruments that encourage behavioural change remains challenging, the authors conclude.

    The study draws on experiences from a range of sectors, including health and finance, which could help inform nudge strategies designed to encourage pro-environmental behaviour. Nudge strategies have arisen in response to modern society’s shift towards a focus on individuals, who are no longer passive to authority. This social change requires new ways for policymakers to interact with citizens.

    These strategies reject the idea that humans are rational, calculating and effective information processors. In fact, research suggests that people are less than perfect decision makers, and react according to social norms and pressures, as well as their own moral values.

    According to the researchers, the observation that people like to work in groups to achieve collective goals can have implications for environmental policy; governments should focus on developing institutional apparatus to enable this. For example, they propose the development of community websites or public events where environmental issues can be discussed.

    Insights from psychology and behavioural economics provide further clues as to how citizens can be approached in new ways to nudge their behaviour. For example, it is known that people are averse to loss: therefore fines are likely to be a more powerful motivator for changing behaviour than financial rewards. For the same reason, in the health sector, quit smoking campaigns that highlight life years lost through smoking have been more effective than campaigns which highlight life years gained by quitting.

    As humans, we place more weight on short-term rather than long-term threats or opportunities, for example, many are unmotivated to save for retirement. ‘Commitment mechanisms’ can therefore be built into public policies to place more focus on the short-term. The researchers highlight a pension saving programme with a ‘buy now pay later’ principle as a good example of this. Under this scheme, employees commit to making savings, but do not have to pay anything for the first two years.

    People are also often uncomfortable with change and keen to maintain the status quo. Policymakers can address this by altering the way choices are made to ensure that the default action maximises social welfare, for example, opt-out rather than opt-in schemes, such as automatic enrolment onto organ donation programmes in the health sector.

    Research shows that morality also plays a role in citizen behaviour. Paying for people to give blood, for example, can undermine social values and reduce willingness to donate. Financial incentives are therefore not always the best way to encourage public participation. According to research, nudge strategies can encourage more civically minded behaviour, at least in the short or medium term. However, more evidence needs to be gathered before they should be adopted, the researchers argue. There is still a strong case for the continued use of more conventional tools of government intervention based on rules and financial incentives. Environment policy provides a good example of where regulations can be used to underpin nudge interventions: i.e. the requirement for energy companies to publish information about average consumer usage to encourage individuals to reflect on their own energy usage.


    Source: Moseley, A. & Stoker, G. (2013) Nudging citizens? Prospects and pitfalls confronting a new heuristic.Resources, Conservation and Recycling. DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.04.008.


    Read more about:Environmental information servicesSustainable consumption and production



  • Statement from ICLEI BiodiverCities Advisory Committee on aligning biodiversity and climate change in local and subnational governments, towards UNFCCC COP 21
    Published News


    Based on discussions at the 5th ICLEI BiodiverCities Advisory Committee meeting, the themes emerging from the 2013 International BiodiverCities Conference, and the 2013 International Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Workshop, in Joondalup, Australia, over 8-12 September, the ICLEI BiodiverCities Advisory Committee has drafted a statement urging the ICLEI Global Executive Committee to recognise the importance of urban biodiversity in achieving sustainable development and human well-being, and in addressing global environmental change (and particularly climate change). Find the statement here.

  • URBIO Multinational Gathering
    Published News


    From the 22nd to 23rd of July, URBIO (International Network of Urban Biodiversity and Design) group, headquartered at the University of Applied Sciences, Erfurt, hosted a multinational gathering of urban ecologists and landscape architects. The meeting, funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) & German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and supported by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, aimed to progress the URBIO group’s position of identifying research priorities, from an academic point of view, as a means of eventually advising the Parties to the CBD. This workshop chaired by URBIO president Norbert Müller began drafting a global research agenda on urban biodiversity and ecosystem services, to be made available for comment online so that it can be refined in the lead-up to the next URBIO conference in Korea and next meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD. The Secretariat of the CBD and ICLEI are currently exploring the most meaningful ways in which this agenda can be relayed to Parties at the COP so that it may influence biodiversity-related decision-making worldwide.

    Figure2 (640x480).jpg

    Image- From left to right: URBIO 2014 Organiser Prof. Dr. Nam Choon Kim (Dankook University, Cheonan-City, South Korea),– Workshop Chair and URBIO President Prof. Dr. Norbert Müller (University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Erfurt, Germany),– URBIO 2012 Organiser and URBIO Secretary General Prof. Dr. Haripriya Gundimeda (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India), 

Recent Events

  • 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.