Cities Biodiversity Center

Recent News

  • Urban SDG Campaign Statement out now!
    Published News

    The Urban Sustainable Development Goals has been released. Read the press release here!


    Sustainable cities and regions matter now more than ever. They hold the key to the future of our societies,our economy and planetary health. Through a series of bold and visionary actions, we can collectively grasp that future and make it real, for all people everywhere.

    Follow the Urban SDGs on social media

    Read the full statement here!

  • Humanity depletes Earth’s yearly budget in less than 8 months
    Published News

    Each year Earth Overshoot Day is observed; a day that marks the date when Earth has used up its yearly resources and that date this year is August 19. In


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    Today, 19 August, is Earth Overshoot Day - the day that the global demand for natural resources annually exceeds that which can be replenished this year. In less than eight months Earth has managed to use up an entire year’s worth of environmental resources and each year it is happening sooner. This means that for the rest of the year we will be drawing credit on resources that we have, in effect borrowing from the Earth. The Global Footprint Network measures this demand and charts our generation of carbon dioxide and the results are alarming.

    Read the full press release here and visit the Global Footprint Network site here.

  • Edmonton harnesses people-power for biodiversity management
    Published News

    A member of the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) programme since 2007, the City of Edmonton in Canada continues to make head-way in urban biodiversity conservation with the release of a new app to identify invasive plants in the city.


    The ‘Alberta Weed Spotter’ is a free application that gives local residents the opportunity to participate and enhance biodiversity management across the city, encouraging citizens to engage with nature and help identify areas where invasive alien plant species are present.

     A major threat to biodiversity, invasive alien species are plants and animals which out-compete local species, impacting ecosystems and disrupting the vital services that they provide. As such, invasive alien species can become a burden on municipalities, both in terms of management costs and from loss of critical ecosystem services. 

    The Alberta Weed Spotter helps users to identify the region’s most notorious and damaging invaders such as the Broad-leaved Pepper-grass, which infest damp areas such as wetlands and floodplains, displacing native vegetation and disrupting waterfowl nesting sites. When a listed species is spotted, the app user can use their cell phone to report the species, providing the municipality with locality and species information and allowing them to identify areas of concern quicker and more efficiently.

     Edmonton is well-supported by an active community, and much of the work done to date has been accomplished through partnerships with citizen groups. The app further encourages Edmontonians to help support the municipality’s efforts to eradicate invasive alien species and to work together with the City to enhance biodiversity. It also provides an excellent way of connecting citizens with biodiversity matters, encouraging them to engage with nature and to learn about biodiversity and the threats.

    For more information, visit

  • LAB Pioneer Helsingborg shows excellence in biodiversity conservation!
    Published News

    ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center is very proud to announce that the City of Helsingborg, a participant in the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Program and ICLEI member, came 2nd overall in an independent survey of municipalities in Sweden, to determine those doing the most to place nature at the heart of the city.


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    ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center is very proud to announce that the City of Helsingborg, a participant in the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Program and ICLEI member, came 2nd overall in an independent survey of municipalities in Sweden, to determine those doing the most to place nature at the heart of the city.

    Undertaken by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), the survey has highlighted the excellent work undertaken by Helsingborg.

    Through an extensive process, the survey determined how well municipalities are making strides towards conserving and managing natural areas, and increasing citizen’s access to nature. Helsingborg scored an admirable 39.5 points out of 45 for its work to identify the importance of nature for the municipality, and in setting targets and actions for biodiversity conservation and management.

    Cities fair best for biodiversity conservation

    Intending to bring attention to the role of local governments in biodiversity conservation, the survey also hopes to encourage other municipalities to enhance biodiversity conservation activities. The survey highlighted that those municipalities doing the most effective work are remarkably, often in urban areas. The ten municipalities with the greatest populations averaged 25.7 points in the survey, compared to the average of 18.8 points for all the municipalities surveyed.

    Work continues within the City of Helsingborg

    Helsingborg is currently part of ICLEI’s Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) program, which seeks to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services through municipal planning and on-the-ground actions. Having completed their Biodiversity Assessment Report, Helsingborg is currently in the process of creating a Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to ensure their excellent work continues into the future.

    For more information on Helsingborg’s participation in LAB, visit:


    Photo: Creative Commons, by Lars Nilsson.

  • New publication: A Primer on Nature in Cities!
    Published News

    ICLEI Canada and the Toronto and Region Conservation launch their latest resource on biodiversity, biodiverCities: A Primer on Nature in Cities!

    Canada biodiversity launch.jpg
    ICLEI Canada and the Toronto and Region Conservation launch their latest resource on biodiversity, biodiverCities: A Primer on Nature in Cities!
    With the majority of the world's population living in urban areas, its time to ask how they can become more livable, sustainable and resilient. biodiverCities explores why biodiversity should be the business of everyone committed to building more sustainable cities.

    Visit ICLEI Canada's site to download the resource!
  • 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."

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    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.


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    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.


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    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


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    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


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Recent Events

  • Resilient Cities

    For more visit

  • Third International Climate Adaptation Conference

    For more visit

  • Resilience 2014

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  • 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

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    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.