At the Positive Nature Pavilion, I was pleased to welcome representatives of local government members of IUCN, such as the government of Catalonia, the cities of Paris and Marseille, the Ile-de-France and South regions, for a dialogue on their analysis of the global biodiversity framework. Having a 2050 vision for cities and regions means finding ways for the urban world to live in harmony with nature.

We are currently facing a major challenge for local authorities.

  • Well-managed urban areas can harbour rich biodiversity, but urbanisation remains the 3rd most cited threat to species extinction on the IUCN Red List.
  • Exposure to nature can have important physical and mental health benefits. However, current patterns of urbanisation exacerbate social inequalities and generally weaken the links between people and nature.
  • Green and blue infrastructures can improve the liveability and resilience of cities, but urban systems remain highly vulnerable to climate and disaster risks.
  • Cities are engines of innovation and economic prosperity, but their ecological footprint can be many times larger than their physical urban area.

The development of cities and regions will largely determine the fate of our planet and its inhabitants.

While not all of the 22 targets specifying measures to be implemented on the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss are targeted at local territories, a large number of them directly affect and concern them. The 3 main categories of these targets demonstrate integration and applicability at the local level, through: reducing threats to biodiversity, meeting people’s needs through sustainable use, and sharing benefits, tools and solutions for implementation and integration.

In this context, sub-national governments recalled their commitment and action plans for the goals related to:

  • Increase the area of access to green and blue spaces (objective 12).
  • Integrate biodiversity conservation objectives into policies to support ecological transition as a priority through ambitious spatial planning (objective 1).
  • Restore degraded terrestrial and marine ecosystems with a quantified target (20%, 30% or at least 1 billion hectares) (target 2).
  • Protect terrestrial and marine areas (objective 3).
  • Reduce the impacts of climate change and enhance resilience through nature-based solutions (target 8)

And finally, to achieve these objectives, the necessary integration of biodiversity values into upstream decision-making processes (target 14).

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