It still is up to cities, however, to address habitat destruction and air, water and noise pollution on the ground
To make locally relevant and EU Nature Restoration Law compliant nature-based solutions a reality, the Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) team at ICLEI Europe has developed a series of guides for businesses, landscape architects, educators and environmental advocates. Europe’s biodiversity is in rapid decline, and two-thirds of species protected by the EU Habitats Directive have poor or bad conservation status. The European Green Deal and 2030 EU Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies marked a milestone for biodiversity protection and the reversal of ecosystem degradation. It still is up to cities, however, to address habitat destruction and air, water and noise pollution on the ground.
“The undeniable connection between nature and climate compels us to embrace nature-based solutions as a vital component of our climate change mitigation, biodiversity and sustainability strategies. I encourage all friends of the environment to explore the outputs of NetworkNature and witness how we have been supporting cities in their sustainability efforts, specifically in protecting nature and achieving climate neutrality,” shares Daniela Rizzi, Senior Officer for NbS and Biodiversity, ICLEI Europe.
As part of the Horizon 2020 project Network Nature, NbS guides were developed to support the planning and creation of nature-based solutions, and to share this knowledge with the broader public. Alongside these information packages, ICLEI Europe is supporting ambitious cities as they pioneer NbS solutions at the local level. As part of CLEVER Cities, Belgrade (Serbia) engaged local citizens to design, and adopt, a plan for an innovative linear park. In Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), a Green Infrastructure Strategy aims to increase urban biodiversity through a ‘green infrastructure network,’ while reducing noise and air pollution. Meanwhile, in Germany, Hamburg has developed a Green Roof Strategy that will add habitats for wildlife on more than 70% of rooftops in the city and Dortmund has created a pollinator-friendly forest as part of proGIreg.
To advance change at the national and European levels, ICLEI Europe has helped the European Commission Directorate General for Environment establish Urban Greening Plans, which call on cities with populations of 20,000 or more to address organisational and environmental barriers that may prevent them from achieving the targets proposed by the Nature Restoration Law.
In addition, the CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature platforms - co-founded by ICLEI Europe and recognised by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity - provide up-to-date progress on cities and regions as they move toward biodiversity targets, including the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework which was adopted at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity COP15.
Biodiversity plays a fundamental role in the health of people and the planet. Today, on World Environment Day, ICLEI Europe reaffirms the importance of nature-based solutions in alleviating a wide range of environmental, social and economic challenges by providing benefits such as carbon sequestration, job creation, improved mental health, and the survival of culturally relevant ecosystems, among others.