United Nations Environment Programme

Urban Environment Unit

World Urban Forum

For the first time in the history of the Convention on Biological Diversity, mayors gathered to discuss the role of cities in achieving the target to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010.

During the meeting, participants exchanged experiences and best practices on biodiversity and agreed on areas of collaboration for the sustainable use of biodiversity and for achieving the 2010 biodiversity target. The most common problems that cities are facing in the area of biodiversity include: pressures from urbanization and development; socio-economic challenges especially poverty; local challenges such as outdated infrastructure; and global environmental threats including climate change and invasive alien species.

While the problems are similar, solutions are as diverse as the cities themselves. Participants gave numerous innovative examples of how they have responded to these challenges. However, there are common aspects to successful interventions which indicate that, in order to manage biodiversity successfully, cities have to mainstream biodiversity into planning; establish functioning governance structures that are able to enforce legislation; involve citizens and especially poor communities from the start; invest in education and awareness; and cooperate with other levels of government.

The Mayors adopted the Curitiba Declaration on Cities and Biodiversity which will be conveyed to the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in May 2008 in Bonn, Germany. A global partnership which brings together existing initiatives on cities and biodiversity was endorsed by participants and adopted in the Curitiba Declaration. The Declaration also emphasizes the need of raising public awareness and educating new generations, as well as disseminating best practices and lessons learned through cooperation between cities. The establishment of a clearing house mechanism in the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as a forum for exchange of experiences, was recommended. UNEP is requested to assemble a publication of case studies from around the world, on cities, ecosystems and biodiversity, in collaboration with UN-HABITAT and ICLEI.

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UNEP 2005