Updates from ICLEI's Global Sustainability Network
November 2016
Dear ICLEI friends and colleagues,

Nature-based solutions are critical to sustainable urban development. There are inherent benefits to working with nature in ways that harness its natural services, from flood retention to pollution control to air quality improvements. It is therefore important that cities mainstream this approach in urban planning and design.

From 9 to 11 December, local and subnational governments will gather in Cancun, Mexico for the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments, an official parallel event to the CBD COP 13, the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The goal of this event is to strengthen the global contribution of local and subnational governments in protecting biodiversity and the effective management of ecosystems.

Planning for urban green growth is also critical to achieve the targets set by global frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Incorporating nature-based solutions into the urban environment allows cities to address multiple climate risks, protect biodiversity, build resilience and improve the overall health and well-being of residents.

The City of Melbourne has been working for over six years to embed ecosystem-based climate adaptation outcomes into core business and services for our municipality and citizens. We have invested over AU$60 million in a range of projects to deliver these outcomes, including doubling our tree canopy cover, expanding green spaces and capturing and reusing stormwater. We have also been working closely with our community to develop an awareness of the importance of biodiversity in the city. We’ve run Australia’s largest urban BioBlitz for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016 and through the BioBlitz we have now begun to develop a comprehensive inventory of biodiversity in our city.

Melbourne looks forward to being an active participant in a new global initiative around nature in our cities. Together I hope we can work to evolve collaborative approaches to sustainability and urban research, a key call to action of the New Urban Agenda, adopted at Habitat III.

I will discuss Melbourne’s work to enhance ecosystem services and engage our community on biodiversity at the Cancun summit. I believe the summit is a unique opportunity for local and subnational governments to outline their existing efforts and commitments to incorporate nature-based solutions, an important yet underutilized solution for sustainability.

Best regards,
Cathy Oke
Member of ICLEI Global Executive Committee and Councilor, City of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Photo credits
"Bodyheat sensor...": Image (Flickr) by "Tejvan Pettinger", licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Building the architecture...": Image by IISD Reporting Services
"Over 40 countries...": Image by CAN International

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