7 Days to the ICLEI World Congress: Linking Biodiversity and Water

Post by Irina Velasco, ICLEI Africa

In seven days, the third Urban Nature Congress will take place at the ICLEI World Congress 2015, and we are busy preparing for this exciting gathering! Providing a platform to share information, promote case studies, encourage interactive discussion, and offer inspiration for cities, “Urban Nature 2015: Local Action for Biodiversity” will explore the value of integrated approaches to planning and managing water and biodiversity.

Urban Nature PosterBiodiversity and water are inextricably linked: both underpin the wellbeing of humankind and both have significant impact on the social and economic success of cities. The impact is particularly evident for food and water security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction.

Water supports both aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, and the quality and quantity of water influences the provision of invaluable ecosystem services. By the same token, biodiversity supports essential ecosystem services, such as water and nutrient cycling, water purification, flood management, and water storage and recycling in soils.

The sustainable use of water contributes not only to water security, but also to the increased resilience of biodiversity. Biodiversity and water therefore provide essential natural infrastructure to cities. If managed well, they help to bring down costs; they also contribute to adaptation to climate change. Biodiversity and water are central to sustainable development, and should be managed in an integrated way.

Featuring over 20 local governments from across different regions, “Urban Nature 2015: Local Action for Biodiversity” brings together experts and key stakeholders from the biodiversity and water sectors to discuss:

  • Regulating services: Blue-green infrastructure for city resilience
  • Provisioning services: Water for life
  • Cultural services: Water – weaving a cultural thread through cities of the world
  • Working together: planning for water and biodiversity
  • Biodiversity and water within an urban landscape
  • Planning for biodiversity and water within a landscape
  • Leadership – biodiversity and water in cities
  • Durban Commitment signing ceremony

Related workshops include the UBRIO (International Network on Urban Biodiversity and Design) session and the Mobile Workshop to the Seoul Forest, where a former golf course and horse track now houses a botanical garden for insects, together with a wetlands ecological field, wildflower habitat and a bird observatory.

The Urban Nature Congress is a workshop run by ICLEI’s global Cities Biodiversity Center, under the globally recognised Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Program. It will take place from 11-12 April 2015. For more information, download the draft programme here.

An opportunity to sign the Durban Commitment is also taking place during the Leadership session. We greatly welcome interested local government leaders keen to advance issues of biodiversity to this session.