IUCN - Capitals of biodiversity: local authorities compete for biodiversity crown

Capitals of biodiversity: local authorities compete for biodiversity crown

14 January 2010 | News story

On the 20th January 2010 IUCN together with Natureparif is launching a competition to reward European cities for innovation and excellence in preserving the wealth of nature.

“Every day animals and plants disappear from our planet forever,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General.“From the smallest village to the largest city, local authorities are key players in conserving biodiversity.”    

 There is a wide variety of biodiversity within many European cities, towns and villages. This is due to the range of habitats available: gardens and parks, rivers and small forests, old buildings and walls, fallow land and much more. For many people this is their first, or even their only, contact with nature as they live far away from bigger natural habitats which are more commonly found in rural areas.

“The urban population is steadily growing. I am confident that this competition will increase awareness and encourage French local authorities to take concrete action for biodiversity” said Jean-Vincent Place, President of Natureparif, France.

The “European Capitals of Biodiversity” competition is organized in each of the five partner countries – Germany, Slovakia, Spain, France and Hungary – to recognise and reward local authorities that implement strong initiatives to conserve and enhance biodiversity. The contest runs simultaneously in the five participating countries and will lay the groundwork for a major European-wide contest.

A final report on the initiatives carried out by the municipalities will be compiled by the partners and disseminated amongst the municipalities by national partners. It is hoped that this competition will lead to a Europe-wide competition in coming years.

The event takes place on the eve of the global launch of the International Year of Biodiversity hosted by UNESCO. The launch will happen at the presence of heads of state and government, as well as high-level representatives of leading environmental organizations.  

For more information download the invitation or please contact:
Liza Drius, Communications Assistant, m +32 484 857 695 e liza.drius@iucn.org