The City of Jerusalem was awarded the 2012 SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel) Award for nature conservation and environmental protection at the 5th Jerusalem Nature and Environment Conference on 5 November at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. The Society for the Protection of Nature is an IUCN Member.
This year the award is being bestowed for the promotion of biodiversity protection initiatives. Among the justifications cited is Jerusalem's membership in the international ICLEI LAB 5-Step Program, the promotion of conservation efforts in the Gazelle Valley, and the City's participation in the global URBIS Initiative.
Jerusalem is the only city in Israel which joined the international ICLEI LAB (Cities for Sustainability Local Action for Biodiversity) Forum. In this context, Jerusalem has committed to a 5 Step Program for urban nature conservation and biodiversity management including conducting a biodiversity survey, promoting biodiversity initiatives, holding roundtable stakeholder discussions, producing a Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and promoting CEPA – Communication, Education and Public Awareness.
Jerusalem is taking the lead in advancing urban nature conservation programs, such as restoration of the Gazelle Valley, soon to be Israel’s first urban nature park; promotion of biodiversity protection at the Wildflower Sanctuary; and conducting a comprehensive survey of local trees. Jerusalem is the first city in Israel to commission an LBSAP (Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan), and one of only four global cities involved in the international URBIS (Urban Biospheres Initiative) for the promotion of ecosystem management and partnerships on the metropolitan level.
Jerusalem Mayor, Mr. Nir Barkat, has offered his congratulations indicating that “Jerusalem, as a developing green city, acknowledges the significance of its open spaces for the promotion of well being, and will continue to work with its citizens to advance green initiatives throughout the city, protecting open spaces and local urban nature sites.”
Deputy Mayor, Ms. Naomi Tsur, who holds the City’s sustainable urban planning and environmental protection portfolios, added the following: “A city that advances its natural assets contributes to the health and prosperity of its citizens. Working in strategic partnership with the Society for the Protection of Nature has greatly advanced the development of Jerusalem as a beautiful and green city.”