A step forward to preserving urban biodiversity!

Thanks to a generous grant from the Danish Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Worldwatch Institute Europe has been able to launch its new urban biodiversity project in Denmark, “URBIA” - Urban Biodiversity In Action.

Biodiversity in Denmark as well as many other European countries has been declining now for several decades, due to a number of different reasons such as agricultural intensification, forestry, urban sprawl and the development of infrastructure. There is a pressing need therefore to reverse this trend, and in accordance to international agreements under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), the EU has agreed to asset a target to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020.

Urban biodiversity as such is a phenomenon whose importance is often put aside and forgotten. Presently 85% of the Nordic population lives in urbanized areas and this figure is projected to increase in the coming decades. Protecting biodiversity in urban and surrounding areas, and therefore greening urban infrastructures have been recognized as an increasingly important issue.

A number of recent research-based projects such as URBES and Green Surge , have focused their efforts on the conservation and development of biodiversity and ecosystem services, together with conservation based local initiatives, such as community gardens, urban beekeeper associations, rooftop farmers and vertical garden projects, which have been gaining ground in Europe in the last few years.

Our new URBIA project addresses the urgent need to halt the loss of biodiversity, and to enhance green infrastructures in Denmark by communicating to and educating the public about the significance of biodiversity as well as engaging main decision makers and stakeholders in the process. We are going to achieve this by identifying Danish success stories and best practices in urban biodiversity and green infrastructure initiatives, and launch in April-May 2015 the URBIA Award, an award that will recognize the merit of exceptional community based green urban biodiversity in Denmark.

We are looking for practical, easily replicable projects, able of producing significant results. With the URBIA Award, we will not only raise awareness but also show how virtually everyone can participate as to stimulate a self-evaluation process for participants enabling them to contribute significantly to developing well-functioning ecosystems and biodiversity.
We´re planning to stage the URBIA Award Ceremony in Copenhagen in June 2015, so watch out for the project´s development as we keep you updated :-) !

If you would like to receive further information on the project or if you live in Denmark and you think that you have a project that might potentially be interesting for URBIA, please do write us at ebulmer@worldwatch-europe.org.

More about our work on biodiversity can be found here!