Thirty-one cities recently signed the C40 Cities Urban Nature Declaration, with the pledge to invest in green spaces to improve air quality and strengthen protection against climate impacts – such as extreme heat, flooding and drought.
The pledge declares that within two years of signing, the cities commit to:
- making nature goals public;
- developing programs for green jobs;
- developing a process for involving vulnerable and marginalized communities;
- mapping current and expected climate risks and vulnerability;
- analysing and mapping where new greening is needed and where opportunities for existing green spaces exist;
- accelerating action to address governance barriers to implementation;
- mobilizing access to investments and resources that support the Declaration targets; and,
- annually publicly reporting their progress.
The commitment entails delivering on one or both of two key targets. By 2030, 30-40% of city surface area should consist of green or blue infrastructure – trees, urban forests and parks, along with sustainable urban drainage systems and permeable pavements. The Declaration also sets a target for 70% of a city’s population to have access to green or blue public spaces within a 15-minute walk or bike ride by the year 2030.
The cities that have signed the Urban Nature Declaration are: Athens, Austin, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Curitiba, Durban, Freetown, Guadalajara, Haifa, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Medellín, Milan, Mumbai, New Orleans, Paris, Quezon City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Rotterdam, Salvador, Seattle, Stockholm, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Toronto.
“Supporting and protecting cities’ natural ecosystems is one of our most important tools for building resiliency against the climate crisis and creating the healthy, inclusive urban communities we deserve,” said Mark Watts, C40 Cities Executive Director. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we were reminded that accessible, green spaces are essential for liveable, climate-ready and crisis-prepared cities. As we seek to deliver a green and just recovery, investing in and implementing nature-based climate solutions will be imperative to public health and well-being, as well as the success of global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.”