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URBIS webinar - The benefits of protected areas for urban citizens

Urban Biosphere Initiative – URBIS invites you for an online dialogue on: The benefits of protected areas for urban citizens: Overcoming the ‘urban versus nature’ divide on Thursday 12 May from 16h00 – 17h15 (CET). The URBIS initiative comprises a global alliance of partners aspiring to reconcile urban development with the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources – a quest to engender cities with greater social-ecological resilience in the context of global environmental change.

The URBIS Dialogue Series is a global platform for online dialogue, held at monthly intervals that brings together representatives of cities and local governments and leading experts from around the world to share experiences and address specific urban challenges focusing on the sustainable use of regional biodiversity and ecosystem services to support social development in a rapidly urbanizing world. The webinars address new developments in urban design, planning and management with a strong perspective on the practical implementation of new knowledge, tools and methods and explore collaborative opportunities and strategize on ways forward within the urban biodiversity realm with a special focus on cities and regions.

On the 12th of May, the dialogue will focus on connecting cities and their regional networks of green spaces. Protected Areas in and around cities offer many benefits to citizens by providing vital ecosystem services, such as supplying and storing clean water, reducing air pollution, and moderating the urban heat island effect, fostering biodiversity and supporting the local economy with income from tourism.

Yet even though there are clear linkages between natural areas and human well-being, nature continues to be treated as a separate entity rather than the foundation of our entire socio-economic system.

Greater collaboration between policy-makers, local communities, urban planners and other stakeholders is needed in order to ensure the continued protection of natural areas, particularly in the face of growing threats such as urban sprawl and pollution, for the benefit of citizens.

Investing in nature within and, particularly, beyond urban boundaries can offer a valuable economic return for cities—a value that is often underestimated. Increasing the understanding of the benefits of healthy natural systems and the services they provide, and subsequently integrating them into urban planning and decision-making, can help to strengthen water, energy, and food security; can promote health and wellbeing; can decrease disaster risk; and can reduce the impacts of climate change.

Looking into the potential of unconventional partnerships and innovative ways to connect cities and urban dwellers to natural landscapes can provide significant benefits in their day-to-day lives. Protecting nature in and around cities can help secure natural resources and turn our current economic challenges into opportunities to achieve a sustainable and resilient urban future.

We are pleased to present to you our speakers, who will share their expertise and inspiring examples from different parts of the world:

Daniel Raven-Ellison, Guerrilla Geographer, Director of Explorer HQ, National Geographic Emerging Explorer

Pamela Veinotte, Field Unit Superintendent, Rouge National Urban Park

Sean Southey, IUCN Commission on Education and Communication Steering Committee member and CEO of PCI Media Impact

This webinar will give participants an opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences in relation to the benefits of protected areas for urban areas, and will particularly focus on:

1) Showcasing how nature contributes to the well-being of urban citizens;

2) Sharing examples of successful multi-stakeholder initiatives for protected area management in and around cities

3) Demonstrate how to scale up the connection between healthy ecosystems and cities and to promote economic opportunities related to the benefits of protected areas by placing the same value in natural capital as in social and financial capital

For more information and registration, please click here.