Research Agenda for Urban Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services & Design



Cities are home to the majority of the world’s population, much of which is never exposed to biodiversity outside the urban context. This makes management of urban biodiversity important. An understanding of biodiversity is the basis of good planning and management, yet most subnational governments, worldwide, have a scarcity of biodiversity data. Many outstanding examples, from both the global north and south, indicate the potential of cities to assist in addressing the biodiversity crisis and so-called “citizen science” has increasing potential to contribute, in this age of social media and technological advancement. Nevertheless, research is typically the first item to be slashed from budgets.

The CBD "Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity 2011-2020" laid out options for national governments, and their partners in implementation, for coordination with their subnational (including local) government counterparts in facing the challenges of biodiversity loss. To support the Plan of Action from a research point of view, the Secretariat of the CBD (SCBD) suggested that the international academic network, URBIO, draft an agenda to pinpoint the most urgent priorities in research on biodiversity and ecosystems in the urban context.


Activities so far:


The work so far was made possible thanks to funding from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funds from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

During the City Biodiversity Summit at the CBD COP12 it was decided to develop the Research Agenda for Urban Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Design in close cooperation with ICLEI and IUCN. A further important tool and forum for discussions on the development of the Research Agenda is David Maddox' Blog The Nature of Cities.