Published 2 months ago.
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Image: Aleksandar Pasaric
SBTN’s new Cities program will offer a holistic, science-based target indicators
framework for understanding the impact of cities on both climate and other natural systems.
Today, on Buildings Day at COP28, the Science Based
Targets Network (SBTN) announced the
development of cities-focused science-based targets for nature. Advancing the
scope to include cities alongside companies, the Cities’ Science-Based Targets
for Nature program’s first objective is to create a holistic, science-based
target indicators framework that covers the impact of cities on both climate and
other natural systems.
“This initiative comes as a crucial addition to ongoing efforts in understanding
the intricate relationship between cities, climate goals and the burgeoning
realm of nature-related objectives. It builds on the existing work of SBTN and
will help equip cities to do their part to halt and reverse nature loss,” said
Patrick Frick, founder of
the Global Commons Alliance, of which SBTN
is a part.
The Cities’ Science-Based Targets for Nature program builds on the growing set
of tools aimed at helping business at
— as well as specific
— understand their impacts on biodiversity and the environment and set
measurable, science-based targets to ensure their health and preservation.
During a COP28 Presidency event today, the Cities’ SBTN program was showcased as
a new initiative to help municipalities manage land and water, protect
biodiversity, and bolster climate resilience.
The session “Local Ecosystem Restoration for Nature-Positive Cities &
Regions” brought together
decision-makers and business leaders to discuss the pivotal role that cities and
regions play in championing nature-based solutions. It amplified the call to
action for nature-positive development and showcased real-world projects and
tools designed to fortify cities against future challenges.
“With this initiative, cities commit to integrating nature into their
climate-transition and urban-policy agendas as an immediate priority,” said Eva
Gladek, founder and CEO of
Amsterdam-based systems-change agency Metabolic
— a core delivery partner for the Cities program. “This includes establishing
clear targets for the creation and preservation of
and blue spaces. Furthermore, cities setting science-based targets for climate
and nature will be seeking alignment and synergies with Local Biodiversity
Strategies and Action Plans (LBSAPs) and National Biodiversity Strategies and
Cities are the largest driver of environmental impact globally, with an
estimated 57 percent of
the global population already living in cities; and this number is projected to
rise to 68 percent by
In the US alone, building operations account for almost 40 percent of
in North America, it's estimated that the rate of low-carbon retrofits of
currently at about 1 percent, needs to at least
in order to meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Both the
direct and indirect impact of cities need to be brought in line with what nature
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework,
last year, set a global goal of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.
This goal, intertwined with the carbon-neutrality/net-zero emissions objectives
being pursued by businesses and governments worldwide, forms a ‘double compass’
guiding humanity towards a sustainable and secure future. In this landscape,
regions and cities are emerging as essential catalysts for change in the pursuit
of nature-positive development. These targets for cities are essential for
guiding efforts in line with the Safe and Just Earth System
by the Earth Commission earlier this year.
Recognizing the vital role of local and subnational governments and other
stakeholders in adopting and implementing nature-positive policies, this program
seeks to accelerate progress towards net-zero emissions, enhanced biodiversity,
and climate resilience.
The Cities’ SBTs for Nature program — set to unfold over the next 18 months
until spring 2025, at which point initial guidance for cities will be available
— is a collaborative effort with some of the world’s leading cities networks,
research institutions, and advisory organizations focused on cities: Arup,
CDP, C40, Durham University, ICLEI, TNC, WRI and
WWF. Metabolic and the nonprofit Urban Biodiversity
Hub will act as core delivery partners.
Published Dec 6, 2023 2pm EST / 11am PST / 7pm GMT / 8pm CET