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CitiesWithNature celebrates the first 100 pioneer cities

On this year’s World Cities Day, London became the 100th pioneer city on CitiesWithNature, joining the ranks of cities such as Montreal and Dar Es Salaam that are leading the way in mainstreaming nature-based solutions and biodiversity preservation in urban spaces.

“I am delighted to see the growing interest of cities in urban biodiversity, an issue that plays a crucial role for resilient cities and the well-being of their citizens,” said Mayor Valérie Plante of the City of Montréal, who serves as ICLEI’s Global Ambassador for Local Biodiversity.

Through participation in the CitiesWithNature platform, Europe’s second largest city is providing a leading example of concrete action towards conserving, restoring and living in harmony with nature in cities.

“My London Environment Strategy makes it clear that I want all Londoners to live in a city in which the air is clean, green space is accessible, wildlife is conserved, and urban regeneration provides an opportunity to make the city greener,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan. “I also want to share our knowledge and expertise in urban ecology and green infrastructure and learn from other pioneering cities. That is why I am delighted that London is part of the CitiesWithNature.” 

On CitiesWithNature, cities are able to share their policies, plans, commitments, actions and results related to nature, and access a wide variety of practical resources and innovative tools, projects, services and information offered by leading global organizations and experts. 

Mayor Khan and London have much to share with other cities. Through pioneering work, such as making London a National Park City, Mayor Khan has engaged public agencies, businesses, and Londoners to join in efforts to green the city, while funding programmes through his £12million ($15.4million) Greener City Fund. So far, these programs have resulted in the planting of over 175,000 trees and the improvement of 200 green spaces covering 175 hectares across the city.

The city is also planning to implement an ‘Urban Greening Factor’ that will require developers to include ‘urban greening measures’ in new building developments. It will encourage interventions such as street trees, green roofs, green walls, and rain gardens as integral design elements. This approach will be aided by London’s Green Infrastructure Focus Map, a tool that helps decision-makers identify where green infrastructure improvements and investments are most needed and what type of interventions might be most impactful.

London is also making the economic case for nature in cities through research that shows the  true value of the city’s green spaces. This is informing and improving decision-making by framing public green spaces as economic assets, highlighting the range and value of the societal benefits they provide.

Keep up with what London is doing by viewing the city profile on CitiesWithNature, which showcases city commitment and celebrates its natural assets.

To join London, Montreal, Dar es Salaam and many other leading cities on this journey, please visit https://www.citieswithnature.org/join/ and follow CitiesWithNature on Twitter @CitiesWNature.

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