【FOCUS】 Building A Shared Future for All Life

In 2000, the UN General Assembly officially proclaimed May 22 to be the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB), aiming to raise public awareness about biodiversity. This year, the theme of IDB is "Building a shared future for all life". Biodiversity includes enormous resources for humans of sustainable livelihoods and lays the foundations for social development. Since the Convention on Biological Diversity came under the United Nations Environment Programme in 2000, protecting biodiversity has become a common vision of all countries. Today's In Focus will show you five initiatives of urban innovation about biodiversity protection.

Dangbo, Benin

Valorization of Water Hyacinth in Compost

Benin depends on agriculture for most of its income. However, in the valley base of Ouémé, the presence of water hyacinth caused a very strong seasonal eutrophication and fatal anoxia to the fishery resources in the rivers and lakes. To this end, local farming communities set up an economic sector, promoting residents to collect water hyacinths. This initiative turns the problem into opportunities by making good use of water hyacinths through aerobically composting. Producers in the lower Ouémé valley could take advantage of water hyacinth compost that has both a bio-fertilizing effect and a bio-pesticide effect. Reducing the effect of ozone depletion caused by agricultural chemical inputs, the initiative protects the local environment and improves the productivity of agricultural land used for market gardening.

Learn More: http://www.guangzhouaward.org/a/961.html?lang=en

Curitiba, Brazil

Linking Environmental Preservation to Urban Development: The Green Areas of Curitiba

Curitiba is known as the Ecological Capital, a title conferred on it by the United Nations in recognition of its environmental policies in the 1990s. The initiative "the Green Areas of Curitiba" started in the 1970s, to link the biodiversity protection to the urban green space development, especially the banks of rivers and floodplains. This initiative can be considered innovative in the maintenance of urban biodiversity. It encourages the owners of native vegetation areas to create Conservation Units through financial gains, such as reducing taxes and increasing the number of floors with preferential treatment. Meanwhile, the initiative carries out actions in environmental education through courses for city employees to enrich their knowledge of native species and environmental issues.

Learn More: http://www.guangzhouaward.org/a/683.html?lang=en

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Urban Ecosystem and Biodiversity Conservation towards Sustainable City and Climate Change Resilience

Chiang Rai Province is a gateway to business trade in the valley of the Mekong River. The commerce growth has driven the urban development of Chiang Rai, while also bringing negative impacts on the local environment. In 2008, the administrators of Chiang Rai Municipality introduced an initiative "Enhancing Urban Ecosystem and Biodiversity in Chiang Rai City", responding to the threat of rapid urbanization and climate change.  

This initiative is a model of urban innovation in protecting the environment, because the municipality only acted as a facilitator, while citizens played a constructive role. The municipality encouraged citizens and stakeholders to heighten their sense of ownership in sustainable urban development. Some positive changes were observed with the widespread participation of people, educational institutions, business agencies, etc. For example, the initiative helps establish protected areas of forests, lakes, and rivers, disseminates knowledge of biodiversity conservation, expands urban green spaces, and improves living standards of residents.

Learn More: http://www.guangzhouaward.org/a/682.html?lang=en


Urban River Integration for the 21st Century

The shortage of drinking water has been a long-term challenge for Singapore. To upgrade green urban infrastructures, Singapore introduced the "Urban River Integration for the 21st Century" initiative. The goal was to transform the Kallang River and Bishan Park into a new and unprecedented vision for blue-green city infrastructure which addresses the multiple needs of water supply and flood protection while creating spaces for people and nature in the city. An important innovative aspect of this initiative is the first adoption of bioengineered technology, which has been widely used in European and North American countries. In 2012, a 30 percent increase in biodiversity was measured by National Parks Department. The initiative can be considered a starting point for an island-wide reintegration of Singapore's natural water cycles, biodiversity, and human interaction.

Learn More: http://www.guangzhouaward.org/a/714.html?lang=en

Saint Louis Departmental Council, Senegal

Inter-municipal Approach for the Safeguard and Enhancement of the Mangrove by the Local Authorities

Saint Louis, the northernmost point in West Africa, has a 1000-hectare mangrove belt. Due to climate change and human activities, the mangrove belt is shrinking at a rate of 9 hectares per year. To save mangroves from extinction, the local government developed an innovative initiative on environmental governance, which integrated the restoration of mangroves ecosystems across three municipalities. Residents play an active role in the restoration and protection of mangroves. The initiative includes a regional training system to raise people's awareness of environmental protection. During the nine years of intervention, the initiative is under sustainable, unified, and well-planned management. The local forestry department estimates that more than 50 hectares of mangrove have been regenerated, which is equivalent to a sequestration rate of 350 tons of carbon annually.

Learn More: http://www.guangzhouaward.org/a/1326.html?lang=en