Supporting towns and cities in restoring nature and biodiversity
Green urban spaces, from parks and gardens to green roofs and urban farms, provide a wide range of benefits for people and the planet. They provide vital space for physical and mental wellbeing and a very important habitat for nature, including for birds and pollinators. Green space helps reduce air, water and noise pollution, provides protection from flooding, droughts and heat waves and much more.
While protection of some urban green spaces has increased, green spaces often lose out in the competition for land as the share of the population living in urban areas continues to rise. The Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 aims to reverse these trends, and to protect and restore our precious urban ecosystems.
This platform aims to provide guidance and knowledge to support of towns and cities in enhancing and restoring their urban nature and biodiversity, along with links to other relevant European Commission initiatives and policies.
Urban Greening Plan Guidance and Toolkit
As part of the Biodiversity Strategy - in order to bring nature back to cities and reward community action - the Commission called on European towns and cities of at least 20,000 inhabitants to “..develop ambitious Urban Greening Plans” including “measures to create biodiverse and accessible urban forests, parks and gardens; urban farms; green roofs and walls; treelined streets; urban meadows; and urban hedges.”
This guidance aims to support local authorities in achieving this objective. It has been developed in collaboration with Eurocities and ICLEI, and is based on discussion with many local authorities that have already gone through the process of developing and implementing successful urban greening plans.
It stresses the importance of the collaborative process of developing an urban greening plan, including the need for working with citizens and other stakeholders, and for cross-departmental working and integration of the greening plan with other aspects of urban development, from mobility and health, air and water, to energy and climate adaptation.
An Urban Greening Plan is not a stand alone document, it is a long term framework and strategy to ensure that towns and cities grow greener in the future.
You can find the draft Urban Greening Plan Guidance here.
The draft Urban Greening Plan Toolkit will be available shortly.
These documents are currently in draft format - if you have any suggestions/comments/additions for them, please feel free to send them to ENV-GREENCITIES@ec.europa.eu before the end of January 2023. The finalised versions will be translated and published shortly after this.
Urban greening plan cycle steps: (1) Political commitment; (2) Working structure; (3) Co-creation process; (4) Long-term vision and goals; (5) Current state of nature and biodiversity; (6) Indicators and targets; (7) Priorities, actions, responsibilities, timelines, and financing; (8) Communication, education, and public awareness strategy; (9) Monitoring, reporting, and evaluation system; (10) Adopt, publish and implement the plan
Related Policies and Initiatives
See links here to other European Commission flagship policies and initiatives that have a strong urban nature and biodiversity element.
The EU and the Commission provide support through a wide range of funding programmes, covering funding opportunities as well as advice on how to access funding and put it to use. See here for more information:
Check back here soon for future events, workshops and other networking opportunities to discuss urban nature and biodiversity, and urban greening plans with other EU partners. If you have any events you would like to share here, please send them to ENV-GREENCITIES@ec.europa.eu.