Portfolio: Urban Planning and Design, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Why is this a priority issue for ICLEI AS in an urban context in Africa?

The African continent is rapidly urbanising with more than 60% of the population forecasted to live in urban areas by 2050; equating to a tripling of the current number of urban inhabitants. Concomitantly, urban economic growth in Africa is being mirrored by increasing levels of urban poverty, inequality, inefficiency and its impacts on critical natural resources and ecosystems. Within this context it is recognised that biodiversity and ecosystems are the foundational building blocks, or natural capital which underpin numerous resource flows into cities such as fresh water, energy and food. In order to maintain critical biodiversity and ecosystem services for the benefit of human urban populations, African cities are increasingly mainstreaming these concerns directly into everyday urban planning and design. They are thus planning for ‘urban green growth’ not only to secure resource flows but also to enable provisioning of high employment elasticity, to ensure resilience in the face of climate change, to secure ecosystem services and affordable public services whilst also supporting the universal ‘right to the city’. Thus, ICLEI AS is strategically aligning itself to provide critical resources and capacity development to African cities on this forward thinking portfolio in order to ensure a healthy living environment within urban contexts. 

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