Read the forewords by Mayor of London and C40 Chair Sadiq Khan and Mayor of Montréal Valérie Plante published in C40’s latest report on urban nature

Nature sustains life on earth. It also influences all aspects of our lives, from the food and water we consume to our health and well-being, and this is as true in cities as it is in rural areas. But nature is under threat as never before.

Cities have the potential to be ideal homes for exciting wildlife and host thriving habitats if we are willing to take on the challenge before us. In London, we are at the forefront of this effort. Since 2016, we have invested more than £28 million in green space and tree planting projects, including a Rewild London Fund, which will restore or create over 365 hectares for plants and animals to thrive. The results will be felt by all Londoners: cleaner rivers to swim in, safer air to breathe, and the joy of sharing our city with more beavers and bugs, bees and bats!

Despite the progress we have made, I am acutely aware that more needs to be done to tackle the ecological emergency, which is why I brought together the London Rewilding Taskforce to explore more opportunities to rewild our city. By identifying large-scale spaces where, with help, nature can recover and by encouraging Londoners to engage with the natural environment around them, we can go further and faster.

As this report shows, city leaders can learn from each other on how we can do more. At the most recent UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), I signed the Montreal Pledge on Cities United in Action for Biodiversity led by Mayor Plante, which includes 15 actions that cities will take to reduce threats to biodiversity. Through this initiative and C40’s Urban Nature Accelerator, I look forward to sharing lessons from London and learning from other cities.

As C40 Chair, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone involved for demonstrating once again that cities are doers, not delayers. Our collective efforts to protect nature and address the biodiversity crisis are a template for nations to follow and will help ensure the viability of our planet for future generations.— Mayor of London and C40 Chair Sadiq Khan

“As Mayor of Montréal, C40 Steering Committee Member and Vice Chair for Urban Nature, I am delighted by the release of this report on urban rewilding. Protecting and nurturing urban nature is key to ambitious climate action. In Montréal, we are accelerating the ecological transition by putting biodiversity, as well as green and blue spaces, at the heart of our decision-making. The city’s strategic plan, Montréal 2030, our Climate Plan and our Nature and Sports Plan concretely support this through targeted and large scale actions.

“At the COP 15, in December of 2022, the international community adopted the historic Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Cities and local governments have once again recognized the urgency to implement this GBF. The clock is ticking.

“To streamline efforts, Montréal has invited cities from across the globe to make a commitment to protecting biodiversity through 15 tangible actions. Dozens of cities from all over the world have accepted the challenge and signed the Montréal Pledge.

“Urban rewilding projects and nature-based solutions are key to fight biodiversity loss and respond to the climate crisis while promoting human health and well-being. Both large scale projects and targeted initiatives can have co-benefits that go beyond access to green and blue spaces. We need to let nature lead! Cities are full of great initiatives. I am thrilled that this report will allow some of them to shine and, hopefully, inspire others.” — Mayor of Montréal Valérie Plante

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