C40 Urban Nature Declaration: Making our Cities Greener and More Resilient
Nature breathes life into our cities – from green spaces such as urban gardens to blue spaces such as ponds and lakes full of intricate ecosystems. Cultivating and caring for urban nature creates opportunities for healthy and sustainable livelihoods especially as cities increase their resilience to a changing climate. This includes improving our physical and mental health and having access to better employment and economic outcomes. Data shows equitable access to nature provides significant and measurable benefits to both people and the environment, protects public health in the wake of the pandemic, and builds more inclusive economies.
Nature in our cities serves as a natural buffer and regulator of climate impacts and protects urban residents and city infrastructure from extreme heat, flooding, drought, sea level rise and storms. Action is vital now as globally currently, over 800 million people are vulnerable to sea-level rise, over 650 million people are vulnerable to water security, and 1.6 billion city residents will face extreme heat by 2050. Designing and deploying natural solutions that create an equilibrium with changing climatic conditions will be critical to our cities’ resilience and our planet’s future.
As mayors, we are committing to protect our communities from climate risk and help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement while improving overall health and well-being, our cities pledge to increase and enhance nature in our urban environments that reduce climate risk and vulnerability, supports wider ecosystem services, and is equitably distributed and publicly accessible, by 2030.
To achieve this goal, as signatories of the C40 Urban Nature Declaration, we will deliver on one or both of the following pathways and support greener and more resilient cities:
These pathways will allow us to establish ambitious nature targets to achieve climate resilience and create an agenda for people and nature to support one another. Towards 2030 and beyond, we will build on the many opportunities nature and its ecosystem services can offer our city residents. Through the following commitments to help track our progress on achieving the pathways, our cities will become more livable, climate-ready, and crisis-prepared cities.
Within two years of signing, we commit to:
- Make nature goals public
- Develop support and skills building programmes for green jobs
- Develop a process for involving vulnerable and marginalized communities
- Map current and expected climate risks and vulnerability
- Conduct a gap analyses and mapping to show where new greening is needed and opportunities for existing green spaces
- Accelerate action to address governance barriers to implementation
- Mobilize access to investments and resources that support the Declaration targets
- Publicly report annually on our progress
Within five years of signing, we commit to:
- Implement new or enhanced public green spaces and green streetscapes, in areas with the greatest impact on the most vulnerable
- Complete a baseline natural vegetation inventory and undertake natural capital accounting to raise awareness of the associated value of urban nature
- Develop new inclusive governance frameworks, practices and programmes
- Update our climate action plan adaptation actions to reflect our ambitious nature targets