The global urban population is expected to reach 5 billion by 2030, and over 60% of the land projected to become urban by 2030 has yet to be developed.
Ecosystems and biodiversity underpin the day-to-day functioning of cities and human settlements by delivering the basic services and conditions that enable, support and protect human production, consumption and habitation. Healthy ecosystems can provide protection and resilience from extreme weather events and disasters.
Urban planning that integrates the consideration of biodiversity can not only benefit biodiversity but can also contribute to more sustainable human settlements. Vegetation in cities can reduce the run-off of pollution into water bodies. Coral reefs and mangrove forests protect coasts against flooding that are expected to increase with climate change. The strategic placement of trees in urban areas can cool the air between 2°C and 8°C. And, trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and save energy used for heating by 20% to 50%.
Many of the world’s natural heritage sites are biologically diverse, and thus protecting biodiversity supports the preservation of such important areas.
Nature-based solutions to the challenges of urban well-being, such as ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation (EbA) and disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), enable safe human settlements.