Global Challenges call for Local Solutions

The global biodiversity target of “significantly reducing the loss of biodiversity by 2010” will not be achieved by governments alone. Thus, the main goal of this project is to engage local and regional authorities around the biodiversity agenda.

Cobblestones in Lancaster, UK Photo: David Bleasdale via Flickr

Countdown 2010 is spreading the biodiversity message among local and regional authorities, gets in touch with them, discusses their activities, provides support when needed and offers a platform for exchange. As a result, local or regional governments are increasingly taking biodiversity concerns into account when working on their urban and regional planning.
In addition, Countdown 2010 is engaging in a wide ranging effort to put and maintain biodiversity on the agenda at the local level. For instance, since 2005, it is working with the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) on a global urban biodiversity initiative. This pilot project which works closely with 20 cities on a five step approach in mainstreaming biodiversity in their operations around the globe focuses on the key roles that local governments play in conserving the world’s biodiversity and retaining the relationship between people and nature. Countdown 2010 serves on the CBD Inter-Agency taskforce on Cities and Biodiversity and recently also joined the Commission 1 working group of Metropolis and advocated local action at city level to protect biodiversity. Coutdown 2010 also attends a number of important events, e.g. the Sevilla Conference 2007 on Sustainable Cities and Towns, March 2007 and the conference “Environment for Europe”, Belgrade, October 2007 with a view to inform decisions and influencing policy processes in favour of halting the loss of biodiversity.


Several hundred local and regional authorities have now joined Countdown 2010 as a result of these activities and they are engaging in active efforts to halt biodiversity loss. Some examples of what Local and Regional Authorities are doing within Countdown 2010:

  • Gemeentebestuur de Pinte secures bats’ sanctuaries in churches, establishes an artificial cave for bats, install ponds for dragonflies and amphibians, protection of the Bitterling, plant small landscape elements (hedges, orchards, etc.), and install birdhouses for the Common Kestrel and Stock Dove.
  • Hampshire County Council has published a three year Biodiversity Action Plan to support conservation efforts for the natural environment of Hampshire by: improving the county’s performance in conserving and enhancing the natural environment; ensuring that everyone has access to the benefits of nature; raising public and staff awareness of biodiversity.
  • Regionaal Landschap Lage Kempen is involved in the Project ‘“Municipalities adopt Species in Limburg” together with the province of Limburg, Regional Landschap Kempen en Maasland and Regional Landschap Haspengouw en Voeren. The aim of this Project is to stimulate municipalities to take responsibility for their biodiversity. By adopting one specific endangered species, the municipality take actions to preserve this species and raise the public awareness about biodiversity and endangered species.
  • The Welsh Assembly Government develops a biodiversity framework for Wales explaining the roles, remits and processes essential to biodiversity conservation and enhancement in Wales. This brings together standardised guidance for the development of local wildlife sites systems.
  • Noord-Brabant has started a 10-year crusade for nature and landscape to improve environmental quality in the region.Tilburg is improving regional development and planning through a „green template“ process and is encouraging public participation through the process.

Donors: Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, European Commission
Time frame: November 2006 – December 2010
Contact person: Elisa Calcaterra

European Union
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