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A group of pioneer cities from around the World have pledged to protect and increase the biodiversity found within their urban areas.
Each of the cities has signed the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Durban Commitment and will now compile long term plans to promote biodiversity in five different ecological areas.
These plans will be finalised during 2009 and the first progress reports from the cities will be published in time for 2010, the Year of Biodiversity.
The pledge launches the final phase of the LAB pilot project before it is officially opened to all comers next year.
There are 21 pioneer cities in total, including Leicester, Zagreb, Durban, São Paulo, Edmonton and Seoul. Each became a pioneer because of the different forms of urban climate and environment they represent.
They will act as trailblazers within their regional communities and provide advice and support to other cities that join as the numbers increase exponentially.
Current plans include curbing the spread of invasive species, ensuring all municipality sourced wood is local and certified and making ecological design principles a staple of the urban planning process.
LAB is run by the ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of nearly 1000 municipal areas in 68 countries who use local initiatives to create sustainable urban environments.
Korbie Brand, Regional Director of ICLEI Africa, said: “We still need to shift towards long-term, sustainable thinking and unlock the potential for economic growth and job creation through environmental initiatives.”
For more information visit the LAB website: http://tinyurl.com/lab0001