Local Authorities

The Countdown 2010 initiative was closed in 2010. This website and all information it contains may not be up to date.

Biodiversity is the measure of the number, variety and variability of living organisms. It includes diversity within species, between species, and among ecosystems. The concept also covers how this diversity changes from one location to another and over time. Indicators such as the number of species in a given area can help in monitoring certain aspects of biodiversity. Biodiversity includes all organisms, from microscopic bacteria to more complex plants and animals. Biodiversity contributes to many aspects of human well-being, for instance by providing raw materials and contributing to health. Human actions, however, often lead to irreversible losses in terms of diversity of life on Earth.

Urban biodiversity is the biological diversity of urban areas. It is heavily influenced by the built environment and the economic, social and cultural dynamics of these densely populated places. Efficient urban biodiversity management is therefore of crucial importance.

The role of local authorities

Local and regional authorities manage large areas of land, often the majority of a country’s land. In many cases, they play an important role in approving land-use changes and they plan and implement infrastructure development. They are often in charge of setting long term development strategies and are responsible for overseeing the land-use in their areas.

Local authorities, whether they are a large city, a region or a small municipality, are therefore crucial to communicate the 2010 Biodiversity Target and to take action to halt the loss of biodiversity in their area of responsibility. They are also crucial to directly involve their citizens in the process.

For this reason, Countdown 2010 has joined forces with ICLEI – Local governments for sustainability (ICLEI) and ECNC – European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC) to provide support to local and regional authorities in communicating and implementing the 2010 Target.

Many local and regional authorities have now committed to contribute to the halt of the loss of biodiversity by 2010 by making specific commitments and the number is increasing steadily.

Total number of Local Authorities Partners: 396