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Territorial and Urban-Rural Governance: Key Tools for Biodiversity

For cities to make peace with nature, we need to design and redesign cities and urban infrastructure with nature in mind.

Emanuel Oliver Hillel



Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Multifunction Hall: ONE UN Room
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Polish, Spanish, English, French + CART [English]
Greener Urban Futures
UN 9


For cities to make peace with nature, we need to design and redesign cities and urban infrastructure with nature in mind. UN Agencies are working with each other and with cities around the world to help (re)establish a healthy relationship between urban environments and the ecosystems they are part of.

This event will highlight the outcomes and perspectives of the ongoing cooperation between UN agencies. Since the 2016 HABITAT III conference, urban-rural linkages (URL) emerged as one of the vibrant means of implementing the New Urban Agenda (NUA). To that effect, UNEP, the CBD Secretariat, UN-Habitat, FAO, IFAD and others jointly prepared the Guiding Principles Urban-Rural Linkages to foster territorial governance.

The publication highlights the impacts and inter-dependencies of the production and consumption of cities and conurbations on natural resources within and beyond municipal and metropolitan borders – their wider planetary footprint. The interactive panel will provide an opportunity for UN agencies engaged since HABITAT III, and city and subnational governments already involved in the CBD’s Edinburgh Process and in networks such as ICLEI, to propose and compare transformative approaches to territorial governance, putting the URLs to work for the SDGs and the upcoming post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, in particular its mainstreaming approach. As it builds on a 6-year partnership between UN agencies and on existing projects and activities, the event will be a milestone along a roadmap.

Speakers will refer to several recent groundbreaking publications, including the UN-Habitat/SCBD publication “Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Urban-Rural Linkages: A Guide”, the UNCCD Wetlands URL manual, the WEF BiodiverCities by 2030 report. This work also led to the URL series of publications (see, building also on the concept of urban metabolism and the “Food-Water-Energy Nexus“ (FWEN) as a new framework based on “systems thinking” to help integrate different sectors and departments in the management of resources that support human activities in the urban environment.

The session will interact with and complement other WUF11 sessions, as well as build on the 2022 UNEA Cities and Regions Summit, ICLEI World Congress, the High-Level Meeting on Urbanization, the HLPF. It will be announced as deliverables at a panel at the 7th Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments parallel to the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China, 3-5 September 2022.


Showcase UN agencies’ work on post-2020 GBF, the One Health and One UN concepts, and the UN Decades on Restoration and Ocean Science from the perspective of urban-rural teleconnections and territorial governance, and provide a platform to further align efforts.

Offer a toolbox of climate- and nature-positive solutions that can be upscaled to wider networks of cities, regions and their partners, for instance those active in platforms such as CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature. Engage champion countries and agencies in multi-level, multi-stakeholder partnerships relevant to the SDGs under review in 2022 and enhance multilevel governance, cross-sectoral cooperation and the coordination of policies for sustainability at local and regional levels.

Facilitate investment and provision of funding to support territorial governance and development, including initiatives aimed at sustainable food, water and energy systems ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation, and green & blue infrastructure.

Session speakers

Ms. Elizabeth Mrema
Executive Secretary
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
Ms. Sharon Gil
Programme Management Officer and Head of Circular Economy in Cities
UN Environment Programme
Mr. Remy Sietchiping
Chief, Policy, Legislation and Governance Section
Ms. Simone Borelli
Urban Forestry Officer
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
Mr. Aloke Barnwal
Senior Climate Change Specialist and Coordinator of Sustainable Cities Program
Global Environment Facility
Mr. Paul Currie
Associate Director Urban Systems
Mr. Mauricio Rodas
Research Fellow
University of Pennsylvania
Ms. Susanna Gionfra
European Programme Officer Nature Based Solutions
Ms. Sonja Leighton-Kone
Deputy Executive Director
UN Environment Programme