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Side Event

Urban Eco-Efficiency

World Resources Forum Secretariat and CBD Secretariat

Date and Time
15 October 2012 13:15 - 14:45

Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11)

The world is increasingly urban. By 2050, another three billion people will inhabit the world’s cities—this equals to adding one new city of one million people every ten days for the next 89 years. 70% of the human ecological footprints are marked by cities. Despite only representing 2% of the world’s surface area, cities are responsible for 75% of the global energy consumption and more than 80% of the carbon emissions. Resources are being consumed at unsustainable rate. The global extraction of natural resources, including biomass, fossil energy carriers, metal ores and construction materials has increased to 60 billion tonnes annually and this extraction rates would triple by 2050 if the consumption continues at the current level of developed countries and cities. Cities’ impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems are more than what we can see. We are consuming 1.7 times faster than the planet’s carrying capacity, and letting up to 200 species get extinct per day. Deforestation is causing the changes of regional rainfall patterns and shutting down a supply of thousands of biodiversity-based products, from aromatic oil to herbal medicines. The pollution of rivers and lakes is the leading cause to the decline of freshwater fish. About 100 million tonnes of plastics, with 80% from land-based urban wastes, have formed a Hawaii-sized swirling garbage patch floating on the Pacific ocean, while other similar garbage patches are also found on the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. In view of the challenges in an increasingly urbanized world, what are our options and responsibilities? This workshop, as it is named, attempts to provide a platform for identifying and promoting innovative solutions to improve the eco-efficiency and protect the biodiversity of cities. The objective of this workshop is to engage a network of partners from relevant sectors / organizations to contribute to this vision. The results of this side event will represent the basis for a follow-up workshop on eco-efficieny in cities at the World Resources Forum Conference 2012 in Beijing, October 21-23 and Davos, Switzerland, October 6-9, 2013.