The Biodiversity of Latin American and Caribbean Cities

  • By 2050, approximately two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas or cities.
  • Urban planning must prioritize climate change and biodiversity.
  • Urban areas in Latin America and the Caribbean have an opportunity to benefit from biodiversity.

In the last decades we have seen an accelerated transformation of urban spaces due to various factors such as urban development, population growth and massive migrations. According to the United Nations, by 2050 it is expected that two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities or metropolitan areas.

Historically, a city’s growth has been determined by various factors such as economics, politics, geography, and social affairs. Recently, however, there has been an increasing recognition of the need for adaptive urban development policies and models that can address the challenges of climate change. This change highlights the importance of incorporating environmental considerations into urban planning and decision-making.

Why is biodiversity so important in urban areas?

Promoting biodiversity in cities is key to tackling the climate crisis. The integration into urban development not only improves the quality of life, but also promotes the sustainability of cities. Urban biodiversity has numerous benefits to consider. This includes the ability to regulate the climate, purify air and water, and make a positive contribution to the mental and physical health of people living in cities.

In cities, biodiversity can also have a positive impact on environmental resilience and economic value. This increases real estate values ​​and makes the city more attractive to tourists. Consequently, urban planners must integrate biodiversity protection into their strategies to create cities that coexist harmoniously with the natural environment.

A resolution on promoting biodiversity and resilient cities was passed during the UN Habitat Assembly in June 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. This initiative aims to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into urban and territorial planning. Supported by Germany, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Pakistan, Peru, Singapore and Uruguay, this resolution aims to promote a shift in urbanization with a fundamental goal: transforming cities into biodiverse and resilient spaces. The aim is to promote the integration of biodiversity as an essential part of sustainable urban development and ecosystem services in the planning of cities and territories.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is considered one of the most biodiverse regions in the world

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), this region is home to around 60% of the terrestrial life on the planet, as well as numerous marine and freshwater species. The importance and natural wealth of LAC is evident.

The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region is home to three of the five countries with the world’s highest number of bird, amphibian, mammal, reptile, fish and plant species. It is impressive to note that only the Amazon is home to 10% of the world’s biodiversity. The rich biodiversity of this region is not only a valuable natural resource, but also a source of opportunities in many areas.

What are the benefits of promoting biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean?

The implementation of urban development and climate resilience strategies will not only benefit cities, but will also open up numerous opportunities for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in various areas. This lays the foundation for a successful future in the region. The region has the opportunity to seize various opportunities by adopting biodiversity conservation measures and benefiting from them in several sectors.

job creation

An important opportunity lies in the workplace, particularly in the creation of new jobs. By prioritizing the conservation, restoration and responsible use of biodiversity, numerous employment opportunities will arise. The need for trained specialists is expected to increase significantly. Not only conservation scientists and consultants are benefiting from this trend, but also other professionals such as ecotourism operators and park rangers. Increased employment in this area will not only help reduce the unemployment rate, but will also have a positive impact on the regional economy by bringing about an economic revival.

economic boom

On the other hand, the resolution also offers a valuable opportunity to stimulate the local economy. Conducting conservation and restoration projects using local materials and labor can stimulate economic activity in the community, create jobs and promote local development. These initiatives to improve natural landscapes not only have aesthetic benefits, but also have positive economic impacts. They attract tourists, which boosts the local economy and has a positive impact on the overall economy of the region.

sustainable investment

Sustainable investing is a promising alternative offered by the decision. By emphasizing biodiversity and resilient cities, we can attract both foreign and domestic investors who are increasingly looking for sustainable and socially responsible opportunities. Injecting investment capital can have several positive effects on a region’s economy. It can boost economic growth, encourage innovation and improve overall competitiveness.

capacity building

It is important to provide workers with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage biodiversity effectively. This is key to the capacity development approach that promotes solving the challenges related to the preservation and protection of the natural environment. Investing in training and development programs gives people the opportunity to promote sustainable practices that will help lead the region into a greener future. This will increase the number of workers available in the region, which in turn will lead to stronger economic growth. In addition, building a pool of skilled labor will allow for more effective tackling of environmental challenges.

environmental Protection

It is important to note that the commitment to significantly increase financial resources dedicated to biodiversity conservation represents a unique opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Thanks to this financial support, it is possible to carry out initiatives that protect and preserve the rich biodiversity of the region. In addition, sustainable development is promoted and critical ecosystems protected. Thanks to these investments, the region will experience significant improvements in its economy, social well-being and environmental stability.

expand innovation

Thanks to this resolution, the region will have a new opportunity to promote pilot projects and programs. These initiatives include conservation, restoration and sustainable use actions and serve as tests for innovative approaches and to establish models that can be reproduced elsewhere. If we can successfully execute these projects, it will create a domino effect that will boost the local economy, encourage entrepreneurship and create new job opportunities. This will benefit both the community and businesses, thereby strengthening overall economic development.

Biodiversity as a catalyst for prosperity

By taking action to conserve biodiversity, we can achieve numerous economic, social and environmental benefits. Every opportunity that presents itself brings us closer to realizing a prosperous and sustainable future for our region. These opportunities include job creation, sustainable investment, skills development and pilot projects. It is crucial to seize the opportunities that arise and encourage collaboration between different sectors. Together we can build a prosperous Free Trade Area (FTA) where protecting biodiversity is the engine of progress and prosperity for all.

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