On 6th of April 2017, Gilles Lecuir, Natureparif, was invited to present the French Capital of Biodiversity Award at the GreenInUrbs COST final conference "Urban Green Infrastructure: nature-based solutions for resilient and sustainable cities", in Orvieto (Italy).
You'll find below his presentation and speech. First af all, watch out the short movie presenting the 2017 topic: Urbanism, architecture and biodiversity : when...
I'm Gilles Lecuir, I work for the regional agency for nature and biodiversity in Île-de-France (Paris region) called "NATUREPARIF". I'm also the national leader of the French Capital of Biodiversity Award for cities and group of cities.
The French Capital of Biodiversity Award was born in 2009 from a european LIFE+ program which have played a role of starter: we have continued to organize the award in France and it is now co-organized and funded by the French State (both Ministry of Urbanism and Ministry of Environment), its new national agency for biodiversity and a pool of various national and regional partners.
How does it work ? First of all, we organize workshops, all over France in a short period of time to raise awareness, share science knowledge, disemminate best practices examples, with field trips and citizen science activities.
Then, cities can participate by filling a questionnaire: 40 questions about mainstreaming biodiversity into public policies, from urban planning to management or stakeholders involvement. They obtain in return a label expressed from 1 to 5 "dragonflies" levels. We also used collected data to establish a benchmark of the cities practices: an average of 80 participants each year, and 250 different cities from the beginning of the award.
Step 2 is optional: each city is invited to propose from 1 to 3 best practices, which can be selected and published. We have nearly 400 actions available in our database at this time.
At step 3, the best candidates are visited by a panel of experts, they establish public reports and the jury elects the best cities in each category (small, medium and big cities, conurbation, province) and choose among them the Champion of the Year, the French Capital of Biodiversity.
Examples of actions by theses Champions:
- Grande-Synthe (2010), an industrial town in the north of France near Dunkerque, created an urban natural reserve;
- Montpellier (2011) have studied the biodiversity of brownfields, mapped them and integrated them as part of the city green infrastructure;
- Lille (2012) does an educational and citizenship work for experiencing biodiversity even for 2 or 3 years old children in public nurseries;
- Niort (2013), south of Nantes, carried out inventories of wetlands and take them into account into urban planning documents;
- Strasbourg (2014) put the lights on agriculture, city and biodiversity altogether, and established with the inahbitants and stakeholders a plan for "Nature at the greatest" for the next years;
- One of the most significant action of the city of Rennes (2016), capital of Brittany, is the restoration of an urban flood expansion area, with polluted soils issues.
The new 2017 French Capital of Biodiversity will be revealed at the end of September.
Contact : Gilles Lecuir, Natureparif