Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Ursula Bach

“Biodiversity goes local” event

26th September, Brussels, Belgium

On Wednesday the 26th of September, the BD SKILLS team is hosting the event Biodiversity goes local – Improving the skills of local planners, at the House of the Dutch Provinces in Brussels.  This event will analyse the role that local authorities have in biodiversity policy and participation is free.

Throughout the day delegates will learn what needs to be taken into account to implement biodiversity in their municipality. They will be given tips for success and will have the opportunity to discuss their views and ideas during the day. The event will consist of a carried programmed of presentations, interviews and discussions.

Delegates will learn about a new interactive training package that has been specially developed for local authority employees. This sets out European examples of good practice and gives practical advice on how to make biodiversity a structural element of spatial planning.

The conference is being made possible with support from the European Union and is an initiative of the partners in the European project Biodiversity Skills. Project partners are ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation, Atelier Technique des espaces naturels (France), Gelderse Natuur en Milieufederatie (Netherlands), Natureparif (France), Alfred Toepfer Akademie fur Naturschutz (Gemany), Natuurpunt Educatie (Belgium) and Yorkshire and Humber Trust (UK).

Biodiversity is one of the twelve environmental indicators used to assess applications by cities applying to become the European Green Capital. The 2012 European Green Capital Vitoria-Gasteiz has made real progress in recovering biodiversity, restoring many of the city’s damaged ecological and landscape areas through the Green Belt project, the creation of the “Bosques de Europa” Botanical Gardens and the opening of the Ecological gardens for citizens. Since 1996, more than 12,000 schoolchildren and hundreds of adults have joined the ‘Adopt a tree and grow with it’ campaign, planting over 40,000 trees and bushes. The Vitoria-Gasteiz municipality has 11,331 hectares of forest, most of it publicly owned. Native species, especially beech and oak, make up 91% of the trees.

The city has a high proportion of green public areas, so the entire population lives within 300m of an open green space. Public gardens cover 1,091 hectares, making up 32.67% of the urban area. A Green Belt of 5 large suburban parks exists, effectively bringing nature into the urban heart. Many of the hundreds of green spaces form a biodiversity resource sustaining some 50,000 trees of 381 different species, and 12,160 shrubs.

Fore more information on what Vitoria-Gasteiz is doing click here

For more information on the Biodiversity goes local visit:

To read the programme for the event visit: