EU Science Hub

Biodiver-City: Enhancing urban biodiversity and ecosystem services to make cities more resilient

Apr 24 2018

Background and objectives

If we think about nature conservation or increasing essential ecosystem services we usually think of protected areas, conserving valuable ecosystems such as forests and wetlands, or maintaining rural landscapes. But can cities also help achieve biodiversity goals and targets? This largely depends on the amount, the quality and management of urban green infrastructure. However, the potential of cities to help protect biodiversity and ecosystem services is likely underestimated.

This conference aims to deliver a set of key messages and principles on how cities can contribute to regional, national and European biodiversity policies, goals and targets.

The conference will address the following key questions:

  • What is our present knowledge of urban biodiversity? What indicators are used and what do the current patterns and trends reveal about urban biodiversity?
  • Why is urban biodiversity important? What are the links between urban biodiversity, urban ecosystem services and  well-being?
  • Is a high urban biodiversity important for citizens and other stakeholders? How can citizens monitor biodiversity?
  • How can urban green infrastructure be designed and managed to maintain and enhance urban biodiversity and ecosystem services?

Conference organisers


  • Scientists with expertise on urban green infrastructure, ecosystem services and biodiversity
  • Policy makers from Bulgaria and the European Commission
  • Stakeholders and researchers from 20 cities across Europe that are partners of the EnRoute project (Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, Utrecht, the Hague, Antwerp, Helsinki, Tallinn, Oslo, Leipzig, Karlovo, Limassol, Valletta, Rome, Verona, Padova, Trento, Poznan, Lyon and Lisbon)
  • Local stakeholders from the Bulgarian environment and planning authorities

Date and Venue

The meeting starts at 09:00 in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 15th November Street 1, 1040 Sofia. During the lunchbreak we will move to the Hotel Metropolitan, bul. "Tsarigradsko Shose" 64, 1784 Mladost 1, Sofia. Transport will be provided.


Registration is mandatory and can be done by clicking on the following link:

Participants can also submit an abstract for the afternoon sessions. 

For questions or unsolicited abstract submissions, contact:

Draft Agenda

09.00 – 09.30

Welcome and registration

09.30 – 09.45

Opening by the chair of the meeting (Joint Research Centre)

09.45 – 10.00

10.00 – 10.45

Welcome speech by official representatives of the invited Bulgarian authorities

Plenary session 1: The importance of urban biodiversity for nature and people

  • Biodiversity in cities (Prof. Axel Hochkirch, University of Trier, Germany)
  • Functional biodiversity and urban ecosystem services (Prof. Fausto Manes, La Sapienza university, Rome, Italy)
  • Green infrastructure and biodiversity in Bulgarian cities (Dr Stoyan Nedkov, BAS, Bulgaria)

10.45 – 11.15

Coffee break

11.15 – 12.30

Plenary session 2: Policies to enhance biodiversity in cities

  • Local level (Fernando Alves, City of Lisbon)
  • National level (Bulgarian ministry).
  • EU and global level (IUCN Europe)
  • EU policy initiatives in the EU to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into policymaking (Rayka Hauser, European Commission, to be confirmed)

12.30 – 13.30

Lunch (provided at the venue) and transport to hotel Metropolitan (Departure at 13.30 pm by bus – meeting point: in front of BAS)

14.00 – 16.00

Afternoon parallel sessions

  • Urban ecosystem services and the role of urban biodiversity (session chair: Joachim Maes)
  • Citizens and urban biodiversity (session chair: Martijn Thijssen)
  • Green infrastructure and urban biodiversity (lead) (session chair: Grazia Zulian)

16.00 – 16.30

Coffee break

16.30 – 17.00

Final plenary session: Urban biodiversity and green infrastructure: Ambition levels