Global Biodiversity Framework Targets

Target 12. Urban green and blue spaces enhanced for human well-being

Significantly increase the area and quality, and connectivity of, access to, and benefits from green and blue spaces in urban and densely populated areas sustainably, by mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and ensure biodiversity-inclusive urban planning, enhancing native biodiversity, ecological connectivity and integrity, and improving human health and well-being and connection to nature, and contributing to inclusive and sustainable urbanization and to the provision of ecosystem functions and services.

Following are the guidance notes prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) for Target 12

Green and blue spaces have a range of positive effects on human physical and mental well-being. Ensuring the availability and accessibility of such areas is particularly important given that the increasing trend towards urbanization risks separating people further from nature, with potential negative effects on human health and reduced understanding of biodiversity, and the ecosystem services it provides. Further, green and blue spaces can provide important habitat for species, improve habitat connectivity, provide ecosystem services and help mediate extreme events, if managed with such objectives in mind. The target focuses on the importance of biodiversity-inclusive urban planning and making space for nature within built landscapes to improve the health and quality of life for citizens and to reduce the environmental footprint of cities and infrastructure. It also recognizes the dependency of urban communities on well-functioning ecosystems and the importance of spatial planning to reduce the negative impacts on biodiversity of urban expansion, roads and other infrastructure.  

The target aims to ensure biodiversity-inclusive urban planning, inter alia to increase the green and blue spaces within cities and other densely populated areas, in order to contribute to human well-being and the conservation of biodiversity in urban areas\ To accomplish this, the target sets out a number of elements: 

  • Green and blue spaces  These are areas of vegetation, inland and coastal waters, generally in or near to urban areas and other densely populated areas. The target specifically calls for the area, quality, connectivity, accessibility and benefits from such areas to be increased for the purposes of enhancing native biodiversity, ecological connectivity and integrity, and improve human health and well-being and connection to nature. This could be accomplished in various ways, including by creating new green and blue spaces, better managing existing areas for biodiversity and health outcomes, and ensuring that such areas are accessible to people.  
  • Biodiversity-inclusive urban planning – Urban planning is a technical and political process for managing the use of urban spaces. The target specifically calls for such processes to be biodiversity inclusive.
  • Mainstreaming – The target calls for the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the context of green and blue spaces and biodiversity-inclusive urban planning. Biodiversity mainstreaming is generally understood as ensuring that biodiversity, and the services it provides, are appropriately and adequately factored into policies and practices that rely and have an impact on it.
  • Actions to reach Target 12 should take into account all of the considerations for implementation identified in section C of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. 
  • This target will contribute to the attainment of goals A and B of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Progress towards this target will also help to reach targets 2348 and 11. Conversely, progress towards this target will be support by actions to reach targets 11419202122 and 23
  • Elements of Target 12 are also addressed in the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, including targets 11.7 and 11.b.
  • How is urban planning managed in your country? What processes are in place to plan and manage green and blue spaces? How can these be made more biodiversity-inclusive?
  • Who are the main actors involved, and what are their roles and responsibilities? What planning decisions are (being) devolved to sub-national (state/province, city, municipal) governments? What implications does this have for action towards this target?
  • What are the opportunities for and constraints to increasing the area, quality, connectivity of, access to, and benefits from green and blue spaces? What are the potential ecological, economic, and social benefits and costs of taking action?
  • Who are the actors that may be affected? How can they be involved and their needs addressed? What are the trade-offs to consider? 
  • What additional resources (financial, human and technical) will be required to reach the national target? How can additional funds be raised? What are possible funding sources?  

The monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework identifies the following indicators for this target: 

Headline indicators: 

Component indicators: 

  • Recreation and cultural ecosystem services provided 

Note from the Secretariat: This guidance material provides an overview of the target by briefly introducing key terms, highlighting some of the implications for national target setting, and providing key points and guiding questions for consideration as part of national target-setting exercises. It also identifies the adopted indicators to monitor progress and resources that could assist with national target setting and implementation. This material should be considered a work in progress, and it will be periodically updated with inputs from Parties and partner organizations in the light of experiences with its use. This information is meant to serve as a resource that Parties and others may wish to consider as they implement the Global Biodiversity Framework. It does not replace or qualify decision 15/4 or 15/5