Taking the lead towards a sustainable future


The Urban Biosphere Initiative (URBIS) comprises a global alliance of partners aspiring to reconcile urban development with the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources; a quest to engender cities with greater social-ecological resilience in the context of global environmental change. The concept of urban biosphere emerged amidst increasing awareness that cities are not discrete, self-contained entities, but rather are dynamic nodes of activity, absorbing vast quantities of natural resources, producing massive amounts of waste, interacting profoundly with their encompassing bioregions, and substantially altering both near and distant ecosystems. At the same time, modern cities offer unprecedented and often untapped opportunities for innovation, efficiency-gains, leadership and social organization. The imperative for action to harness such opportunities and render extractive cities more ecologically restorative spurred the birth of an international initiative to address the design and governance of urban regions and surrounding ecosystems. The initiative aligns with broader international efforts to implement the ecosystem approach and build inclusive green urban economies.


Urbis Dialogues

The URBIS Webinar Series is a global platform for online dialogue, held the first Thursday of every month, that brings together representatives of cities and local governments and leading experts from around the world to share experiences and address specific urban challenges focusing…

Urban Natural Assets for Africa

ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center together with project partners SwedBio, Stockholm Resilience Center, JRS-Foundation, Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and the African Center for Cities, are designing a cutting edge program to support the local implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, to conserve and protect…


URBIS Dialogue 13: Greening the built environment part 2:  Enhancing and restoring habitats Habitat enhancement, restoration and creation 21 June…
21 June 2016

URBIS Dialogue 12: Connecting cities and their natural area regional networks of greenspaces REGISTER HERE MAY 12, 2016 4:00 PM CEST…
12 May 2016

URBIS Dialogue 11: The importance of scale in understanding urban patterns and applying nature-based and community-based solutions REGISTER HERE APRIL…
14 April 2016


Visit our case study map to explore the pioneering and inspiring work that cities have and are currently undertaking to conserve biodiversity.

Click on the markers to access the information, and filter your search through the six themes.

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