Concerns have been expressed at the Convention of Biological Diversity that global urban population is likely to rise to 6.3 billion close to double the population in 2010, which stood at 3.5 billion. This brings in challenges in respect of managing biological diversity.
Urban area is likely to triple between 2000 and 2030 and urban population is likely to increase from 2.84 billion to 4.9 billion- about double.
More than 60% of the area is yet to come under urbanisation. Most of the aforesaid urban growth is likely to occur in small and medium sized cities and not in big metropolitan cities.
The ‘cities and biodiversity outlook’ report has been published at the ‘cities for life’, a city and subnational biodiversity summit held simultaneously with the 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties ( COP11) to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD).
Important civic body heads and other officials from 90 cities are to attend the two-day summit to exchange their experience and to discuss agenda for action to reduce loss in biodiversity by 2020.
According to the report, the urban growth will use up on a large scale natural resources, including water and will consume prime land for agricultural with adverse repercussions on biodiversity and ecosystem services elsewhere.
Africa is likely to be the fastest urbanizing continent, a whopping 700%. The total population in Africa is likely to double from 300 million in 2000 to 750 million in 2030.
There are large variations in degree of urbanization and growth across regions in Asia, home 60 per cent of the world’s population.
Urbanization in China is likely to be slower in the next 30 years, as against the past 30 years because, urbanization is going form the coastal areas to the interior. The urban population of China is likely to be more than 900 million, a growth of more than 300 million from today.
Latin America, where 80% of the population is urban is likely to grow to 90% by 2050. Then, it would be the most urbanised region of the world.
The report underscores ‘how urban planners, engineers, architects, policy-makers, politicians, scientists, and citizens alike can take on the challenges of reducing the loss of biodiversity.’
Experts at CBD opine that, urbanization is not only a challenge but also an opportunity to manage ecosystems on world basis.
The report cites Kolkata and Mumbai as outstanding examples of cities wherein biodiversity exists and mentions Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai.
The report says that cities can locate habitats that were there once locally, and can restore them.
Maintaining functionality of the urban ecosystems would significantly improve human health and well-being. Urban ecosystems and biodiversity help contribute to climate change minimization and increasing the biodiversity of urban and food systems could improve food and nutrition security.
The report advocates for integrating ecosystem services in urban policy and planning. Cities give opportunity to learn and getting educated on a future when one can come to normal despite difficulties and all can get all resources without hardship.