Publications & tools

Guidance document

A guide for pollinator-friendly cities: How can spatial planners and land-use managers create favourable urban environments for pollinators?

Thriving wild pollinator populations are a prerequisite for healthy, resilient green spaces and urban ecosystems. They provide vital pollination services. Seventy five per cent of the world’s main food crops and 85% of wild plants rely on pollinating insects. Aside from the benefits to agriculture and the environment, multiple sectors in society benefit directly or indirectly from the services of pollinators – sectors such as public health or industry. They underpin the stability of pollinator services over time and ensure plant diversity. However, numerous scientific studies indicate that populations of wild pollinators (i.e. bees, hoverflies, moths, butterflies and beetles) have declined significantly across Europe over the last few decades. These trends call for urgent conservation action.

This guidance supports the EU Pollinators Initiative, adopted by the Commission in 2018 as the first-ever EU coordinated action on pollinators. The Initiative sets strategic objectives and a set of actions to be taken by the EU and its Member States to address the decline of pollinators in the EU and contribute to global conservation efforts. This guidance contributes to Action 6, which aims to improve pollinator habitats in urban areas and the wider landscape.

Cities and towns can be a major refuge for many insect pollinators, providing foraging and nesting sites, larval food plants and nectar that may be less available on intensively managed farmland. Thus, they have an important role to play. Local authorities (including politicians and policy makers) and local authority practitioners (planners, landscape architects, land managers, contractors, developers and gardeners) are well equipped to drive forward wild pollinator conservation.

Access the French and German versions of the guidance and related documents on the IUCN website.

English, French, German