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Guidance document

Tackling the climate and biodiversity crises in Europe through Urban Greening Plans

To systematically bring nature back to cities, the EU Biodiversity Strategy calls upon cities with over 20,000 inhabitants to develop Urban Greening Plans (UGP) by the end of 2021. UGP present a unique opportunity for the systematic integration of urban green infrastructures in urban planning across Europe. However, implementation is lagging behind.

The authors present five recommendations they consider essential for the further conceptualisation and operationalisation of UGP:

  1. the development of an overarching Urban Greening Strategy to translate into Urban Greening Plans as operational plans;
  2. a stakeholder participation strategy and a UGP narrative guideline for consistent messaging that enables buy-in;
  3. prioritising nature and biodiversity over competing land use in planning instruments and targets;
  4. SMART indicators to support regular monitoring against established goals; and
  5. business models, investment models and financing mechanisms that recognise the potential of co-benefits and revenue generation of urban greening actions.

This scientific opinion paper was co-authored by ICLEI Europe and the German Environment Agency, on behalf of the German Environment Agency.