2050Today - Guidelines
Biodiversity

Biodiversity - guidelines

You will find below the 5 thematic objectives of the Charter 2050Today corresponding to the biodiversity sector and suggestions for corresponding actions. On the basis of an initial assessment, each institution must define its own specific actions to develop and implement its action plan. The selected actions will be used to define an individual action plan to achieve the targets set for 2025, 2028 and 2030. In order to carry out the assessment of the initial situation and define the individual action plan, a biodiversity thematic measurement table is provided as a tool.

Click on the bullet points for quick access

Introduction

Biodiversity in the Geneva region is characterised by a mosaic of natural riches that deserve protection. The varied ecosystems, from the shores of Lake Geneva to the surrounding mountains, are home to an impressive array of animal and plant species (some 20,000 animal species and 1,250 plant species have been recorded in the canton) , each contributing to the delicate balance of the local environment. Sufficient surface area, good quality natural habitats and strong interconnections play a crucial role in maintaining natural cycles and preserving ecosystem services.

The Quartier des Nations, with its international convergence and cultural diversity, is also home to a rich biodiversity that requires adequate space to flourish. The district’s open green spaces, parks and wetlands provide habitats for a variety of plant and animal species, creating high-value ecosystems at the heart of human activity, spaces of quiet and peace for users as well as a link between the lake and the surrounding countryside. These environments are therefore crucial not only for the survival of local species, but also for the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

Human factors – mainly land conversion, overexploitation of natural resources and climate change – have become unsustainable for many species and biotopes. In other words, human beings are hindering nature’s ability to contribute to their own well-being.

All institutions can get involved in maintaining biodiversity and contributing to human well-being by adopting a dual approach. Firstly, each stakeholder can manage and maintain their own land in a way that promotes as many natural habitats as possible. On one hand, generally light and low-cost fieldwork can increase the diversity of environments. At the same time, adapting periodic maintenance allows institutions to promote local biodiversity. Information and instructions are readily available.

The contribution of each institution is of paramount importance, because every square metre counts. By adopting a proactive approach, each stakeholder can transform their land into precious havens for local flora and fauna. Every square metre of land can be developed in a way that supports biodiversity, whether by planting native species, creating natural habitats and areas of darkness at night, or by switching to a method of maintaining green spaces that encourages biodiversity. Every action, no matter how small, can have a significant positive impact on biological diversity, the local climate, human well-being and support the exemplary role played by Geneva in protecting biodiversity. Each square metre, by being integrated into the surrounding initiatives, can become an essential link in the chain of biodiversity protection, demonstrating that even in limited spaces, positive changes can be made for the collective benefit of nature and society.

In addition, each player must also consider the undesirable impacts they have on biodiversity through their consumption and trade processes. Indeed, the importation of processed goods, raw materials and foodstuffs has harmful effects elsewhere, out of sight and out of mind. The second approach is therefore to identify measures that significantly reduce these invisible impacts.

Management objectives

Objective 1 - Establishing management measures to ensure the action plan implementation

1.1 Gouvernance

Effective governance ensures that biodiversity management strategies are effectively implemented and continuously improved. Governance provides a structured approach to strategic planning in the management of biodiversity conservation. It involves setting clear objectives, defining roles and responsibilities and describing the steps required to achieve biodiversity objectives. Governance will be adapted to the needs and possibilities of each participating institution.

Actions

  • Set up a steering group or a governance structure
  • Define a review schedule to update the biodiversity policies over time
  • Draw up an action plan to preserve and enhance biodiversity on the plot

1.2 Identify a biodiversity officer within the institution

Designating a member of staff as the biodiversity focal point within the institution ensures effective coordination of efforts to preserve and promote biodiversity within the institution and with the outside world, particularly the relevant public services. Depending on the institution, this role may be combined with that of a climate or sustainable development officer.

 

Advantages

Personalising commitments within the institution and highlighting the person in charge

  • Improved coordination of biodiversity-related efforts within the institution.
  • Increasing employee awareness and commitment
  • More effective integration of biodiversity-friendly practices into the institution’s day-to-day activities
  • Possibility of establishing partnerships with other themes and/or institutions or experts
  • More accurate monitoring of the progress and impact of biodiversity initiatives

Actions

  • Selection of the officer : Identify a motivated and voluntary staff member to serve as a contact person for biodiversity, based on the common specifications. This contact person should demonstrate an interest in biodiversity and have a basic understanding of environmental issues. They can also represent what is expected for future contact persons from other institutions
  • The officer’s responsibilities : Define the responsibilities of the officer, for example raising awareness within the institution, coordinating initiatives, liaising with external experts and monitoring actions
  • Establish a Standardized Specification

Objective 2 - Monitoring sustainability over time

It is important to carry out an assessment of the biodiversity status of the institution’s properties or land areas and to examine how they fit into the surrounding ecosystems and how they change over time.

 

Advantages

  • Understanding the state of biodiversity on the plot
  • Identify the potential of the plot and opportunities for improvement

Actions

  • Commission an analysis of the initial state : Assess the state of biodiversity on the plot, including nocturnal biodiversity. This assessment can also be carried out in-house if the skills are available
  • Context study : Evaluate how the plot can integrate or complement surrounding projects and how it can contribute to ecological connectivity
  • Monitoring the implementation and development of biodiversity
  • Regularly measure the progress of the actions defined and adapt the action plan if necessary

Objective 3 - Championing change and involving all stakeholders

The full participation of staff and partners is essential to promoting a sustainable and environmentally respectful future. Taking crucial steps, no matter how small, contributes to this vision by promoting responsible behavior, long-term commitment, and positive environmental change. Empowering and educating individuals about their role concerning local biodiversity is vital, beginning with providing information and implementing awareness initiatives.

 

Advantages

  • Helps guide staff on actions to be taken and defines important points to take into account with regard to biodiversity
  • Creates a dynamic for behavioural change within the institution
  • Encourages long-term staff commitment

Actions

  • Provide information to building users : inform the occupants of the building about the environmental impact of consumption on biodiversity and raise their awareness
  • Present biodiversity best practice and “eco-gestures” to employees (for example, during an event or campaign)
  • Display biodiversity best practice on posters and/or stickers in the building
  • Publish an annual report on biodiversity achievements
  • Inform users of the importance of biodiversity in these recreational areas, in particular by means of signs or visits to the site (if the areas are suitable)

Thematic objectives

Objectif 4 - Increasing the naturalness of habitats

4.1 Enhance the naturalness of habitats on the plot to promote biodiversity

The actions are designed to create refuge areas, feeding grounds and breeding grounds for local species while helping to restore ecosystems.

 

Advantages

  • Creation of refuge, feeding and breeding areas for local species
  • Contributing to the restoration of ecosystems
  • Improved ecosystem services for site users

Actions

  • Differentiated management : Adopting management and maintenance practices for green spaces that minimise the impact on biodiversity, such as reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides and cutting back on the frequency of mowing. Practical information
  • Creating a flower meadow : Creating a flower meadow with native plants on the site to benefit insects. Practical information
  • Creating a flowering lawn : Creating a flowering lawn or transforming a conventional lawn into a flowering lawn to benefit insects. Practical information
  • Native hedges : Planting a native hedge on the site or converting an exotic hedge into a native hedge. Practical information sheet
  • Green roofing : Transforming a conventional flat roof into a green roof. Practical guide
  • Tree planting : Creating habitats by planting trees. Practical information sheet for fruit trees
  • Aquatic biotope : Creating a pond on your plot of land. Practical information sheet
  • Other measures : Stems and stumps, landscaping at the foot of trees, woodpiles, stone walls, etc. Examples and practical information sheets

4.2 Facilitate the movement of animal species within and between sites

Create corridors and passageways to allow animal species to move freely through the plot and outwards.

 

Advantages

  • Improved ecological connectivity between habitats
  • Facilitating the movement of animal species
  • Promotes genetic diversity and population resilience.

Action

4.3 Reduce poorly or unnecessarily lit areas to promote nocturnal biodiversity

Extending dark or unlit areas on local properties to provide habitats conducive to nocturnal biodiversity.

 

Advantages

  • Favours nocturnal fauna, including species such as bats, moths and owls
  • Reduces overall light pollution and energy costs

Action

  • Reduce excessive lighting, by switching off unnecessary sources of light and adapting unsuitable lighting. See the Practical Guide

4.4 Create spaces for users to relax, using biodiversity to improve general well-being

Integrating biodiversity into leisure and recreation areas to improve human well-being while promoting local flora and fauna.

 

Advantages

  • Provides staff/users with attractive and beneficial relaxation areas with highlighted biodiversity
  • Encourages native biodiversity and provides opportunities for wildlife observation
  • Raising awareness of biodiversity issues

Actions

  • Surface stripping : Reducing areas of concrete or tar and replacing them with natural areas
  • Creating an urban vegetable garden : integrating a participative and ecological vegetable garden on the site. Practical information sheet
  • Installing nesting boxes : Installing nesting boxes for birds and/or bats. Practical information sheets

Objectif 5 - Assessing and reducing the main consumption channels that have a negative impact on biodiversity

The aim is to identify, mitigate and prevent the adverse effects of the consumption of products and services and possibly of investments on ecosystems in order to preserve and promote biological diversity. This process aims to balance the needs of the institution with the health and resilience of the world’s ecosystems.

Some actions below have a significant impact on biodiversity, but are also directly linked to other thematic working groups such as food, sustainable IT, and waste management. It is advised to tackle these actions with the other respective working Groups. Please refer to the respective thematic appendix for more information and implementation.

5.1 Identify areas of consumption that have a major impact on global biodiversity

Advantages

  • Ensure the effective implementation of international conventions on biodiversity and be a champion of them
  • Identifying the main consumption areas enables to take well-informed decisions for minimizing negative effects on biodiversity
  • Greater transparency on the consequences of purchasing policies

Actions

  • Evaluate supplier impacts using a high impact commodity list. Products which use resouces from such a list should be specifically targeted for reduction and sustainable sourcing. List from the SBT initiative
  • Use of labels to define the biodiversity impact of a product. Label overview
  • Implement resusability / recycling strategies for all purchased products (waste management)

5.2 Include biodiversity objectives in investment descisions and pension fund criterias

Advantages

  • Incorporating biodiversity objectives can help identify and mitigate environmental risks in investment portfolios.
  • Supporting the bridging of the biodiversity funding gap

Actions

  • Encourage team building activities in local countryside with an educational part on the nature
  • Engage with on-site caterer for biodiversity assessment of products (food)
  • Favour plant-based meals for events (food)
  • Support paperless communication internally as well as externally
  • Reduce single use plastics as much as possible (waste management)
  • Introduce shared office material
  • Create access to reparation services to increase lifespan of products and reduce buying of new material
  • Implement minimum life-time requirements for IT-material (sustainable IT)

Resources

Assessment and Action Plan Tool

The Assessment and Action Plan tool proposes actions corresponding to the Charter’s five sectoral biodiversity objectives, as a reference for defining an action plan. On the basis of an initial assessment, each institution should adopt its own actions and develop and implement its own action plan to achieve its own objectives by 2025, 2028 and 2030.

The suggested objectives and actions are non-exhaustive examples and are listed according to the priority of the impact indicator and the suggested objectives:

Level 1: Maximum priority

Level 2: Highly important

Level 3: Recommended

Access the Biodiversity Assessment and Action Plan Tool

2050Today Charter © 2023 by 2050Today is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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