Development of new Cities’ Science-Based Targets for Nature launched at COP28



    Dubai, UAE (6/12/2023) – Today, the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) announced plans to develop cities-focused science-based targets for nature. Advancing the scope to include cities, alongside companies, the new Cities’ Science-Based Targets for Nature program’s first objective is to create a holistic, science-based target indicators framework that covers the impact of cities on both climate and other natural systems. 

    “This initiative comes as a crucial addition to ongoing efforts in understanding the intricate relationship between cities, climate goals, and the burgeoning realm of nature-related objectives. It builds on the existing work of SBTN and will help equip cities to do their part to halt and reverse nature loss,” said Patrick Frick, founder of the Global Commons Alliance, of which SBTN is a part. 

    Nature Positive Cities & Regions at COP28 

    The Cities’ Science-Based Targets for Nature program was showcased as one of the most important initiatives to help municipalities manage land and water, protect biodiversity, and bolster climate resilience, during a COP28 Presidency event on December 6. 

    The session “Local Ecosystem Restoration for Nature Positive Cities & Regions” brought together mayors, decision-makers, and business leaders, shining a spotlight on the pivotal role that cities and regions play in championing nature-based solutions. It amplified the call to action for “Nature Positive Development” and showcased real-world projects and tools designed to fortify cities against future challenges.

    Why should cities set SBTs for nature?

    Cities are the largest driver of environmental impact globally, with an estimated 57% of the global population already living in cities (The World Bank) and this number is projected to rise to 68% by 2050 (the United Nations). Both the direct and indirect impact of cities need to be brought in line with what nature can support. 

    The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted at COP15 last year, set a global goal of ‘halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.’ This goal, intertwined with the carbon neutrality/net-zero emissions objective, forms a ‘double compass’ guiding humanity towards a sustainable and secure future. In this landscape, regions and cities are emerging as essential catalysts for change in the pursuit of Nature Positive Development. These targets for cities are essential for guiding efforts in line with the Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries, released by the Earth Commission in May this year. 

    Recognizing the vital role of local and subnational governments, along with other stakeholders, in adopting and implementing nature-positive policies, this program seeks to accelerate progress towards net-zero emissions, enhanced biodiversity, and climate resilience.


    The Cities’ SBTs for Nature program is set to unfold over the next 18 months until spring 2025 at which point initial guidance for cities will be available. It is a collaborative effort with some of the world’s leading cities networks, research institutions, and advisory organizations focused on cities: CDP, WWF, WRI, C40, ICLEI, Durham University, TNC, and Arup. At the heart of the consortium, Metabolic and Urban Biodiversity Hub will act as core delivery partners.

    “With this initiative, cities commit to integrating nature into their climate transition and urban policy agendas as an immediate priority. This includes establishing clear targets for the creation and preservation of green and blue spaces. Furthermore, cities setting science-based targets for climate and nature, will be seeking alignment and synergies with Local Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (LBSAPs) and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans,” said Eva Gladek, founder and CEO of Metabolic, one of the core delivery partners.


    About The Science Based Targets Network: 

    The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) is a unique collaboration of over 80 leading global non-profits (including the same organizations behind the Science Based Targets initiative) and mission-driven organizations who have come together to equip companies and cities with the guidance they need to stay within an environmentally safe and socially just operating corridor. SBTN is extending the concept and momentum of the Science Based Targets initiative, which helps companies mitigate their GHG emissions, to address broader environmental issues through science-based targets for nature. The Science Based Targets Network is part of the Global Commons Alliance (GCA), a growing coalition of scientists, philanthropists, businesses and innovators, inspiring new ideas and action to safeguard what’s common and precious to us all: the global commons.

    About Metabolic 

    Metabolic is a systems change agency striving to transition the global economy to a fundamentally sustainable state where people and nature thrive. 

    We guide decision-makers and implement real-world projects that bring ambitious ideas to life.  We conduct leading research, develop future-facing strategies, build software tools, scale impactful ventures, and empower communities on the ground.  

    Headquartered in Amsterdam, we have an international and interdisciplinary team. The circular economy is at the heart of our work. We have developed a suite of approaches that allow us to quickly map a system (whether a place, company, or sector), understand how it functions, and identify where we can intervene to make the greatest impact. See how at

    About Urban Biodiversity Hub 

    The Urban Biodiversity Hub (UBHub) specializes in supporting local governments and their partners to improve their ecological impact. This is achieved through developing comprehensive socio-ecological frameworks and policy guides, providing knowledge on local strategies and practices for nature, and establishing connections between local and global sustainability targets.

    UBHub hosts the largest database on urban biodiversity strategies and action plans worldwide. We harness this database to inform global targets and guidance tools.
    Additionally, UBHub excels in multicultural facilitation, working with experts and practitioners across various cultures. They have experience in convening partners for successful output-oriented workshops and possess practical, technical, and lived experience in over 20 countries and across disciplines. This diverse expertise and global reach make UBHub a leader in promoting ecological sustainability in urban contexts. Find out more at


    Any questions?

    Reach out to our 

    Sustainability Consultant and the Cities Program Manager at the Science Based Targets Network,
    Sophie Hendriks

    Learn more about how we work with Cities & Regions

    Cities are one of our most critical intervention points for creating sustainable local economies, reducing impact on natural environments, and increasing the quality of human lives.

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