As policies across governance levels fall short in addressing critical aspects of biodiversity conservation, there is an urgent need for transformative approaches that reverse species decline and unlock the benefits that nature can provide society. Bottom-up initiatives, often overlooked and underfunded, must complement national strategies to drive meaningful change. 

The EU-funded UNPplus (UNP+) project will address the need for coordinated top-down and bottom-up initiatives, engaging city- and community-driven efforts to complement national sustainability plans. Specifically, 11 academic partners and 5 European cities will explore innovations and barriers related to Urban Nature Plans. UNP’s are strategic frameworks that formalize a city’s commitment to promoting biodiversity and urban greening. The aim is not to duplicate what cities are already doing, but to create a multi-scale framework that helps local authorities to integrate existing policies, measures and strategies related to urban greening across multiple scales (urban, peri-urban, landscape) and mainstream biodiverse urban nature as a priority across municipal departments and sectors (e.g., housing, mobility, utilities, and public health) through the UNP process for bringing nature back into our cities. UNP+ will take learning from this process to bridge gaps, foster collaboration, and propel a next-generation strategy for urban ecosystem transformation, aligning with the EU's vision for biodiversity by 2030 and the Nature Restoration Law.

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