Biodiversity is defined as the variability of living organisms in all terrestrial, marine and aquatic ecosystems as well as the ecological complexes they are a part of; it includes the diversity within each species, between species and of the ecosystems.
Biodiversity, a global value
Biodiversity is important for many reasons of an environmental, economic, cultural, emotional and ethical nature. It offers a set of useful services and functions which include the provision of food, fuels, fertile soil, clean air, fresh water and raw materials. It also contributes to the physical and emotional well-being of human beings and forms a part of the natural and cultural heritage of each territory. Therefore, humanity has the moral duty of preserving its assets and benefits so that present and future generations may enjoy them.
A city's biodiversity is a part of global natural heritage
The loss of a species in a specific territory is collective damage which impoverishes the planet's biological diversity. The indigenous flora and fauna of each place, therefore, constitutes a unique asset which must be valued and protected, as well as the habitats and environments occupied by the various species.
Agenda 21 has been the guide for making progress on policies in favour of biodiversity, specifically driven by objective 1 of the City's Commitment to Sustainability (2002-2012): "Protect open spaces and biodiversity, and expand urban green spaces", which include two lines of action. In this way, biodiversity becomes a part of the municipal political agenda. Barcelona has become actively involved:
The Biodiversity Plan is the strategic document which outlines the municipal government's challenges, objectives and commitments in relation to the conservation of biological diversity and of the habitats in the city and planet, and in relation to the knowledge people have about these, how they enjoy them and take care of them. The Plan is a PAM 2008-2011 commitment. "We will be the driving force behind the Urban Biodiversity Master Plan, promoting an urban strategy based on the knowledge, spreading and management of the city's flora and fauna." It establishes a forward-looking Approach for the city: a city where biodiversity is conserved, enriched and appreciated as part of the Earth's natural heritage, and as a benefit to present and future generation.
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