An Urban Jungle for the 21st Century By SONIA KOLESNIKOV-JESSOPJULY 28, 2011

But it is not enough. In Singapore’s next “green road map,” its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being “a garden city” to “a city in a garden.”

Singapore aggressively pursued its reputation as a green city as early as the 1960s and 1970s, when the newly independent country was in the rush of rapid economic development and urbanization.

“To be frank, we did not have a very conscious idea to conserve biodiversity right from the beginning. That was not the blueprint,” Mr. Poon said. “For a very long time, we focused only on plants and it has worked very well for us, but now we feel that to engage people and get them excited, especially the young, we need to include a wildlife component and moving forward we want to do more.”

Last October, an assembly of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity held in Nagoya, Japan, approved a strategic plan for conserving the planet’s biodiversity over the next 10 years. It has 20 ambitious targets, including halving and where feasible bringing close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats, including forests; restoring at least 15 percent of degraded areas; and extending protected terrestrial areas from 13 percent of land at present to 17 percent, and protected marine areas from 1 percent to 10 percent.

“The new strategic plan has been guided by the wake-up call contained in the report on the status of biodiversity in the world released by the secretariat in May 2010,” Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity, wrote in an e-mail.

The report warned that the present rate of loss of biodiversity may be up to 1,000 times higher than the natural rate of extinction.


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