Salzburg Global Helps Launch London as the World’s First National Park City

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Aug 06, 2019
by Oscar Tollast
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Salzburg Global Helps Launch London as the World’s First National Park City

Salzburg Global vice president and chief program officer Clare Shine among speakers at National Park City Summit From left to right – Paul de Zylva, Clare Shine, Peter Massini, Kevin Halpenny, Kobie Brand, Alison Barnes, Dan Raven-Ellison, Russell Galt

Salzburg Global Fellow Dan Raven-Ellison saw his dream become a reality last month as London declared itself as the world’s first National Park City.

In a special ceremony at City Hall on July 22, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan co-signed the London National Park City Charter, which outlines ways to increase London’s green credentials.

During the ceremony, Raven-Ellison said, “The London National Park City is our habitat, it’s our city. We all have a voice to shape it. We need more bold visions of a positive future—a better life.”

Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer of Salzburg Global Seminar, was invited to speak on the global potential of urban partnerships and nature-based solutions for equity, health, and economies.

During her talk, Shine said, “It’s not a zero-sum game. If you plant trees and make safe green space accessible for everyone, you are dealing not only with biodiversity and climate change but also violence, loneliness, and other urban problems… There are so many win-wins.”

Other Salzburg Global Fellows at the celebration included Kobie Brand, director of ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Centre; Jonny Hughes, chair of the IUCN Urban Alliance, Russell Galt, director of the IUCN Urban Alliance; and Alison Barnes, a trustee of the National Park Foundation.

The previous day, Salzburg Global joined forces with the National Park City Foundation and World Urban Parks to launch the Universal Charter for National Park Cities—a unique new movement to affirm and celebrate the power of cities as habitats shaping life on earth.

The Charter defines a National Park City as “a place, a vision and a city-wide community that is acting together to make life better for people, wildlife and nature” and explains that “a defining feature is the widespread commitment to act so people, culture and nature work together to provide a better foundation for life”. The Charter specifies that a National Park City is “a shared vision and journey for a better life” and that everyone in a National Park City can benefit and contribute every day.

Raven-Ellison, Brand, Hughes, Galt, and Barnes have all attended programs of Salzburg Global’s Parks for the Planet Forum, a platform for transformative leadership and action to reconnect people and nature in an urbanized world. Launched in 2015, the Forum aims to improve human and societal wellbeing by expanding access to nature-rich urban spaces, increasing investments in urban conservation, and creating dynamic partnerships between people, cities, and protected area systems.

For more information about the Forum, please contact Salzburg Global program director Dominic Regester at dregester@salzburgglobal.org.