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COP15: The global environmental event you might not know about….yet


SavitaSavita Willmott is Chief Executive of The Natural History Consortium, a charitable collaboration of 14 regional and national organisations working together on a shared mission: to develop, test and disseminate best practice to engage everyone with the environment and natural world.

In this blog, Savita shares information about the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15, and how Bristolians can get involved in tackling the issues close to home by taking part in City Nature Challenge this month.

You’ve heard about COP26, and might have even joined in the events in Glasgow last October (either live orCOP15 Convention on biological diversity logo online). Did you know – the United Nations is now getting ready for the next big global environmental event – COP15, or the UN Biodiversity Conference which will take place in Kunming, China 25 April – 8 May 2022? The conference focuses on the adoption of a crucial document called the post-2020 global biodiversity framework which outlines a vision and roadmap for biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade.

It all might feel quite far away, and in fact, the New York Times called COP15 The Most Important Global Meeting You’ve Probably Never Heard Of’!

The good news? Bristol’s already working on some of the most important targets set out for international discussion – namely protecting 30% of the planet for nature by 2030. We used the same target in our city’s Ecological Emergency Strategy and groups and communities across the city are already delivering projects to achieve this goal. You might be working on a project in the garden, or local park, or working with others to develop a new idea or approach to apply for the new Bristol City Council funding supporting projects designed to hit this goal.

city nature challengeOur next crucial step is to understand how the state of our habitats and species across the city are faring. City Nature Challenge is our city’s annual opportunity to work together to document the wildlife across the city (while having a great time challenging 400 other cities around the world competing at the same time!)

City Nature Challenge is a global event in which people are invited to take pictures of wildlife in their local communities to help scientists and conservationists build up a picture of the nature that is flourishing in urban areas. It’s free to take part and open to everyone.

This year, The Natural History Consortium who organises the event each year, is asking participants to keep adotted bee fly special eye out for the dotted bee-fly, a popular pollinator that can be found around Bristol backyards in late April. It’s the first species in a city-wide “Wildlife Index” that will use City Nature Challenge as a chance to start building up a catalogue of our most important species.

How to take part in City Nature Challenge:

  1. Download the iNaturalist app (it’s free!) and take a photograph of nature in your local area, whether that’s a tree, plant or insect or animal, and upload.
  2. Not a fan of apps? You can upload any photo through the website at
  3. Not sure what you’ve photographed? Upload it anyway – a network of experts will review and update the information so you can log back in later and learn more about what has been spotted in your local area.

Volunteers will be running free nature walks, and pop-up events to help people to take part in popular locations such as Queen Square, Tyntesfield, Wild Place and Bath City Farm.

The information collected on iNaturalist is available to individuals, organisations and businesses across the world and used for a huge variety of purposes including supporting conversation projects, tracking how nature impacts on the health of communities, and finding out how new developments are affecting the natural world.

Get involved – and help us reach our goal of 30% of Bristol’s land managed for the benefit of wildlife, even faster.

All sessions at COP15 will be streamed live at and the main schedule is also available.

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