Biodiversity boost from new global university alliance
08 December 2022
The University of Reading has committed to improving biodiversity on its campuses by joining a new global universities initiative which has launched today at the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15).
The Nature Positive Universities Alliance has been launched by the University of Oxford and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It is a global network of universities that have made an official pledge to work towards a global ‘nature positive’ goal in order to halt, prevent and reverse nature loss through addressing their own impacts and restoring ecosystems harmed by their activities.
This push on restoring nature and improving biodiversity is part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a movement to avert climate catastrophe and mass extinction.
The University of Reading is one of 111 institutions from 44 countries that have made individual pledges to start a journey towards becoming nature positive. University pledges include four key elements:
- Carrying out baseline assessments to determine current impacts on nature
- Setting specific, time limited and measurable targets for nature restoration
- Taking action to reduce biodiversity impacts, protect and restore species and ecosystems, while influencing others to do the same
- Transparent annual reporting
Reading is already highly regarded for the way it manages its campuses to boost biodiversity, making use of world-leading research expertise to encourage plants, animals and fungi to thrive.
Professor Mark Fellowes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning & Resource at the University of Reading, and also an expert in ecology and biodiversity, said: “Our Whiteknights campus, set in approximately 130 hectares of parkland, which includes gardens, woodlands, lakes and more, provides a fantastic mix of habitats for wildlife. To date we have recorded more than 2,000 species that live here.
“Just as we are in a climate crisis, we are also in a biodiversity crisis. While we already do great work in managing our estate for biodiversity, we can do more, and this is our commitment to do so. We are proud to join the Nature Positive Universities Alliance, joining forces with universities across the world that are committed to taking further action to support biodiversity across the world.
“We hope that this important work will inspire other organisations to think more about their own impacts on wildlife and what they can do to become more nature positive.”