Sustainable Development

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    Sustainable development substantially reduces the risk of future drought impacts
    (Springer Nature, 2023-05-25) Tabari, Hossein; Willems, Patrick
    Drought is a major natural hazard that can cause cascading impacts on socioeconomic sectors, and its risk is expected to increase under future climate change and socioeconomic developments. However, a comprehensive cross-disciplinary drought risk outlook is currently lacking to support integrative disaster risk reduction efforts. To address this gap, our analysis examines drought exposure, vulnerability, and risk towards the end of this century under four future pathways. The study identifies the Mediterranean, Amazon, southern Africa, and Central America as the most impacted regions where extreme multivariate drought is projected to become two to four times more likely. Our analysis also shows that sustainable development would reduce population exposure to drought by 70% compared to fossil-fueled development. Furthermore, it halves the number of countries facing a fivefold increase in drought risk. Our results underscore the critical need for a cross-disciplinary drought risk outlook and emphasize the importance of considering exposure and vulnerability for risk assessments.
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    Cosmopolitan conservation: the multi-scalar contributions of urban green infrastructure to biodiversity protection
    (Springer Nature, 2023-05-04) Grabowski, Zbigniew; Fairbairn, Andrew J.; Teixeira, Leonardo H.; Fakirova, Elizaveta; Adeleke, Emannuel; Meyer, Sebastian T.; Traidl-Hoffmann; Schloter, Michael; Helmreich, Brigette
    Urbanization is a leading cause of biodiversity loss globally. Expanding cities alter regional ecological processes by consuming habitat and modifying biogeochemical and energetic flows. Densifying cities often lose valuable intra-urban green spaces. Despite these negative impacts, novel urban ecosystems can harbor high biodiversity and provide vital ecosystem services for urban residents. Recognizing the benefits of urban ecosystems, cities across the globe are increasingly planning for urban green infrastructure (UGI). UGI as a planning concept can transform how cities integrate biodiversity into urbanized landscapes at multiple scales and contribute to conservation goals. Full operationalization of UGI concepts can also reduce urban energy and resource demands via substituting polluting technologies by UGI, further contributing to the global conservation agenda. Realizing the potential contributions of UGI to local, regional, and global conservation goals requires addressing four inter-dependent challenges: (1) expanding social-ecological-systems thinking to include connections between complex social, ecological, and technological systems (SETS), (2) explicitly addressing multi-level governance challenges, (3) adapting SETS approaches to understand the contextual and biocultural factors shaping relationships between UGI and other causal processes in cities that shape biodiversity, and (4) operationalizing UGI systems through robust modeling and design approaches. By transforming UGI policy and research through SETS approaches to explicitly integrate biodiversity we can support global conservation challenges while improving human wellbeing in cities and beyond.