In a year that has been particularly hard on the Niçois region, one essential element has not been forgotten: the environment.
Regional Biodiversity Capital 2016: this coveted title has recently been bestowed on Nice and its metropolitan area for its collective work to preserve nature, experiment with various ecological methodologies to restore impacted areas, create new green space, and educate the public on matters concerning nature. 72 competing communities throughout France participated in this competition which in 2016 was placed under the leitmotif of “soil and biodiversity”. The distinction of National Biodiversity Capital 2016 went to Rennes.
The competition organizing committee is composed of Plante & Cité, the national centre for green space and urban landscape management, Natureparif, the national agency for nature and biodiversity, regional partners, as well as numerous governmental and non-governmental agencies. Experts evaluate participating communities’ submissions for their immediate and ongoing contribution to the preservation of biodiversity, the integration of nature into urban planning, sustainability, and overall impact on Earth’s climate.
Soil is the foundation of life, a resource that needs to be managed, a witness to our collective history, and as a consequence plays a vital part in human activities on a daily basis, be it through urban landscaping, green spaces, agriculture and forestry, or as a prevention from the risk of natural desasters, the organizers stated. Local collectives are therefore the first line of defence to stop its degradation, and ensure or restore its productivity.
The competition, founded in 2010, ascertains fairness by featuring different categories: National Capital of biodiversity, Best Town (small, midsize, large), Best Interurban Area, and Regional Awards. In previous years, Azurean laureates included Mouans-Sartoux (Small Town, 2014) which was the jury’s “coup de Coeur” for its dedication to organic agriculture, and Miramas (Regional Award, 2014), for its big-picture environmental policy and its ban on chemical pesticides in the entire community. No competition was held in 2015 but instead a call was issued for candidates to dedicate their concepts to COP21.
Its commitment earned the Nice Metropolitan Area three “dragonflies”, the equivalent of the flowers in the “Ville Fleurie” label.
The 2017 competition has been placed under the motto of “Biodiversity in land management, renovation and construction”.
All images courtesy Capitales Françaises de la Biodiversité website