THE first self-assessment tool for cities to measure biodiversity - the Singapore Index on Cities' Biodiversity - has been formally endorsed at the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya.

The Singapore Index has been test bedded by over 30 cities around the world. It uses a 'report card' scoring system where cities can carry out their own assessment, allocate points for a diversity of 23 indicators, and come up with an overall quantitative score.

The information can help cities make decisions on how to prioritise their biodiversity conservation initiatives and to evaluate their progress in reducing the rate of biodiversity loss.

The Singapore Index also has the potential to be used to measure the economic benefits of biodiversity. This will help cities better consider policies that impact biodiversity conservation.

Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan, who is in Nagoya for the conference, said the Index will be Singapore's contribution to the biodiversity conservation movement.

'It will assist cities and local authorities to measure the progress of their biodiversity conservation efforts over time,' he added.

Mr Mah noted that Singapore is a good case study in illustrating how economic development and greenery and biodiversity conservation can be mutually reinforcing.

'We are a small city-state with limited land resources, but rich in flora and fauna. We are thankful for the support of the CBD Secretariat and the various experts in developing the Singapore Index. It is our contribution towards ongoing global efforts on biodiversity conservation,' he said.

Singapore has also offered to host a Cities and Biodiversity Forum for Mayors during the next World Cities Summit to be held in mid-2012, as a preparatory meeting to CBD in India in October 2012.

S'pore Index endorsed