Evariste Rutebuka

How can cities contribute to more effective pathways for biodiversity monitoring and assessment?

I am investigating ecosystem and biodiversity indicators for multiple cities and multiple reporting frameworks.

Cities are potential habitats for biodiversity and many threatened species. Worryingly, some threatened species are found exclusively in urban areas. The need for accurate and regular monitoring of urban biodiversity is recognized by local city governments as well as the need at a global level for cities to contribute to biodiversity conservation. This has led to increased recognition of need to incorporate cities as key actors in the United Nations policy making arena.

Along with biodiversity self-assessment, cities have developed coalitions with biodiversity reporting commitments such as ICLEI-CitiesWithNature and the Global Covenant of Mayors. Multiple national and global frameworks are also pressing cities to respond to indicators proposed by different frameworks such as Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Biodiversity Framework and Sustainable Development Goals.

Responding to these multiscale frameworks and city self-assessment using existing global proposed indicators becomes problematic for cities. Some of the indicators developed for the global scale are not effective at the scale of cities due to the heterogeneous and highly dynamic urban ecosystems, but also the themes may not have the same relevance in urban systems. Applicability, comparability and unified biodiversity indicators that can be applied to different cities are now a critical issue not only for the city but also for regional and global reporting frameworks.


Before joining the University of Melbourne, I was involved in natural capital accounting project with the World Bank where we investigated the ecosystem accounting for policymaking in Rwanda, Africa. The work resulted in a number of publications and presentations in different global forums. Importantly the project highlighted the challenges of data gaps and harmonising reporting beyond local and national scales in responding to emerging biodiversity-related frameworks specifically in developing nations. I have worked on multiple research projects in ecosystem and biodiversity in the East African region from forest to urban ecosystem and from biodiversity monitoring, environmental accounting to policy implications.

Research interests

Ecosystem and biodiversity modelling, reporting frameworks, and science and policy interface
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Evariste_Rutebuka2


Phone: +61 410425910
Email: erutebuka@student.unimelb.edu.au

Supervisors: Dr Amy Hahs and Dr Judy Bush