The participatory event aimed at strengthening the key points of the National Development Plan for biodiversity and identify and discussed challenges and opportunities in the collaborative action engaged across the different levels of governments and other actors to develop and strengthen the national position and common narrative on the post 2020 biodiversity framework. It forms part of the joint initiative by the Colombian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of the Environment to define a process for the establishment of a national position in a collaborative manner, enabling different spaces for the mobilization of productive sectors, and facilitating a dialogue between local entities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs) and academia, among others.
For the occasion, the new program launched by Colombia’s President Ivan Duque, Biodivercuidad – literally translated as Biodiverse-cities – was presented as the new policy tool to bridge the gap reported in the recent national report on urban quality of life across Colombian cities, and truly mainstream biodiversity into urban development.
“I want to highlight the great importance of biodiversity integration in urban development. The new program Biodivercuidades developed by President Ivan Duque acts at two levels, local and global. In developing countries the urban footprint is going to triple and raise by 90% elsewhere.” Juan Nicolás Galarza, Vice-minister for the Territory Environmental Planning
Whereas WWF Colombia has reported a degradation of 30-35% of wetlands condition over the past 40 years, those play a keyrole in the resilience of urban areas as concentrate rainwaters, several local and subnational governments seemed to have taken ownership of the Biodivercuidades initiative and saluted it as a headway towards the improved integration of biodiversity into urban planning, and the reduction of the urban footprint.
“The program Biodivercuidades is huge step to design an integral commitment with nature, which is so fundamental for the future of mankind.” Carlos Ordosgoitia Sanin, Mayor of Monteria City
Over what came as a very enlightening Mayors Roundtable, several participating local and subnational governments appealed the participants to joine forces and sign up the Edinburgh Declaration, supporting the call for a dedicated and more ambitious decision and renewed plan of action.
“We want to generate a conscious and consistent tourism of nature, to enable a renovation and a green economic reactivation and turn our city into a Biodivercuidad!” Sara Maria Cabrera, Secretary for the Environment, Villavicencio City
Innovating best practices were shared such as the Plan SIEMBRA lead by the Metropolitan Area of the Valle de Aburra (AMVA) to restore ecosystems and plant 1 billion trees, the launch of the first sustainable river transport system implemented by Monteria City over the River Busiru or the sustainable energy program developed by Baranquilla City. They were strongly encouraged to promote them on the CitiesWithNature platform endorsed by the CBD to gather commitments from local and subnational actors.
“Losing fear and facing once for all sustainable urban development is the most important institutional capital. This is why we will sign up to the Edinburgh Declaration!” Mario Vitery, Secretary for the Environment, Pasto City
The tight articulation with academia and the development of citizens science to inform decision-makers was also very inspirational as the Humboldt Instute and Sinchi Instute took part to the discussions highlighting the need to raise awareness and share knowledge promoting a participative governance and a synergetic action with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
“As the president of AMVA and of the network of Colombian metropolitan areas ASOARES, I call you to unite and sign up the Edinburgh Declaration for biodiversity. We are compromised for a sustainable future!” Juan David Palacio Cardona, President of AMVA & ASOARES
Yet, to size those ambitions and scale-up those pilots projects, more technical and financial means were expressed by local and subnational stakeholders and echoed by ICLEI SAMS.
“We must expand the technical and financial capacity of local governments for biodiversity. Those vertical dialogues are a call to sign-up the Edinburgh Declaration, which symbolizes the commitment and clamor of local actors for nature!” Rodrigo Perpetuo, Director ICLEI SAMS
Watch the dialogue (Spanish):