COP15: Together with Subnational & Local Governments & Cities for transformative actions

Cities With Nature Values and Legacy
On December 14th 2022 at the Subnational Government and Cities Pavilion (Place Quebec), our project participated in the event CitiesWithNature, the partnership platform for ambitious Nature Actions. The event, organized by ICLEI, sCBD, Blueflag/FEE, AIPH, IUCN, UNECE and CC35 highlighted how CitiesWithNature catalyzes experiences, commitments and ambitious actions by Subnational and Local Governments and Cities.
Cities, Implementation, Mainstreaming.

Our project presented the outcomes of its support to ICLEI from January 2020 to July 2021 in mobilizing local and subnational actors in the run-up to CBD COP15. It was carried out through a grant agreement to the ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability platform, a global network of more than 1,750 local and sub-national governments committed to sustainable urban development, and its Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC), which is integrated into the ICLEI regional office in Africa.

“We had a grant with ICLEI for 2 years during the first phase of the project to build-up a position from the SNLGs during the CBD.” Hugo Rivera Mendoza, Team Leader Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU support project. 

The grant enabled ICLEI and its partners to trigger the successful recognition of SLNGs role and contribution in the Post 2020 GBF and CBD negotiation, in particular related to the draft CBD decision and plan of action for Local and Subnational Governments.

It also was instrumental in supporting the Edinburgh Process for Subnational and Local Governments on the development of the Post-2020 GBF and the Edinburgh Declaration with the Scottish Government, increasing the number of commitments by SLNGs through promotion, strategic development and technical enhancement of the platform CitiesWithNature (CWN).

Through the grant, 75 new local and subnational governments joined the platform, which was endorsed by the proposed new Plan of Action (PoA) on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities.

At this upcoming event in Montreal, high level speakers emphasized the crucial role of CitiesWithNature into the negotiations process, including:

  • Manuel Pulgar Vidal, CBD Action Agenda Champion for Nature and People & Global Leader, Climate and Energy
  • Oliver Hillel, Programme Officer, Secretariat CBD
  • Kobie Brand, ICLEI deputy secretary general
  • Steward Maginnis, Deputy Director IUCN
  • Daniel Schaffer, CEO FEE (BlueFlag)
  • Liliana Annovazzi-Jakab, UNECE/FAO, Forestry and Timber Section
  • Veronica Arias, Executive Director, CC35

Manuel Pulgar opened the event by highlighting the importance of the planning as a key element for effectiveness. He also remembers the Japanese proverb, “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.(…) Action without vision could be useless. But vision without action, it’s just a dream. The importance of the agenda can empower the political role of cities.”

© Manuel Pulgar Vidal, CBD Action Agenda Champion for Nature and People & Global Leader, Climate and Energy. Photo: Aurélie Lécrivain.

Steward Maginnis, Deputy Director of IUCN highlighted the work done by IUCN to bring the conservation community in cities and in advancing with other organizations the Nature-based solutions concept.

Subnational and local governments, as well as cities, are constituent parts of many Parties and other governments, and the implementation and monitoring of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework must involve all levels of government.

“We can not build cities the way we have built cities to date. Now cities reinvent themselves by making nature coming back into cities.” Kobie Brand, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI. 

© Kobie Brand, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI. / Photo: Aurélie Lécrivain. 

They recognised the crucial role of subnational governments, cities, and other local governments in achieving biodiversity goals, monitoring and reporting, mainstreaming, resource mobilisation, capacity-building and communication, education and public awareness, social participation, and public access to information.

“Our cities are on the frontline of the impact of climate change and these are affected also by biodiversity loss. (…) We have to come up with solutions not today but yesterday.” Veronica Arias, Executive Director of CC35. 

As our Team Leader Hugo Rivera Mendoza concluded “These activities constitute the best example of integrated mobilisation and commitment at the subnational and local level. Additionally, they show how to ensure vertical integration at the national level and visibility for the key role of subnational and local governments and cities at the multilateral level.”


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