The Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support project partnered with ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC) and ICLEI Mexican, Central American and Caribbean Office (MECS) to organize a multilevel dialogue on the post 2020 biodiversity framework in Mexico. This dialogue is part of a vertical dialogue series organized in 6 project partner countries from May to July 2021.
Scheduled on 24 June 2021, the dialogue gathered over 50 participants, and featured Mexican States (Mexico DF, Guanajuato, Quintana Roo, Durango, Yucatan) and cities (Merida, Toluca, Aguascalientes, San Nicolas de los Garza) eager to share their best practices and the challenges they face in implementing biodiversity policies locally. They engaged with national representatives of SEMARNAT, SRE and CONABIO to bring their contribution to the definition of the Mexican position on the Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework.
Mexico stands together with the EU and another 87 CBD parties as a signatory of the Leaders Pledge for Nature and People but also as the first party to the Convention on Biological Diversity to sign the Edinburgh Declaration, acknowledging the key role of local and subnational government in the framework implementation.
“Mexico is a pioneer in acknowledging the key role of local and subnational governments for biodiversity. In the GBO-5, it stood out for having the highest rate of local and subnational governments’ involvement in its national biodiversity strategy and action plan (NBSAP).” Director General de Políticas para el Cambio Climático Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT).
Mexico is also a spearhead in terms of associating subnational governments to the implementation of the CBD, as its National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) has promoted the elaboration of subnational biodiversity strategies for biodiversity and local action plans (LBSAPs) since 2002, as recalled by Andrea Cruz Aragon, CONABIO’s Coordinator for Biodiversity Strategies and Cooperation. And the acknowledgement of cities role in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use at the highest political level was saluted by several participating cities, including Mexico City through Leticia Gutiérrez, its Director General for Environmental Policy and Culture Coordination of the Environment Secretariat.
Among the best practices shared stands the spatial planning program measured with Singapore index using BIOFIN methodology (Mexico City), the species monitoring and reforestation initiatives lead with indigenous people and local communities (Guanajuato State), sustainable forestry practices and avi-ecoturism (Durango State), the green infrastructure plan and multi-stakeholders platform associating health and biodiversity experts with architects and real estate developers (Merida City, Yucatan), the design of a local strategy for the sustainable use and equitable and fair share of the benefices of biodiversity (Toluca City, Mexico State), the creation of a municipal institute for biodiversity and environmental protection with capacity building program for biodiversity observers and the municipal police (Pabellón de Arteaga, Aguascaliente State), and community gardening and urban agriculture promoting nature-based solutions (San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León State). Yet, many challenges faced in scaling up local biodiversity action were reported in terms of capacity building and resources.
“Multilevel dialogues are very much needed to move forward. Local governments play a key role for biodiversity. Resources mobilization at the subnational level and make them reach down to the cities level is vital.” Camila Zepeda Lizama, Secretariat of External Relations (SRE).
Equally, their mobilization towards CBD COP15 could widen as many have not yet joined the CitiesWithNature platform to submit their commitments. As a result, the Scottish Government took the floor and called upon more Mexican local and subnational governments to sign the Edinburgh Declaration for subnational governments, cities and local authorities on the post 2020 global biodiversity framework, which calls for a dedicated and a more ambitious decision and a renewed plan of action for local and subnational governments to be adopted at CBD COP15.
The European Union Delegation to Mexico also invited all Mexican local and subnational governments to further engage towards the COP15 roadmap by participating – virtually or physically – to the IUCN Local Action Summit to schedule in Marseille on September 3 and its set of preparatory webinars, and the Cities Summit to take place at COP15 in China in October.