Outcomes of the Edinburgh Process on the role of subnational governments and local authorities in the post 2020 global biodiversity framework

Setting out the role of local and subnational governments in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
The Scottish Government and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) hosted a webinar for CBD parties on the outcomes of the Edinburgh Process on the role of subnational governments and local authorities in the post 2020 global biodiversity framework.

The Edinburgh Process was organized by the Government of Scotland and the CBD Secretariat in collaboration with partner organizations including ICLEI, REGIONS4 Sustainable Development, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the Group of Leading Subnational Governments toward Aichi Biodiversity Targets (GoLS), the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Scottish National Heritage, the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Government of Quebec and of Wales.

400 participants took part in the Edinburgh Process and overs 130 participants attended the two sessions of the CBD webinar.

The webinar set out to Parties to the Convention the outcomes of the Edinburgh Process, and discussed how to achieve greater integration of subnational governments, cities and local authorities in implementing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

We all need to join forces urgently in a whole of society approach. The vertical integration of planning and policies across all levels of governments is central to the design and implementation of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework” Elizabeth Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary

As a first key outcome of the Edinburgh Process, the Edinburgh Declaration for subnational governments, cities and local authorities on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework sets out the aspirations and commitments of the Scottish Government, the process partners, and the wider subnational constituency of the CBD, in delivering for nature over the coming decade. Just as 60% of local parliaments are not engaged by their national counterparts when it comes to planning and reporting on biodiversity, it celebrates the progress, commitment and strong desire of local & subnational governments to build upon their experience translating local and subnational biodiversity targets into real and tangible local policies. The Declaration has been signed by Edinburgh Process Partners and is open for signatures by local and subnational governments, CBD Parties, and other non-governmental and business organizations right up to COP 15.

At the dawn of a new decade, the future of our planet will be determined by the actions we take now to reverse the unprecedented loss of nature and secure our increasingly urban future. It is at the subnational and local level that action has a direct impact, and this is where the new global biodiversity framework will be implemented.” Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal and ICLEI’s Global Ambassador for Local Biodiversity. 

A second outcome of the Edinburgh Process relates the renewed CBD engagement with the subnational constituencies through the delivery of a process report at OEWG3, SBSTTA and SBI and a renewed Plan of Action for Local and Subnational Governments completed with a draft CBD Decision. Key principles for subnational contributions and recommendations retained include the recognition of subnational and local governments as accountable implementers and not mere stakeholders, and strong support to their vital role in mainstreaming biodiversity. Both the plan and the decision shall thus refer to the vertical integration in NBSAPs in relation to biodiversity mainstreaming, planning, awareness raising and reporting, and shall also foresee dedicated resources and capacity-building for them.

“We have been delighted to play a leadership role on biodiversity on the contribution of local and subnational government as part of the post 2020 process to be agreed at COP15. All levels of governments have a central role to play to deliver transformative action across the coming decade. The Edinburgh Declaration is so important ensure that the voices of local and subnational governments are heard and taken into account at every stage of the process developing the post2020 biodiversity framework.” Roseanna Cunningham, MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

In line with principle 2 of the ecosystem approach providing that management should be decentralized to the lowest appropriate level, CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema called CBD Parties to engage with local and subnational governments and join forces on the road towards the Post 2050 Vision Living in Harmony with Nature. As they stand at the front line of biodiversity loss but also of behavior change, local and subnational governments are often capable of single actions that deliver against multiple outcomes. She thus recalled their important role in designing the global biodiversity framework but also most importantly for its implementation, as the resources to put in place actions for nature – money, people and infrastructure – are directed at the subnational level.

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