Edinburgh Process for Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework – Reflections on engagement with cities & regions to enhance implementation of the post-2020 GBF & the road to COP 15

Reflecting on the engagement with cities and regions to enhance the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the road to CBD COP 15.
With the support of the Post 20202 Biodiversity Framework – EU support project, the Government of Scotland, ICLEI and the CBD Secretariat organized on July 9th, this China virtual dialogue (webinar) for the local and subnational governments, national ministries and partner organizations with the aim to exchange the perspective on the development of GBF via the Edinburgh Process, share the actions and best practices of pioneer cities and regions, and deliberate on the next steps of collaboration towards COP15 and beyond.

The webinar gathered five panelists across two sessions: Kobie Brandt and Ingrid Coetzee for ICLEI Cities Biodiversity, Renata Gomez for Regions4SD, Su Campbell for the Scottish Government and Shu Zu for ICLEI East Asia Office.

The session introduced key findings and recommendations of the review document on the current Plan of Action (2011 – 2020), which was co-produced by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Group of Leading Subnational Governments toward the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (GoLS), Regions4 Sustainable Development (Regions4), the European Committee of the Regions, the Government of Quebec and the Scottish Government.

The webinar stressed how Cities and Regions have been working together speaking with one voice with a joint statement at CBD SBI on mainstreaming and the draft decision and new Plan of Action for Local & Subnational Governments 2021-2030, which was sponsored by the EU, Uganda, Colombia and Peru. The plan to be adopted at CBD COP15 focuses on 7 interrelated action areas: NBSAPs, mainstreaming, resource mobilization, capacity development, communication, improved access to information, monitoring and reporting. It is urging parties – and no longer inviting them – to implement the plan as appropriate and has more emphasis on implementation and reporting with the NBSAPs than the previous plan.

We need an action plan that identifies, enhances and disseminates tools that facilitate subnational action on biodiversity to come out of COP15.” Renata Gomez, Regions4SD

Cities and regions have also jointly undertake the drafting of a proposal for the implementation of the new Plan of Action. This joint work also include an active lobbying of CBD parties towards supporting the decision on the new plan of action including through a set of vertical dialogues in 6 partners countries (Peru, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Canada and China) and across a set of preparatory webinars towards IUCN Local Action Summit with the Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU support project. Those events also supported the endorsement of the Edinburgh Declaration by a growing number of CBD Parties as Mexico and Germany are for now their only signatories, while over 150 entities including local and subnational governments and civil society organizations have endorsed it over all.

The Edinburgh Declaration was endorsed by over 150 entities, showing that local and subnational governments should not be just another stakeholder. Their competencies must be recognized, in particular for implementation.” Su Campbell, Scottish Government Representative, who presented the significance of the Edinburgh Process outcomes at SBI-3.

The process came as a game changer as history was made over the CBD session with CBD Parties producing a conference room paper on the draft Decision and Plan of Action. Regions4 also highlighted the need to integrate local and subnational governments across the different thematic strategies under preparation by the Convention including on biodiversity mainstreaming and resource mobilization. It presented a new analysis for that purpose entitled “Mainstreaming Biodiversity: The Subnational Government Experience“. The document addresses capacity building and training needs, opportunities to develop partnerships and mechanisms to monitor the implementation of actions to advance the mainstreaming practice.

Finally, the webinar closed up with the announcement of a pre-summit to the 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities & Subnational Government to CBD COP15 to take place on 9 July in China. While uncertainty remains as to the date and physical feasibility of attending the summit, its theme “Ecological Civilization: Urban Living in Harmony with Nature”, objectives, expected outcomes, co-hosts and supporting partners have been confirmed. It is expected to result in the announcement of voluntary initiatives by leading local and subnational governments and their networks, the adoption of the “Kunming Declaration” which reflects the vision and commitments of cities and regions in boosting urban biodiversity new plan of action, the submission of the Outcome Paper to COP15 high level segment and a Biodiversity Charming City Award.

We encourage local and subnational governments to come together with us on the path to the 7th Cities Summit, to reinforce our joint actions and commitments to biodiversity.” Shu Zhu, Regional Director & China Representative, ICLEI East Asia

Watch ICLEI’s Post 2020 webinars here

Check ICLEI’s Local and Subnational Engagement Platform here

These webinars help echoing and organizing the voice of local and subnational governments in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for advancing the Action Agenda for Nature and People and in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) development process.

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