Stefania Romano, Global Coordinator for Recruitment and Advocacy at CitiesWithNature, writes from Marseille.
Thousands of people are connecting to Marseille in France this week to discuss how humanity shares the planet with our fellow living beings. The IUCN World Conservation Congress is gathering experts, governments and non-government voices from over 160 countries to make vital decisions about global conservation policy for the coming decade.
CitiesWithNature and a number of its partner organisations such as IUCN, ICLEI and WWF are leading the way on urban nature. ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Centre has been involved in the preparations of several events and webinars, collaborating with IUCN France, IUCN International, The Nature Conservancy, the French Biodiversity Agency, Chance Conseil and AFCCRE (French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions), Durham University and Expertise France.
At the IUCN Local Action Summit on 3 September, Kobie Brand, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General, presented CitiesWithNature and the forthcoming RegionsWithNature at the session “Deploying Nature-based Solutions”. The speakers discussed how to take nature-based solutions to scale in cities and regions across the world. “Today the CitiesWithNature platform reaches 190 cities. We are proud to embrace large and small cities, all of them committed with their own pace, working together on mainstreaming nature and biodiversity,” said Brand.
On 4 September, Durham University and ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Centre (ICLEI CBC) co-hosted a session entitled: “Urban action towards a new deal for nature” where ICLEI CBC Director Ingrid Coetzee shared her insights.
Meanwhile at the European Pavillion, ICLEI’s European Secretariat has organised four events on nature-based solutions. One of these on 8 September revolves around CitiesWithNature and is entitled: “CitiesWithNature – Then, now and what next? Thinking Big”, in conversation with IUCN, The Nature Conservancy and OFB. This event will reflect on achievements and opportunities for CitiesWithNature.
At the Urban Pavillion in Marseille, WWF and ICLEI are hosting an event focused on cities’ ambitious actions for nature and ecosystem restoration on 7 September. Representatives of cities from France and elsewhere who are in Marseille are being invited to sign up to CitiesWithNature in person, while those attending virtually can do so at https://www.citieswithnature.org/. Cities are also being invited to sign the Edinburgh Declaration on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
On 8 September, AFCREE will lead a webinar, “Local and Regional authorities and their networks on the way to the COP 15”. Kobie Brand, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General, will be speaking about ICLEI’s role as focal point for local and regional authorities in the CBD negotiations. She will focus specifically on the main issues and expectations for local and regional authorities in the negotiations. At the end of the session the Marseille Declaration will be adopted, putting forward the position of local and regional authorities’ networks towards the international negotiations and COP15.
At another event on 8 September, ICLEI CBC Director Ingrid Coetzee will participate in a webinar organised by the Post-2020 Partnership which focuses on “The importance of whole of society mobilisation to ensure rigorous implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework”.
A detailed programme of major urban nature events at the Congress is provided below.
IUCN Local Action Summit – 3 September
Showcasing the range of actions that can be taken by subnational governments and their partners to deliver conservation outcomes at scale; fostering partnerships between IUCN constituents and subnational governments and making the case for investing in nature-based solutions as part of a green recovery; and exacting commitments from subnational governments and their partners to help deliver the Nature 2030 IUCN Programme and, by extension, the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
At the session Deploying Nature-based Solutions, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General Kobie Brand presented CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature and how instrumental such initiatives are for taking Nature-based Solutions to scale. “Today we reached 190 cities in CitiesWithNature and we are proud that we embrace large and small cities, all of them committed with their own pace, working together on mainstreaming nature and biodiversity.
Through CitiesWithNature we serve our subnational governments, collectively, because collectively we are stronger.”
Chantal van Ham, Director for Europe at IUCN said, “Cities and regions are the place where change can happen and Nature-based Solutions are put into action”.
- Moderator: Chantal van Ham, Director for Europe, IUCN
- Scene-setter: Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
- Panelists: Maud Lelièvre, President, IUCN French National Committee; Kobie Brand, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI; Canddie Magdelenat, Sustainable Local Governments and Cities Expert, WWF, France.
WWF and ICLEI – Ambitious Actions for Nature and Restoring ecosystems – Urban Pavillion, 7 September, 15.00-16-00.
During this event WWF and ICLEI will showcase ambitious city actions undertaken for nature and restoring ecosystems.
- Introduction by WWF, Canddie Magdenalat
- Keynote speaker, Arnaud Gauffier, WWF Conservation Director
- Keynote speaker, Kobie Brand, ICLEI.
Local and Regional authorities and their networks on the way to the COP 15
8 September, 10.00-13.00. View it here: https://iucn2021.key4.live/
This event is organized by AFCCRE (French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions). European and French high level and subnational officials and representatives from local, regional and international organizations will take part in the program. Kobie Brand, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General, will be speaking about ICLEI’s role as focal point for local and regional authorities in the CBD negotiations. She will focus specifically on the main issues and expectations for local and regional authorities in the negotiations. At the end of the session the Marseille Declaration will be adopted, putting forward the position of local and regional authorities’ networks towards the international negotiations and COP15.
- Màiri McALLAN MSP, Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform, Scottish government
- Kobie BRAND, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI
- Ivan DRAGANIC, Executive Director, Regions4
- Maud LELIEVRE, President of French IUCN Committee, General Delegate of Eco Mayors
- Russell GALT, Head of Urban Alliance, IUCN
CitiesWithNature – Then, now and what next? Thinking Big
8 September, 10.30 – 11.30, European Pavillion
The CitesWithNature movement – enhancing the value of nature one city at the time. In conversation with IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, OFB and ICLEI. Three years have passed since the CitiesWithNature platform and initiative has been launched. Now it is time to reflect on achievements to date and discuss opportunities and features that lie ahead. The founding partners of CitiesWithNature together with OFB will discuss and carve out a solid pathway for the future of the initiative together with the audience’s ideas and support.
- Voice of IUCN for CitiesWithNature – Susanna Gionfra
- Voice of TNC for CitiesWithNature – Robert McDonald
- Presentation by OFB/ARB on their work around urban nature and how it links to CitiesWithNature
- The Edinburgh Declaration and CitiesWithNature – Julie Delcroix from the European Commission.