Local & subnational advocacy for nature: April 2020 update



At this time, we would like to express our condolences to those who have suffered loss and hardship as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, we applaud the dedication and hard work of healthcare workers who are on the front lines in treating the sick. We also acknowledge the role of local and subnational governments for their rapid response in the face of this crisis.

Nature provides diverse life-supporting and life-enhancing contributions to people. All cities critically depend on healthy interconnected ecosystems within and around them. There is a growing urgency for collective and large-scale action to protect biodiversity and respect nature in and around cities to prevent irreversible loss and damage to the natural systems that protect us. The COVID-19 pandemic is placing huge strain on our communities, our governments, our healthcare systems and our economies. Our cities still continue to grapple with massive sustainability challenges, and building urban resilience will be even more critical now

It is well known that nature is good for mental and physical health and wellbeing, which is especially pertinent at this moment in history. Government-imposed restrictions, differing in various contexts, are paramount to the health of our urban communities. Cities whose urban nature is still accessible offer opportunities to connect people with nature and its benefits.

To read the Statement of the Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, on the occasion of World Health Day, click here.


Roadmap to COP 15: Timeline of Key Milestones

Due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic, many event dates in the lead up to the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have changed their dates, their locations, and in some instances, their overall method of delivery. This means that the roadmap is likely to extend beyond 2020 and into 2021. While much uncertainty remains, and more changes are likely, the journey towards COP 15 will continue with the same rigor and momentum as before.  An updated timeline, with the most recent event dates and details can be seen below:


Call for a Renewed and Stepped-Up Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity at COP 15

COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan was a landmark victory for local and subnational governments. Not only was the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the associated 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, for the 2011-2020 period adopted by the Parties in decision X/2, but the Plan of Action (PoA) on Subnational Governments, Cities, and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2011-2020) was also adopted and endorsed by the CBD Parties in Decision X/22. The adoption of this PoA was a pivotal moment in highlighting the critical role of local and subnational governments in implementing the global biodiversity agenda, since it provides suggestions to Parties on how to mobilize and coordinate local actions on biodiversity, to bring national strategies and plans into the local context. Since then, there has been a significant increase in momentum on this advocacy, with at least one official decision dedicated to local and subnational governments emerging from each COP. This is further testimony to CBD Parties’ and the SCBD’s recognition of the vital role that cities and regions play in contributing to the CBD objectives. COP 14, held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2018, surpassed this proud tradition with an unprecedented number of decisions – seven in total – that relate to local and subnational governments.

The period since COP 14 has seen unprecedented advocacy, mobilisation and coordination of local and subnational action under the auspices of the local and subnational roadmap on the journey to COP 15 in China and the associated consultation and negotiation process on the post-2020 GBF. The adoption of the Post 2020 GBF at COP 15 is increasingly being referred to as being the “Paris moment for nature,” and the “coalition” of local and subnational government networks, representing the constituency, is calling for a stepped-up, dedicated decision and a renewed PoA that is more ambitious than ever before.

At this important moment, work on the review of Decision X/22, the PoA (2011 – 2020), highlighting achievements at the global, national and all subnational levels, identifying gaps and strengths in the Plan of Action, and recommendations of what and where adjustments need to be made to guarantee a stronger and stepped up Plan of Action is underway. This review will be presented and co-developed via online consultation through the Edinburgh process before being presented at SBI-3 in Montreal in August 2020 and the 3rd meeting of the OEWG.


How to get Involved?

The Edinburgh Process for Subnational Governments, Cities and Local Authorities on the development of the Post 2020 global biodiversity framework is the next major milestone on the post-2020 roadmap to COP 15. The event aims to consult the local and subnational government constituency on the Zero Draft Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the review of the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity, recommendations for a renewed, stepped-up Plan of Action, and in co-developing the Edinburgh Declaration, as joint outputs from the event that will feed into the SBSTTA-24 and SBI-3 consultation processes.

Given the current challenges around travel restrictions and hosting in-person workshops, this workshop will now take the form of an online consultation process. This virtual approach will be piloted to allow for meaningful engagement by local and subnational governments, their networks, and their partners at this unprecedented time. The process will comprise a series of virtual webinars, conducted on Zoom, which will take place in parallel to a month-long consultation and engagement window, where inputs and contributions from participants will be invited in relation to the Zero Draft of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the Edinburgh Declaration, and the Renewed Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity. These inputs will be captured via google form responses. These forms will be available online here and via the attendify app.

The virtual consultation process will primarily make use of the event website and the Attendify app to share and disseminate information, and foster discussion and engagement throughout the process. Partners will also engage and mobilise their networks to participate.


An overview of the Edinburgh process

An overview of the process can be seen in the figure below:

Participants will need to register to participate. The link to register will be made available through the event website and the attendify app. More details on registration will follow for those who have already expressed interest in participating. If you are interested in participating and to receive further updates, please contact the team at enquiries-subnationalworkshop@gov.scot

The consultation will begin on 30th April when the relevant background information will be uploaded to begin the virtual discussion. From 5th-8th May, a series of introductory webinars will be hosted by partners in each region. These webinars will describe the consultation process and provide an introduction to the Zero Draft of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the Edinburgh Declaration, and the Renewed Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity. More specific details will be shared in due course to register for these webinars.

Following the introductory webinars, participants will be engaged to participate and make their inputs online until the 29th May via Attendify and the event website, where all relevant information will be shared as the process unfolds. Inputs can be made via a series of google forms. Once the consultation process is closed, the partners will work to incorporate inputs into the various event outputs. From 29th June- 3rd July, a second series of regional webinars will conclude the process by presenting the event results and outputs and demonstrating how inputs have been incorporated.

The event is being organised by the Government of Scotland and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in collaboration with partner organisations such as 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. For more information, and to stay up-to-date with the unfolding details, click here.


Save the Date: Register for our Next Webinar

ICLEI continues to host its monthly Post-2020 webinar series to keep up to date on the unfolding participatory process on the roadmap to COP 15: The Paris Moment for Nature. Visit our website to see more on our local and subnational advocacy for nature and to get involved. In case you have missed the previous webinars in the series, the recordings are available on our YouTube Channel.

The next webinar in the series will take place on the 16th April 2020 and is titled “Reflections on the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2011-2020), recommendations for a renewed Plan of Action, and the Scotland Declaration.” Click to register for either the 10h00 or 15h00 timeslot (SAST).

Register for the webinar on 14 May, too at 10h00 or 15h00.



The current global pandemic is calling us to increasingly connect online. CitiesWithNature, a unique, next-generation initiative, is supporting an online community of practice and enabling learning and action around integrating nature in cities and reconnecting people with nature. We all need nature now, more than ever before. CitiesWithNature provides a virtual means through which cities and regions can continue to share, learn, and inspire each other around integrating nature in cities and reconnecting people with nature. By building an online profile, cities and regions can showcase their innovative solutions. The platform also offers an opportunity to remain connected in this time of unprecedented uncertainty, by engaging with the profiles of other cities and regions and by exploring the uploads they have made. Additionally, cities and regions can access a range of tools and resources by registering, logging in, and engaging with the Nature Pathway. To join CitiesWithNature, connect with the growing network of cities and regions who are taking action for nature, and experience this innovative platform, click here.

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The generous support from the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support project, the INTERACT-Bio project, and CitiesWithNature partners and cities, has contributed to this email update.

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