Local & subnational advocacy for nature: July 2020 update

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. An updated timeline, with the most recent event dates and details can be seen below:

Key Updates

New Dates Announced for SBSTTA 24, SBI 3, and COP 15

On 16 July 2020, new dates were announced for three key UN meetings that are critical milestones in the development of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-15), originally scheduled for October 2020, will now be held 17-30 May 2021, in Kunming, China.

Dates and venue have also been announced for the meetings of the Convention’s two subsidiary bodies:

The twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24) will be held 2-7 November 2020, and the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3) takes place 9-14 November 2020. Both meetings will convene in Quebec City, Canada. To maintain momentum ahead of the UN Biodiversity Summit in September 2020 and COP-15, and facilitate the preparations for SBSTTA-24 and SBI-3, a series of special virtual sessions of SBSTTA and SBI will be held from 15-18 September 2020.

Information regarding the dates of the third meeting of the Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be made available in due course.

Read the full press release here.

While much uncertainty remains, and more changes are likely, the journey towards COP 15 will continue with the same rigor and momentum as before.  The ongoing mobilisation of the local and subnational government constituency will ensure that actions by cities and regions are consistent, transformational, and sustained to turn every year into a “Super Year for Nature.”

Launch of New Local and Subnational Advocacy for Nature Platform

ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, with support from a range of partners, is proud to announce the launch of a new online platform to serve as the voice of local and subnational governments in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity & associated Conventions. This website provides a comprehensive information platform to keep our constituency up to date with the latest relevant news, events and resources that relate to local and subnational governments. Check out the platform today!

Through its dedicated Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC), ICLEI works with key partners such as the European Committee of Regions (CoR), Regions4 Sustainable Development (Regions4), the Advisory Committee of Subnational Governments for Biodiversity (ACSNG) coordinated by Regions4 and the Government of Quebec), the Group of Leading Subnational Governments to Aichi Biodiversity Targets (GoLS), the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework EU Support project and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) to advance the joint global advocacy agenda. To read more about this ambitious advocacy agenda, click here.

Given the successes we have achieved over the last decade, and the increasing recognition of the critical role of the local and subnational government constituency, the goal of ICLEI’s advocacy is to ensure that the voice of local and subnational governments is heard and reflected in the consultations, negotiations and outcomes regarding the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, in the lead up to, during and after COP 15 in Kunming in 2021. Thus, the Roadmap to COP 15 has been co-developed to support the local and subnational constituency’s participation in, and contributions to, the development process of the Post-2020 GBF. The implementation of this roadmap is currently underway and involves a series of advocacy interventions and key processes where local and subnational governments are mobilized at key milestones to support the development of a strong consolidated and collective position which calls for a stepped-up, dedicated Decision by the Parties on local and subnational governments that is more ambitious than before, and that safeguards the legacy of Decision X/22 and expands the momentum of local and subnational advocacy beyond 2020.

Click here to explore the key past and upcoming advocacy moments. The new platform also highlights key ways for the constituency to get involved, including through our monthly Post 2020 webinar series. These webinars provide a useful way to stay up-to-date with the unfolding process in the lead up to COP 15. Another way is to regularly check out our News and Resources page, where we will continue to post relevant information. For more on this, you can visit our dedicated Updates page.

The Edinburgh Process: An Update on the Edinburgh Declaration

As you are aware, the Edinburgh Process for Subnational Governments, Cities and Local Authorities on the development of the Post 2020 global biodiversity framework is currently underway, as arguably one of the most significant opportunities for the voice of the local and subnational government constituency to be heard loudly in the lead up to COP 15. Given the COVID-19 context we find ourselves in, the event was transformed into a dynamic and interactive online consultation process.

The consultation period for the Draft Post 2020 GBF and the Plan of Action review document has closed, and the outcomes of the consultation were presented to participants in the online Session 2 that was held on 2nd July 2020. If you missed this session, the recording is available here.


The Draft Edinburgh Declaration was released for consultation on 26th June 2020 and is open for inputs until the 24th July 2020. The Declaration represents the high level aims of Subnational Governments, Cities and Local Authorities for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Moreover it highlights subnational views on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to CBD Parties. Following the receipt of comments, the Scottish Government and the Edinburgh Process Partners will draft a final version that will be made available for senior political sign off up to CBD COP 15. All inputs received through the online consultation and outcomes of the process will be taken into account in the drafting of the Edinburgh Process reports that will feed into the relevant upcoming CBD events.


All of the online information sessions, thematic webinars, and a range of other resources are available on the Edinburgh Process’s dedicated YouTube channel. For more information, and to stay up-to-date with the process as it continues to unfold, click here.


LGMA Webinars: Special Sessions on 17 June 2020

The 17th June each year is observed globally as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought under the auspices of the UN CCD. This year, the focus of Desertification and Drought Day was on the links between consumption and land, under the theme Food. Feed. Fibre. This year’s theme is targeted at changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption. This year’s global observance event, hosted by Korea Forest Service, took place online, with a full-day program featuring a variety of exciting events and international talent.

As part of this programme, ICLEI, in our capacity as focal point for the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency (LGMA), the voice of cities and regions in the climate negotiation process, hosted an exciting event: 5th LGMA Webinar Towards COP26: Special Edition on 2020 Desertification and Drought Day. The webinar was hosted by ICLEI, in collaboration with the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity CenterCitiesWithNature, and Local2030. The webinar explored the localisation of the climate-nature-land nexus for FoodFeedFibre in the post- COVID-19 era.

Watch the recording of the webinar here.

The monthly LGMA towards COP26 webinar also took place on the 17th June at both 10.00 AM (CET) and 04:00 PM (CET). This webinar was also a special session as it explored the linkages and similarities between the climate and biodiversity negotiations, with a specific focus on the Edinburgh Process and the role of local and subnational governments.
In case you missed this webinar, you can watch the 10am recording here and the 4pm recording here.  Click here to access the speaker’s presentation.

The LGMA works on behalf of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, a joint global policy advocacy initiative of the major international networks of local governments, in the area of climate. To learn more about the LGMA Constituency, visit the dedicated webpage.


How to get involved?

Submit your Inputs: Overview of achievements following the adoption of Decision X/22

ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC) has recently compiled a document which provides an overview of what has been achieved at the global, national and subnational levels following the adoption of Decision X/22 on the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity 2011-2020. . The document, which can be found here was introduced in the June edition of ICLEI’s monthly Post 2020 webinar series.

The overview captures some of the key initiatives taken by CBD Parties and a range of international organizations over the past decade, in strengthening the role of local and subnational governments in contributing to the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It also highlights the rich and varied contributions by the local and subnational levels of governments. The impressive list of achievements and successes makes a strong case for a renewed and significantly stepped-up dedicated Decision on local and subnational action in support of the new Global Biodiversity Framework, and a more ambitious plan of action to institutionalize implementation at the subnational and local levels of government.

We are aware that the list of achievements captured in the overview of achievements is not exhaustive. Therefore, we invite you to submit additional information for consideration if you wish, so that we can build a more comprehensive record of achievements. As we aim to have a more comprehensive version ready before COP 15, suggested additions must be submitted on the Google Form before 15 August 2020.


Beethoven Pastoral Project: Sign the Declaration

Beethoven loved nature. For him it was a place of relaxation, solitude and inspiration. His Sixth Symphony, the ‘Pastoral’, musically depicts the harmonious unity between mankind and nature. However, nature is under threat and mankind is on a course to destroy his environment and livelihood. Today more than ever, communities need to reconnect with nature; art and culture can help citizens and communities navigate the first steps in this journey. Celebrating Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, the City of Bonn is elevating his iconic musical ode to the beauty of nature as a call to action to tackle environmental degradation. Guided by the theme ‘living in harmony with nature’, the Beethoven Pastoral Project represents an opportunity to use the power of music to virtually mobilize people in an optimistic and engaging way.

On World Environment Day (5 June 2020), artists from all over the world united online in a high-calibre virtual event that was streamed live from Beethoven’s birthplace, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. Watch the recording here.

This “Pastoral Day” also served as the launch of a one-of-a-kind, global Artists Declaration to promote and inspire stronger action to safeguard our planet, and commits those who sign to be part of the solution. The Beethoven Pastoral Artists Declaration is now available online in 4 languages. Sign the declaration to show your support today!


Register for Daring Cities: A Global Virtual Forum for Urban Leaders

Daring Cities invites urban leaders from around the world who are pushing boundaries in their own contexts to come together online for a three-week period of idea exchange on how to take on resilience and mitigation in the time of urgent climate and health crisis. Urban leaders from around the world are invited to be a part of this productive and action-oriented virtual event. In light of the ongoing developments around the COVID-19 pandemic, ICLEI and the Federal City of Bonn are transforming Daring Cities 2020 into a virtual, global forum on climate change for urban leaders tackling the climate emergency, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daring Cities 2020 will run from 7-28 October 2020, offering an online array of high level and visionary speaking sessions, a series of informative workshops and personal networking opportunities. Over a three-week period, we will offer a variety of virtual formats to accommodate different topics, time zones, internet bandwidth limits, and languages. The event will help to set the course to COP26, Daring Cities 2021 and beyond.

Register your interest in participating today! Please visit the About or FAQ pages for further information.

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. To read more about our previous webinar in the series on the topic of Biodiversity, Food, and Nutrition for Health, click here.

Join us for the 14th webinar in the series, to be held at both 10am and 3pm SAST (GMT+2) on 23rd July 2020. The topic for this webinar will be: Outcomes of the Edinburgh Process: What’s next for cities and regions?

The webinar will feature the following speakers:

  • Dr. Susan Campbell– International Biodiversity Policy Manager, Scottish Government
  • Ms. Ingrid Coetzee– Senior Manager, Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions: ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center
  • Mr. Teru Kisuna– Natural Environment Division, Department of the Environment, Aichi Prefecture
  • Mr. Roby Biwer- Member of the ENVE commission at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) & Member of Bettembourg Municipal Council, Luxembourg
  • Ms. Wadzi Mandivenyi- Chief Director: Biodiversity Specialist Monitoring and Services, South African Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries

Don’t miss out! You can register for the webinar by clicking on your preferred time below:
At 10am SAST (GMT+2)

At 3pm SAST (GMT+2)


We are proud to announce the growth of the CitiesWithNature Partnership Initiative. To date, we have over 160 cities and regions who have registered on the online platform.

Visit our Updates page to read more about what cities and regions are doing to enhance the value of nature in and around our urban areas. Click here to see the latest CitiesWithNature Buzz.

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.

Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest CitiesWithNature news.


“While nature is being degraded at unprecedented rates, our dependency on biodiversity has never been more evident,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary. “One of the most important lessons of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is that safeguarding nature is critical for protecting human health and wellbeing.”

We continue to stand together, in solidarity, as we are increasingly faced with 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 continue to 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. 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.

ICLEI is collecting resources that can be useful and inspiring for local and subnational governments. Click here to see the dedicated webpage, and click here to access a collection of relevant blog posts.

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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