Local & subnational advocacy for nature: March 2020 update

2020 has been heralded as the super year for biodiversity, culminating with the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), where the CBD Parties will adopt a new global biodiversity framework. CBD COP 15, scheduled to take place from 15 – 28 October in Kunming, China, has been likened to a ‘Paris moment for biodiversity’, in reference to its potential to match the 2015 meeting in the French capital that resulted in the landmark global agreement to tackle climate change. The journey towards COP 15 has started and all stakeholders, including local and subnational governments, are demonstrating their commitment to building a future of life in harmony with nature. For more information, see the press release. The timeline below, which will be updated regularly with further events, illustrates key moments for the local and subnational government constituency in the roadmap on the journey towards COP 15.

This newsletter serves as the first in a series of monthly news updates for our constituency of local and subnational governments on the Post-2020 biodiversity advocacy process. Through these newsletters we will keep our constituency, partner networks and their associated stakeholders/partners informed and up to date on key events, their outcomes, and milestones along the Post-2020 roadmap, which can be explored in greater detail on our website.

What has already taken place in 2020?

2020 is already off to a very fruitful start for the local and subnational government constituency, with a few key events having taken place. Below is a brief update on the key outcomes to-date.

The Brazilian Perspectives for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (BIO2020), organized by ICLEI South America, the São Paulo State Government, Regions4, Expertise France, CETESB and Fundação Florestal, took place from 4 to 6 February 2020, at the Infrastructure and Environment Secretariat, in São Paulo, Brazil. The event ended with the signing of a strong charter, the Carta de São Paulo, and all 26 Brazilian state capital cities, as well as São Paulo State, committing to signing up to CitiesWithNature. For more information, click here.

Local and subnational governments prioritise nature-based solutions and the mainstreaming of nature at the 10th World Urban Forum (WUF10) with resounding success as over 13,000 participants from 169 countries and more than 30,000 cumulative attendees across the week. WUF10 brought together thinkers and doers working across the full spectrum of sustainable urbanization and provided an excellent platform to increase the awareness on sustainable urban development and to upscale actions from a variety of stakeholders. WUF10 began with a call to action and carried this call through to the Forum’s concluding the Abu Dhabi Declared Actions, which bring together voluntary actions and diverse commitments made at WUF10 by different partners and stakeholder groups in support of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of particular importance are the commitments made by Local and Regional Governments at the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments convened by the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which included the commitment for “The constituency of LRG assumes a more prominent role for cities and local and regional governments in the discussions regarding the ecological transition, to localize climate action, prioritise nature-based solutions and traditional knowledge, and mainstream both nature and culture in sustainable urbanization.” For more information on WUF10 please refer to the press and media reports, including UN Web TV (live streaming) and the summary report by IISD.

The Second Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 2) on the zero draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) took place from 24 to 29 February 2020 at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The OEWG 2 meeting completed the first round of negotiations on the zero draft. Representatives from ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability’s Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC);  the Advisory Committee on Subnational Governments and Biodiversity,  coordinated by Regions4 Sustainable Development and the Government of Quebec,  the Group of Leading Subnational Governments towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the European Committee of Regions represented the local and subnational government constituency. Throughout the meeting, the group made three interventions calling for transformative change and full participation by local and subnational governments in implementing the new Framework. These statements are as follows:

  • Statement read by Ms Ingrid Coetzee from ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, at the Opening Plenary of Open-Ended Working Group 2 meeting in Rome, Italy, on 24 February 2020. Download the statement here.
  • Statement read by Ms Hiroko Mizuno, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, at the Closing Plenary of Open-Ended Working Group 2 meeting in Rome, Italy, on 29 February 2020. Download the statement here.
  • Statement read by Mr Jean Lemire from Quebec’s Envoy for Climate Change and Nordic and Arctic Issues, and representative of the AC SNG at the Open-Ended Working Group 2 meeting in Rome, Italy, on 25 February 2020. Download the statement here.

Several CBD parties, including the EU, UK, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and Argentina and others, recognized the importance of, and called for enabling conditions for, and engagement of all levels of government in the implementation of the new framework. For more information, and to view the statements, visit our website.

From left to right back: Ingrid Coetzee, Senior Manager Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions, ICLEI Africa and Senior Programme Manager ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center; Kobie Brand, Regional Director: ICLEI Africa and Global Director ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center; Rachel Lévesque, International Affairs Advisor Food Security and Nutrition, Biological Diversityand Sustainable Forest Management, International Organizations and Forums Division, Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie, Government of Quebec; Roberto Rinaldi, Policy Officer, Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE), European Committee of the Regions. Seated front: Jean Lemire, Quebec’s Envoy for Climate Change and Nordic and Arctic Issues, and representative of the AC SNG.

The Informal Advisory Group on Biodiversity Mainstreaming (IAG Mainstreaming) presented its Progress Report and the Elements for mainstreaming biodiversity in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework on 24 June during the afternoon plenary session of the second meeting of Open-Ended Working Group held in Rome, Italy. The report emphasized that mainstreaming lies at the core of the “whole of government approach, which is central to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework process. All actors should cooperate in reversing biodiversity loss, from global to regional to sub-regional, national, subnational and local levels. It also includes the Draft Long-term Approach to Biodiversity Mainstreaming (LTAM). Click here to view the report. Going forward, the IAG Mainstreaming will prepare the full draft of the LTAM to the third meeting of the SBI, which will take place in Montreal in May this year. The full draft will consist of an introduction, goals and targets; Action Plan (detailing activities, milestones and key players); a glossary; and a set of references, guidelines, technical papers and sources of expertise.

Upcoming Opportunities: What’s next?

The ‘Workshop for Subnational, Regional and Local Governments on their role in the CBD Post-2020 Framework’ is the next major milestone on the post-2020 roadmap to COP 15. This Workshop will take place on 1-3 April 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and will be organised by the Government of Scotland, the Convention on Biological Diversity, in collaboration with ICLEI, Regions4, the European Committee of the Regions, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Scottish National Heritage, the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Government of Quebec and Wales. For more information, click here.

How to get Involved

Join us and register now for our Post 2020 information series, with monthly webinars to keep the local and subnational government constituency, networks, and partners up to date on key milestones, our emerging position statement, and the participatory preparation process of developing the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework on the roadmap to COP 15. The list of webinars and registration links are as follows:

6th February 2020:   10am CAT and 3pm CAT

26th March 2020:      10am CAT and 3pm CAT

16th April 2020:         10am CAT and 3pm CAT 

14th May 2020:          10am CAT and 3pm CAT

4th June 2020:           10am CAT and 3pm CAT

23rd July 2020:          10am CAT and 3pm CAT

20th August 2020:     10am CAT and 3pm CAT

17th September 2020:10am CAT and 3pm CAT

8th October 2020:     10am CAT and 3pm CAT

5th November 2020: 10am CAT and 3pm CAT

3rd December 2020:  10am CAT and 3pm CAT

We already held the first of these webinars in 2020, where we discussed the plans for the year of various local and subnational networks that are active in supporting our constituency. To view the recording of this webinar, click here.

The next webinar in the series is scheduled to take place on 26th March 2020.

Visit here to see past webinars in the series. For more information, visit and bookmark our Post 2020 website.

Join CitiesWithNature

CitiesWithNature is a global partnership initiative that provides a shared platform for cities and regions, partners, practitioners, researchers, and urban communities to connect, learn, act, share, and inspire each other in mainstreaming nature in and around urban areas. CitiesWithNature has been endorsed by the SCBD as the official engagement mechanism for local and subnational governments in the CBD process. In the lead up to COP 15, we are calling on all cities, large and small, to register and take action now, as we mobilise our constituency to shape and influence the Post 2020 GBF.

As hosts of the UNFCCC COP 26, arguably the most significant COP since Paris, we are also proud to welcome Glasgow City Council (Scotland) to CitiesWithNature. To see what the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency (LGMA) is doing in the UNFCCC climate negotiation process, click here. It is critical that we continue to demonstrate strong alignment with the Global Climate Agenda, and aim to tackle both the biodiversity and climate crises together in the next decade. Nature holds the answers in our increasingly urban world.

Register today to Join the journey.