Kunming, China, signs Edinburgh Declaration ahead of United Nations CBD COP15

Kunming, China, has become the 244th signatory to the Edinburgh Declaration, a statement of intent that has been agreed between subnational and local governments across the world and calls on Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to take bold action to halt biodiversity loss.

The Scottish Government, with support from a wide range of partner organizations, proudly hosted the Edinburgh Process for Subnational and Local Governments on the Development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which began towards the end of April 2020.

The Edinburgh Process brought together delegates from across the world representing all levels of governments, including strong representation from subnational and local governments, as well as indigenous people and local communities, women, youth, NGOs and the business community.

The Edinburgh Declaration for subnational governments, cities and local authorities on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, sets out the aspirations and commitments of local and subnational governments for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to work alongside CBD Parties in taking transformative actions for nature over the coming decade, to deliver the 2050 vision of ‘living in harmony with nature.’

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I am delighted that the Mayor of Kunming,


has signed the

Edinburgh Declaration –


cementing their commitment to delivering the

post-2020 global biodiversity framework


and joining the call for bold, transformative action to halt biodiversity loss across the globe.

~ Lorna Slater, Scottish Government Minister for Biodiversity Tweet

The Edinburgh Declaration also calls for greater prominence to be given to the role that subnational and local governments play in delivering a new global framework of targets and affirms their readiness to meet this challenge.

More specifically, subnational and local governments are calling on CBD Parties to support the adoption at COP15, of a new dedicated decision for the greater inclusion of subnational and local governments within the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The Edinburgh Process Partners include the Welsh Government, the UK Government Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), European Committee of the Regions (CoR), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Government of Quebec, Regions4 Sustainable Development, Group of Leading Subnational governments toward Aichi Biodiversity Targets (GoLS), with support from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), NatureScot, and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

CitiesWithNature/RegionsWithNature warmly welcomes its newest member to the family, the European Committee of the Regions!

ICLEI, one of the founding members of the CitiesWithNature/RegionsWithNature platform, has been working in close collaboration with the EU CoR for a long time. ICLEI Europe particularly, has played the strong role of supporting the EU CoR in delivering opinions on Biodiversity in relation to the Post 2020 GBF. There have been multiple arenas where ICLEI Europe and EU CoR have joined forces and one prominent example is the Edinburgh Declaration, where EU CoR participates in regular strategic meetings to further the progress on the commitments from the various signatories to the Edinburgh Declaration. 

Building on this strong foundation, ICLEI invited the Committee of the Regions to become a partner to the RegionsWithNature platform. RegionsWithNature aims to strengthen the voice of the regional authorities in the scope of biodiversity and nature-based solutions and make it heard at the national and international levels. By joining RegionsWithNature, CoR unites with ICLEI, Regions4, the Group of Leading Subnational Governments (GoLS), IUCN and other international organizations. RegionsWithNature is also supported by the UN Environment Programme and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, with numerous regional and subnational governments already on board, including Yucatán and Campeche in Mexico, São Paulo and Pernambuco in Brazil, Goa in India, the Community of Madrid and Catalonia in Spain, the Western Cape Province in South Africa, Québec in Canada and Scotland in the UK.

We are honored to welcome the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) into the RegionsWithNature initiative and platform, under our shared missions of connecting urban planning and biodiversity conservation.

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Now that there is already a growing momentum towards addressing the climate emergency with the biodiversity crisis in close conjunction, we are delighted to welcome the voice of the European regions through the Committee of the Regions to the RegionsWithNature family.

We are certain that in the context of RegionsWithNature, where there are prominent advocates of strong commitments and pro-active contributions towards more biodiversity in cities and regions such as ICLEI, Regions4, GoLs and IUCN, this partnership will bear fruitful outcomes and greater impacts for the benefit of human and nature."

~ Kobie Brand, ICLEI CBC Director and Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI Tweet

While CoR is the voice of regions and cities in the European Union (EU), RegionswithNature brings together regional and subnational leaders and their partners from around the world, providing access to tools and resources on nature-based solutions, ecosystem restoration, and biodiversity conservation, and sharing regional commitments to achieving global nature goals.

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Local and sub-national governments are at the forefront of implementing measures to tackle biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

This is why the European Committee of the Regions, as the European Union's assembly of regional and local representatives, strongly supports the objectives of RegionsWithNature. This global platform is an essential tool to showcase regional commitments towards achieving national and global biodiversity targets, with the aim of bolstering regional governments' nature ambitions and ensuring that multi-level governance opportunities for action are maximised.

~ Roby Biwer, member of the Bettembourg municipal council (Luxembourg) and rapporteur for EU CoR opinions on biodiversity and nature restoration Tweet

The path ahead, to meet the demands of the biodiversity agenda specifically the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, is ambitious and demanding. Promising outcomes for Europe and the world in halting biodiversity loss and restoring ecosystems on a large scale requires inclusive partnerships built upon shared principles and values for implementing concerted and successful actions. Thus, with EU CoR committing to take an active role in the global biodiversity arena by joining RegionsWithNature, we are certain that we are on the right track with collective strong ambitions to make a positive change.

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The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has said the world is at war with nature and we should make peace with it. The youth are telling us they are tired of ‘blah blah blah’ and ‘more of the same’. And the CBD Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, has challenged us to take action urgently to implement the Edinburgh Process and amplify this at the 7th Summit of Cities & SNGs at COP15. The time to take ACTION is NOW.

~ Ingrid Coetzee, ICLEI Africa Tweet

The WorldBio 2022 event was convened on 7-9 June 2022, co-hosted by São Paulo State and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity, in collaboration with ICLEI and Regions4, supported by the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework EU Support and GIZ and organized by ACIA (The Cunhambebe Association of the Friends of Ilha Anchieta). The event focused on accelerating projects and mobilizing resources and funding for implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and Plan of Action 2030 on engaging subnational governments, cities and other local authorities.

WorldBio 2022 sought projects and initiatives that will contribute to implementing the new global biodiversity targets and the Plan of Action for local and subnational governments, to:

i)

show the world that cities, states, provinces and prefectures are taking action to make a difference;

ii)

stop the destruction of biodiversity, ecosystems and the planet; and

iii)

put the world on a path of restoration, healing and recovery.

The event consisted of 600+ delegates for discussions around the following five themes:

  • Messaging and the governance of communication, environmental education and public awareness (CEPA);
  • The city level: upscaling urban nature-based solutions, ecosystem-based approaches and urban ecosystem restoration;
  • The subnational level: green & blue economy & incentive and finance instruments for land- and seascape level biodiversity actions and projects, within all the ecosystem services’ benefits, considering vertical and horizontal integration;
  • Protected Areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) – identifying public-private synergies for connectivity, highlighting coastal and marine areas; and
  • Science, knowledge generation and monitoring: focusing on pilot exchanges; setting science-based indicators and reporting; technology transfer and capacity building systems for all of the above activities, with priority on tropical forests – highlighting reforestation as well as urban forestry and agriculture, and nature-sensitive renewable energy.

WorldBio 2022 resulted in many fruitful discussions and progress, with the following key outcomes:

Five webinars will be convened in August or September (one webinar for each of the above themes) to build a better geographical balance in identifying projects and compiling a portfolio of projects that will contribute to the implementation of the GBF and Plan of Action;

Reviewing and refining of the concept proposal on the transition from the WBio2022 Event to the WBio Process to propose an appropriate institutional arrangement (the Pre-Governance Platform);

The WorldBio Process will be integrated with COP15 (part 2) and the 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities, Edinburgh Process Partners, CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature, Regions4 Biodiversity Learning Platform, Advisory Committee on Sub-National Governments and Biodiversity, Group of Leading Subnational Governments towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and with other themes – particularly on Bioeconomy and Green and Blue Economy; and

Opportunities were explored to provide capacity building and resources to support cities and subnational governments in preparing bankable projects, identifying appropriate finance instruments to implement projects and meet requirements of donors.

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WorldBio2022 is a factory of projects enhancing inclusive local governance in transitioning to an economy harmonious with nature. It is therefore instrumental on the way towards COP15... AFD aims to feed strategically and operationally the dialogue among partners for financing projects and programmes in response to their demands. Aware that healthy and well-managed ecosystems are key for shared prosperity, AFD has the ambition to prioritize projects with a biodiversity-related content, creating and strengthening protected areas, conserving terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems, and supporting global initiatives that help protect 30% of the planet.

~ Katia Fenyes, from Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Tweet

This was supported and reiterated by Oliver Hillel, a Programme Officer at the CBD Secretariat, and by Ingrid Coetzee from ICLEI.

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ICLEI supports the idea of the WorldBio2022 as a factory of projects as it will help accelerate local action for biodiversity and ecosystem restoration. Also global partnership initiatives like CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature, are well-placed to support cities and subnational governments globally in channeling specifically biodiversity and nature projects.

~ Ingrid Coetzee, ICLEI Africa Tweet

ICLEI and its partners, such as Regions4 and the Advisory Committees on Cities and subnational governments, represent the group of local and subnational governments in the CBD, and advocate for the voice and ambitions of local and subnational governments in the CBD and its processes. This has resulted in the CBD’s recognition of cities and subnational governments as a major group, and their important contributions to achieving global biodiversity targets. In addition, Edinburgh Process, which culminated in the Edinburgh Declaration has resulted in an ambitious draft decision and Plan of Action for engaging local and subnational governments to be adopted at CBD COP15.

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