CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature growing significantly

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) from 7 to 19 December 2022 in Montréal provided the ideal opportunity for the CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature global partnership initiatives to highlight their notable progress in recent months. 

 CitiesWithNature has particularly experienced significant growth since its launch in 2018. During the 7th Summit for Subnational Governments and Cities at COP15, 36 new cities and five new global partners were welcomed to the CitiesWithNature global partnership initiative, which is recognized by the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity as the platform where subnational governments, cities and other local authorities report on their actions and voluntary commitments to the global biodiversity framework.

“By joining CitiesWithNature and using the Action Platform, cities across the world can commit ambitious actions that contribute to national and global biodiversity and nature goals, and easily track their achievements and actions individually and collectively. We strongly encourage all cities and regions, large and small, no matter where they are on their sustainability journeys, to join us and ensure we bring about the urgent transformative change that is needed!”

Kobie Brand, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and Regional Director of ICLEI Africa.

The sister platform to CitiesWithNature – RegionsWithNature – which focuses on subnational governments at the regional level and across urban-rural linkages, was officially launched on 12 December at the 7th Summit. During the CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature Announcement Ceremony, eight new subnational governments and two new global partners were welcomed on board.

“Launching RegionsWithNature, together with some of the most powerful subnational  leaders in the world, sends a powerful signal to the planet, and especially to the Parties of the Convention. Subnational governments are committed, they’re ready, and they’re already playing an important role in implementing concrete actions on the ground.”

Jordan Harris, Executive Director of Regions4

New cities, regions and partners joining CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature at the 7th Subnational Governments and Cities Summit

NEW CITIES

City of Oakland, USA

City of Santa Monica, USA 

Lake County, USA 

City of Carbondale, USA 

San Francisco, USA

City of Boulder, USA

City of Boston, USA; 

Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Canada

City of Laval, Canada; 

Cartagena das Indias, Colombia

Autonomous Decentralised Municipal Government of Pastaza Cantón, Colombia 

Alcaldía de Barranquilla, Colombia 

Metropolitan Area of Aburrá Valley, Colombia

City of Roseau, Dominica 

City of Portsmouth, Dominica

City of Utrecht, Netherlands

City of Paris, France 

City of Marseille, France

Iringa Municipal Council, Tanzania, 

Kisii County, Kenya, 

Tswelopele, South Africa 

Waterberg, South Africa, 

Kampala, Uganda 

Mukono Municipal Council, Uganda, 

The District Council of Black River, Mauritius, 

Hargeisa Municipality, Somalia, 

Chengdu, China

Huzhou, China 

Jiaxing, China 

Kunming, China

Nanyang, China 

Shenzhen, China 

City of Nagoya, Japan

Chiang Mai, Thailand 

Caygan de Ouro, Philippines

Mashhad Municipality, Iran

NEW REGIONS

La Rioja, Spain 

Basque country, Spain

Aland islands in Finland

California in USA

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Paraná in Brazil 

Guanajuato, Mexico 

Jalisco in Mexico

New partners

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

WHO (World Health Organization)

CC35 (Capital Cities of the Americas)

CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature:

The Convention on Migratory Species (UN CMS)

R20 (Regions of Climate Action)

"Thank you for being part of the two Platforms, which give us the space to act together. As Nature is our home so are CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature."

Stefania Romano, Global Coordinator of CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature

Why are CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature important?

Knowledge sharing

CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature provide educational resources to ensure that cities are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of natural resources and ecosystems required to ensure that these issues are included in the cities and regions’ goals and planning. 

One of the primary goals of these platforms is to keep city officials updated on best practices and lessons learned about important biodiversity topics, predominantly through the Tools and Resources section, but also by connecting cities and regions with one another. Connecting subnational and local governments facilitates much-needed collaboration across all levels of government to achieve the biodiversity goals as captured in the newly adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. 

“We need to strengthen our collaboration, our network, our initiative in conservation to maximize the solutions which work, through the platforms CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature.”

Benoit Charette, Minister of Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks Québec

With 373 scientifically robust resources – including reports on topics such as nature-based solutions, ecosystems, health and well-being, and biodiversity governance, the Tools & Resources section empowers cities and regions with current and updated information on best practices.

CitiesWithNature offers Guides that package science-based information in a way that is easy to understand and accessible to cities. During COP15, CitiesWithNature announced that its Guide on light pollution, created in collaboration with the UN Convention on Migratory Species, will be launched soon.

In 2022, CitiesWithNature created its first Community of Practice – which is a platform aimed at connecting cities to learn from one another, by predominantly utilizing its chat function. The platform also aims to bring together the broader community of researchers and practitioners to connect with cities to solve biodiversity-related challenges. The first Community of Practice was launched for coastal cities, in collaboration with the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA).

Knowledge sharing has been facilitated through a range of tools and activities including targeted campaigns, news and updates, as well as webinars to empower cities with the knowledge of how to use the Action Platform. CitiesWithNature also uses its newsletter – the Buzz – to keep cities updated with current events, news and important information, while also profiling the achievements of CitiesWithNature cities and RegionsWithNature regions in achieving their biodiversity targets.

During the 7th Summit for Subnational Governments and Cities, Regions4’s Case Study Database, one of RegionsWithNature’s new tools, was  launched. The Database is a freely accessible open source online database that showcases the subnational government experience. Currently eight case studies from six regions – Québec, Catalonia, the Basque  Country,  Lombardy,  Jalisco,  and  Aichi – are available in Spanish, French, and English. Its goal is to build and develop capacities at the regional level of government, transforming on-the-ground knowledge into best practice learning opportunities in support of the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Monitoring and reporting

While RegionsWithNature was only recently launched, CitiesWithNature already has an established range of tools for monitoring and reporting on cities’ biodiversity actions. Notably, the CitiesWithNature Action Platform is used to feed local and subnational level actions for biodiversity into national biodiversity planning. The action areas, commitments, actions and targets are all linked with the Sustainable Development Goals and Global Biodiversity Framework targets to ensure they align with national priorities.

This is supported by the Nature Pathway – guiding cities step by step to promote and mainstream nature into their policy, planning and actions.

During COP15, CitiesWithNature also launched the digitized version of the City Biodiversity Index, also known as the Singapore Index, which is based on the updated version of the CBI handbook. The automated calculations of this digitized version help cities establish a baseline for biodiversity to further monitor and report on their biodiversity, for example by making commitments and setting targets on the Action Platform.

Through this monitoring and reporting function, CitiesWithNature also plays a role in mobilizing the subnational and local governments Major Group by leading and providing support to critical advocacy events such as the 7th Summit and its associated Pavilion at COP15.

“CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature are recognized in the Plan of Action as being the place where subnational governments and cities can report on their commitments towards contributing to national and global biodiversity targets and track their progress, and I am really hoping to see many more commitments made on these platforms.”

Ingrid Coetzee, Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health, ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center

To encourage cities to make use of the Action Platform, CitiesWithNature employs a reward system that acknowledges and celebrates cities’ commitments. This includes certificates, reward badges and rankings that appear on City Profiles and can be downloaded as pdfs for cities to share and keep track of their progress.

In addition to all the functionalities mentioned above, CitiesWithNature will also launch its Community and Research Hubs in the near future to further connect cities, researchers and practitioners.

Watch the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center video featuring voices from across the world calling for cities to become CitiesWithNature here.

Center of Excellence launched at COP15

The ICLEI-Kunming International Center of Excellence for CitiesWithNature, jointly initiated by ICLEI and Kunming City, was formally established at a signing ceremony during the 7th Summit on 12 December. The center is committed to be an important platform for demonstration, peer learning and creating partnerships between Chinese and international cities on nature conservation and biodiversity. It will also help enhance local governments’ technical capacity and encourage local commitment and actions for the implementation of the newly adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The activities of the center will run in close collaboration with ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center based in Cape Town, South Africa.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on 2 February, in commemoration of the initial signing of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.

This year, the theme is
“It’s time for wetlands restoration” linking two important biodiversity components - wetlands protection and ecosystem restoration.

Wetlands and restoration

Despite being the world’s most productive ecosystems and crucial to human well-being, wetlands continue to experience extremely high rates of decline and degradation: an estimated 35% of wetlands have been lost since the 1970s. To prevent further losses and secure the necessary ecosystem services that wetlands provide – such as water purification, climate change mitigation, food and building materials, and flood control – the restoration of these important inland water and coastal systems are urgently required.

Ecosystem restoration has increasingly become a priority for scientists, politicians, officials and environmental activists in recent years as a critical approach to curb biodiversity loss and promote resilience to climate change. As such, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a 10-year push to halt and reverse the decline of the natural world, was launched in 2020. Through this year’s Wetlands Day theme, the UN Convention on Wetlands is calling for global restoration efforts to include the rehabilitation of wetlands.

Restoration acknowledged at high-level UN meetings

In 2022, urban wetlands were recognized as critical to human well-being at the UN Convention on Wetlands’ 14th Conference of Parties. During Ramsar COP14 in Geneva and Wuhan, Parties were called upon to take appropriate and urgent measures to achieve the goal of halting and reversing the loss of wetlands globally. 

Also in 2022, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s 15th Conference of Parties in Montreal and Kunming witnessed the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes under its Target 2 an aim that, by 2030, at least 30% of areas of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine ecosystems are under effective restoration.

It’s time for restoration of urban wetlands

The loss of wetlands noted above is particularly prevalent in cities. Urban wetlands are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of urbanization as they tend to be undervalued and therefore often converted or used as dumping grounds. However, while the challenges of urbanization to wetland health are profound, so too are the opportunities for wetland restoration. 

As part of the newly adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework mentioned above, Parties adopted the decision titled Engagement with subnational governments, cities and other local authorities to enhance implementation of the post-2020 Global biodiversity framework and its accompanying revised Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities (2022-2030), which recognizes the vital role that cities and local authorities play in the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework – including by restoring urban wetlands and thereby contributing to Target 2. On the CitiesWithNature Action Platform, the CBD-recognized platform for cities to use for monitoring and reporting on their actions for biodiversity, the restoration and protection of urban wetlands can be recorded by Cities under Commitment 1 titled “Protect, Connect and Restore Ecosystems” and specified under two actions: “a) Restore and/or rehabilitate terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems” and “(b) Increase protected areas.” 

Globally, cities are increasingly acknowledging the importance of protecting and restoring wetland areas. To acknowledge cities’ significant contributions to take care of valuable urban wetlands, the UN Convention on Wetlands established the Wetland City Accreditation Scheme.

Wetland City Accreditation – Encouraging a positive relationship with urban wetlands

The Wetland City Accreditation (WCA) scheme was launched in 2015 – during the Ramsar Convention on the Conservation of Wetlands  COP12 in Uruguay – with the aim of improving local authority or authorities’ work in conservation and wise use of wetlands. The accredited Wetland Cities are intended to act as models for the study, demonstration and promotion of the Convention on Wetlands’ objectives, approaches, principles and resolutions. Cities become candidates for accreditation by applying to the official call for applications posted here. 

The WCA scheme aims to encourage cities in close proximity to and dependent on wetlands, especially Wetlands of International Importance, to highlight and strengthen a positive relationship with these valuable ecosystems, for example through increased public awareness of their importance and participation in municipal planning and decision-making. 

During the Ramsar COP14 in 2022, the second triennium Wetland City Accreditation Awards Ceremony took place to celebrate the accreditation of 25 new cities (listed below). These cities have joined the already existing 18 accredited Wetland cities that have since been tasked to maintain their accreditation.

Wetland City Network and Roundtable of Wetland City Mayors – sharing best practices among decision makers

To further promote the conservation and wise use of urban and peri-urban wetlands, and to share city-level experiences among city leadership, the Roundtable of Wetland City Mayors first took place in 2019, where a Wetland City Network was established to continue the work of the accreditation scheme and enable cities to achieve more and learn from other Wetland Cities. The 2nd Roundtable of Wetland City Mayors will take place in June 2023, in Amiens, France.

The 2022 accredited cities are:

Sackville (Canada)

Sackville was built on/adjacent to saltwater marshes which had been dyked and drained in the 1600s to become freshwater “dykelands”. Since then the Town has undertaken many projects to restore, protect and utilize them, including creating legal restrictions which are supported by laws at all levels of government. The wetlands include the internationally recognized Sackville Waterfowl Park.

Hefei (China)

Hefei has 118,200 ha of wetland area, with a wetland protection rate of 76%. The city has invested in the protection of the Chao Lake area, protecting 10 wetlands covering a total of 100 square kilometers. This has significantly contributed to aquatic ecosystems, water security and quality, and wildlife habitat – up to 562 wetland plant species and 303 bird species. The City’s strategies include nine wetland education centers, wetland protection volunteers and science popularization to enhance residents’ relationship with the wetlands.

Jining (China)

Jining City is known as the “Canal Capital” for its abundant water resources, booming business activities and cultural exchanges. Jining wetlands cover an area of 158,800 ha, with the wetland protection rate reaching 77.38% as a result of the government’s commitment to wetland protection. Nansi Lake and the Grand Canal – designated as a Ramsar site in 2018 – attract millions of migratory birds every year.

Liangping (China)

Lianping’s rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and small wetlands are protected by the City’s strategy of “comprehensive water management, wetlands nourishing the city”, and its adopted model of “small and micro wetlands construction with ecological conservation, pollution control, organic industry, and natural education”, to benefit the lives of communities surrounding the urban wetlands. 

Nanchang (China)

Nanchang has a wetland area of 153,000 ha, which provides a major habitat for hundreds of thousands of waterfowl globally, and an important wintering place for Siberian white cranes. The City has protected 68% of its wetlands and restored more than 8,000 ha, enhancing the ecological functions of wetlands, the urban living environment, and the socio-economic development of the city.

Panjin (China)

Panjin’s wetland covers 249,600 ha, accounting for 60.8% of the whole area. Its wetland protection rate is 54.6%, with 124,000 ha of wetlands restored since 2018 – benefiting the value of rice, river crab, tourism and other wetland industries. Panjin’s coastal wetlands are home to 477 species of wild animals – including 78 species of national key protected wild animals – and a stopover or destination for millions of migratory birds, including the Saunder’s Gull, Red-crowned Crane and Western Pacific Spotted Seal.

Wuhan (China)

In Wuhan the Yangtze River (the third largest river in the world) meets its largest tributary, the Han River. Endowed with 165 lakes and 166 rivers, Wuhan has abundant wetland resources and a wetland rate of 18.9%. Ecological restoration is secured through legislative protection, ecological compensation, conversion of fish ponds to wetlands, restoration of degraded wetlands, and public participation.

Yangcheng (China)

Yancheng has two Wetlands of International Importance and one coastal wetland World Natural Heritage Site. By 2021, the protection rate of natural wetlands in the city has reached 62%, and the “Yancheng Yellow Sea Wetland ecological restoration case” is renowned for its global nature protection in densely populated and economically developed areas.

Belval-en-Argonne (France)

The Belval-en-Argonne municipality joined forces with several nature protection associations (e.g. Birdlife France), to purchase the ponds of Belval-en-Argonne, which were designated a Regional Nature Reserve in July 2012. Major restoration work on the dykes and sluices has been carried out to better manage the water levels, and a large inventory of ponds and amphibians to create awareness of the site’s biodiversity has been created.

Seltz (France)

Seltz is a European town in the northern Bas-Rhin Department, with a population of 3,400 and home to the Seltz nature reserve: the Sauer Delta. This 486 ha site is remarkable for its botanical richness (including willow beds, mudflats and reedbeds), hydrology and landscapes, as well as ornithology.

Surabaya (Indonesia)

As a result of Surabaya City’s low elevation, many estuarine mangrove and wetland ecosystems have formed, amounting to 1.722,68 km2 of wetland ecosystem (76.51% of the total area 2.251,62 km2). These wetlands are important for bird species, particularly migratory seabirds and shorebirds in the East Asia-Australia Fly Away. Urban planning initiatives, in cooperation with community associations, are addressing challenges such as river and coastal pollution, seasonal water scarcity and urban flooding.

Tanjung Jabung Timur (Indonesia)

Tanjung Jabung is located on the east coast, with its west coast stretching across 12 km of the Sungai Berbak river mouth, and 15 km south of Tanjung Jabung. The city’s mangrove forest fringe ranges from 200-500 m wide and consists mainly of Avicennia marina and Rhizophora species with about 10 species of large waterbirds, including milky storks.

Bandar Khamir (Islamic Republic of Iran)

With the longest wetland coastline in Iran, Bandar Khamir has started a widespread popular movement – comprising events, festivals, educational workshops and numerous learning centers – in recent years for the wise use of the wetland. As a result of increased awareness and education of the value of the wetland and its ecosystem services, the participation and involvement of different groups to protect the wetland has increased.

Varzaneh (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Varzaneh city is located 20 km from Gavkhouni International Wetland which is supplied by the ZayandehRud river that passes through the city. Because of the hot climate of the city, the river and wetlands have benefited residents’ livelihoods, including agriculture, animal husbandry and ecotourism.

Al-Chibayish (Iraq)

Many projects implemented in Al-Chibayish city have contributed to the revival and sustainability of its wetlands. These wetlands support infrastructure and basic services for the local population and economy, in addition to its unique scenery and ecotourism services. The marshes also support a unique cultural heritage that is characterized by its residents and their traditional handicrafts, landscapes and biodiversity – such as buffalo and wild birds.

Izumi (Japan)

Izumi City is known as the largest wintering site of cranes in Japan, where more than 10,000 hooded and 2,000-3,000 white-naped cranes migrate every winter. The wintering habitat comprises mainly rice paddies which have been protected by Japanese policies against development. One of the city’s pillars of city planning includes “A city where human happiness and environmental conservation go together”.

Niigata (Japan)

Niigata recognizes the multifaceted benefits of wetlands near the city and involves their citizens in protection activities – particularly for fisheries – such as including school children for environmental education. The Niigata community has a relationship with the waterfowl, such as swans, that roost in the wetlands at night and feed in the rice paddies of the city area during the day.

Ifrane (Morocco)

Ifrane is located in the heart of the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve, and considered to be the “ecological capital” of the Kingdom of Morocco. The City is working to conserve its urban wetland ecosystems – Lake Zerrouka, the Aïn Vittel springs and Oued Tizguite – through many national regulatory measures and instruments for the protection of wetlands. With its partners, Ifrane Province is a pioneer in the restoration of wetlands by piloting the “Lake Dayet Aoua restoration project”.

Gochang (Republic of Korea)

There are two Ramsar wetlands in Gochang, both protected under the National Wetlands Protection Act. Gochang has restored the paddy fields since 2017, and restored the brackish water zone between 2016 to 2020. The area is surrounded by ecotourism activities, such as the open market, and educational programs that are creating awareness among the communities of the importance of restoring wetlands. 

Seocheon (Republic of Korea)

The Seocheon Getbol wetland reserve – a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site – is a designated migratory route for migratory birds between East Asia and Oceania, and home to 19 endemic species and three endangered invertebrates, supporting 100 species of waterfowl. The Seocheon County Ordinance operates the Wetlands Protection Committee, a public-private joint organization, to systematically preserve and manage wetlands through monitoring, restoration and waste collection.

Seogwipo (Republic of Korea)

The Mulyeongari Oreum Wetland in Seogwipo City is home to 15 endangered species of living organisms. Ecological specialists and local residents in Seogwipo City perform extensive ecological monitoring on a regular basis to protect the Mulyeongari Oreum Wetland.

Kigali (Rwanda)

The Kigali Wetlands have been threatened by human activities such as agriculture, human settlements, commercial and industrial activities – decreasing their capacity for flood and pollution abatement. In response, the City is implementing strategic ecological rehabilitation solutions such as the Kigali wetland masterplan, which supports the efficient and sustainable management and use of wetlands. As a result, all business activities inside wetlands were evacuated; Nyandungu wetland (121.7ha) was transformed into a recreational eco-park; and a study to rehabilitate five wetlands that cover 480 ha has been conducted to contribute to its Vision 2050 of developing a Green City.

Cape Town (South Africa)

Cape Town is a coastal city with numerous wetlands and is a recognized global biodiversity hotspot. The City aims to mitigate wetland damage through innovative policies and plans, wetland offset projects, best-practice wetland management and restoration, people and conservation programmes, skills development, job creation, plus the Mayor’s priority water quality programme addressing impacts to and rehabilitation of the City’s larger wetlands.

Valencia (Spain)

L’Albufera de València is a wetland culturally linked to the community’s heritage, including traditional fishing and rice cultivation. Since the 1970s, Valencia’s City Council has played a fundamental role in the site protection and planning, which has resulted in the lagoon and coastal forest being declared a Natural Park in 1986. In 1982, the Devesa-Albufera Municipal Service was created, responsible for the development of plans and projects for the conservation and restoration of the wetland.

Sri Songkhram District (Thailand)

The Songkhram River has a basin of 6,473.27 km2 and is an important tributary of the Mekong River. About 54.2% of the overall Songkhram Basin may be classified as “wetlands”, which are significant as a capture fishery providing seasonal employment, income and food to thousands of households. Other products are also sourced from the wetlands by local residents (e.g. mushrooms, bamboo shoots, wild vegetables and reeds). The wetlands, declared as a Ramsar site, are protected as a “community forest” on both sides of the Songkhram River, set up by Thailand’s Royal Forest Department.

ICLEI’s role as partner to the Convention

The Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) governs the Wetland City Accreditation Scheme. This committee reviews the Wetland City Accreditation applications from candidate cities and reports its decision to the Standing Committee of the Convention. ICLEI, along the Convention on Wetlands’ International Organization Partners, promotes the Wetland City Accreditation Scheme and local efforts to gain and maintain its branding. Through ICLEI’s city networks and CitiesWithNature platform, it is well positioned to promote the Wetland City Accreditation brand. During the second triennium from 2019 until 2022, ICLEI has been serving as Co-chair of the IAC, 25 more cities were accredited and they received their award during an Award Ceremony at COP14 in Geneva in 2022.

In the build-up to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 – which will take place in Montreal from 7-19 December 2022 – ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, in collaboration with ICLEI’s regional offices, provided capacity-building webinars to demonstrate uploading actions and commitments to the CitiesWithNature Action Platform, recognized in the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2021-2030). 

 

The road to COP 15 is a crucial moment for local and subnational governments to demonstrate their commitments to actions that will contribute to the successful implementation of the new global biodiversity framework (GBF) and its targets. As a result, the CitiesWithNature Action Platform webinars not only trained cities across the world on using the platform, but also explained the importance of their engagement and participation in the platform in the build-up to COP15. 

The CitiesWithNature team that served as recurring speakers in all the webinars are:

 

Ingrid Coetzee
Director Biodiversity, Nature & Health, ICLEI Africa

 

Stefania Romano
Senior Professional Officer – Global CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

 

Willemien Calitz
Communications Officer

 

Jade Sullivan
Professional Officer: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

 

USA RO Speakers:

Calyn Hart
Program Officer, ICLEI USA

Southeast Asia RO Speakers:

Russel James Andrade
Biodiversity Focal for ICLEI Southeast Asia; Project Assistant

Victorino Aquitania
Regional Director ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat

Dr. Rajan Chedambath
Director: The Kochi Municipal Corporation and the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development
Puerto Princesa City

Dr. Lena Chan
Senior Director of the International Biodiversity Conservation Division, National Parks Board (NParks) of Singapore

SAMS & MECS SAMS (Portuguese)

Speakers:

Marília Israel de Azevedo Borges
Biodiversity Analyst at ICLEI South America

Rodrigo Corradi
Deputy Executive Secretary at ICLEI South America

Oliver Hillel
Programme Officer at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity

Bianca Cantoni Coutinho
Advocacy Officer at ICLEI South America

Jaime Holguin
Representative of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)

Luciano Paes
Secretary of Climate of Niterói

Gabriel Neves
Municipal Secretary of Green, Environment and Sustainable Development
Municipal Government of Campinas

Leta Vieira
Technical Regional Manager: Low-Carbon, Resilience, Biodiversity and Circular Development, ICLEI



ICLEI SAMS (MECS)

Speakers:

Ivana Del Río
Technical Secretariat - ICLEI Mexico

Maria Mejia
Lead - BiodiverCities by 2030 Initiative at Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos

Óscar Figueredo
Bucaramanga Metropolitan Area, Colombia

Paulina Soto
Director of Programmes and Projects

Sergio Aranguren
Biodiversity Coordinator, ICLEI

Braulio Diaz
Institutional Relations and Advocacy Regional Manager, ICLEI

Oceania RO Speakers:

Steve Gawler
Regional Director ICLEI Oceania

Cr Amanda Stone
Councillor, Yarra City Council, Australia, ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member and ICLEI Oceania Regional Executive Committee

Helaine Stanley
Program Advisor CWN Academy

Nadine Gaskell
Biodiversity Coordinator, City of Knox

European RO Speakers:

Shreya Utkarsh
Officer: Sustainable Resources, Climate and Resilience

Gillian Dick
Spatial Planning Manager – Research & Development Development Plan Group Neighbourhoods, Regeneration & Sustainability, Glasgow City Council

Marta Mansanet Cánovas
Policy Officer: European Committee of the Regions

Holger Robrecht
Deputy Regional Director of Sustainable Resources, Climate and Resilience


Africa RO Speakers:

Bronwen Griffiths
Head: Sustainable Partnerships & Financing, Spatial Planning & Environment: Environmental Management Department, City of Cape Town

Alex Kivumbi
Principal Community Development Officer, Makindye Ssabagabo, Uganda

On the road to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 – which will take place in Montreal from 7-19 December 2022 – ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, in collaboration with ICLEI’s regional offices, is providing capacity-building webinars to demonstrate uploading actions and commitments to the CitiesWithNature Action Platform, recognized in the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2021-2030). 

By enabling and supporting local and subnational governments to achieve the global nature goals and their commitments for nature, the Action Platform is intended to align with, and feed into, the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and National Reports to the CBD of countries that have ratified the Convention. 

With COP 15 around the corner, it is a crucial moment for local and subnational governments to demonstrate their commitments to actions that will contribute to the successful implementation of the new global biodiversity framework (GBF) and its targets. As a result, our Action Platform demonstration webinars aim to assist cities worldwide with using the tool as optimally as possible.

We have set up a range of webinars by region, as shown in the table below. For more information, contact the ICLEI Regional Officer of your region, as indicated in the table.

 We welcome you to participate in the webinar and join the concerted efforts for living in harmony with nature. 

USA RO Kale Roberts - kale.roberts@iclei.org
Calyn Hart - calyn.hart@iclei.org
Anne Marie Cleary Rauker - am.clearyrauker@iclei.org

October 26, 5.30 - 7.00pm SAST time | 11.30am (New York time)

Southeast Asia RO Russel James Andrade - russel.andrade@iclei.org

October 21, 8.30am (CEST time) | 2.30pm (Manila time)

South Asia Monalisa Sen - monalisa.sen@iclei.org
SAMS & MECS SAMS, Brazilian Municipalities

Bráulio Dias - braulio.diaz@iclei.org
Leta Vieira - leta.vieira@iclei.org
Marília Israel - marilia.israel@iclei.org
Bianca Cantoni - bianca.cantoni@iclei.org

One webinar with SAMS - only Portuguese speaking municipalities

October 13, 3 - 4.30pm CEST | 10 - 11.30am (Brasília)



SAMS and MECS for Spanish speaking municipalities Ecuador, Colombia, Amazonian areas, Perú, Mexico

Bráulio Dias - braulio.diaz@iclei.org
Leta Vieira - leta.vieira@iclei.org
Marília Israel de Azevedo Borges - marilia.israel@iclei.org
Bianca Cantoni - bianca.cantoni@iclei.org
Sergio Aranguren - sergio.aranguren@iclei.org
Ivana del Río Benítez - ivana.del.rio@iclei.org

October 25, 4.00 - 5.30pm CEST time | 10 - 11.30am (Mexico time)

Oceania RO Steve Gawler - steve.gawler@iclei.org

October 19, 7.30 am SAST time | 4.30 pm AEST

European RO Shreya Utkarsh - shreya.utkarsh@iclei.org
Alice Reil - alice.reil@iclei.org

October 18, 2 - 3:30pm CET


Canada RO Megan Meaney - megan.meaney@iclei.org
Anne Marie - anne-marie.legault@iclei.org

November 30, in English 7 - 8.30pm SAST


November 29, in French 7 - 8.30pm SAST

Africa RO Tarryn Quayle - tarryn.quayle@iclei.org
Uganda, Kisumu (Kenya), Ghana (Cape Coast City) and Quelimane and Nacala in Mozambique

Paul Currie - paul.currie@iclei.org
Madagascar

Kate Strachan - kate.strachan@iclei.org
Mozambique

Nelson de Lamare - nelson.de.lamare@iclei.org
Senegal and Burkina Faso

Ernita Van Wyk - ernita.van.wyk@iclei.org
Tanzania

Vanessa Tshite - vanessa.tshite@iclei.org
Bongiwe Simka - bongiwe.simka@iclei.org
Sierra Leone

November 2, 2 - 3.30pm SAST time

East Asia RO Shu Zhu - Shu.Zhu@iclei.org
Ge Liu - ge.liu@iclei.org
Japan Togo Uchida - togo.uchida@iclei.org
Tomoya Taniguchi - Tomoya.Taniguchi@iclei.org

Have you ever heard of a “Blue Flag beach”? Of course you have! The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. 

We are proud to announce that Blue Flag has joined the global CitiesWithNature partnership initiative! 

Image provided by: Blue Flag

Coastal zones are critical areas, not only to provide livelihoods and recreational opportunities, but because they serve as immensely important buffer areas to sea level rise, deadly floods and storm surges, while also providing essential, safe havens and breeding grounds for many fish species and countless other organisms, plants and animals. Blue Flag, founded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), will actively work with CitiesWithNature to promote nature conservation activities across its networks.

“We know that we can achieve more together than separately and will strive to make the most of our collaboration as we implement solutions for people and the planet.”

Daniel Schaffer, CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education

To qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained. The beach must comply with laws and/or regulations pertaining to issues related to coastal zone planning, environmental management, wastewater management, environmental conservation, and others in order to receive and maintain Blue Flag status.

 

With this awards system, the mission of Blue Flag is to promote sustainability in the tourism sector, through environmental education, environmental protection and other sustainable development practices. As a result of Blue Flag and its partnerships, more than 5,000 beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats are concretely contributing to the sustainable development goals. Blue Flag also campaigns against disparity, inequality, unemployment, health threats, depletion of natural resources, environmental threats, pollution and general environmental degradation. Find out more about Blue Flag’s efforts to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals  here

 

In addition to its role in maintaining coastal ecosystems, FEE is also a recognized world leader within the fields of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development. Through its three youth-focused educational programs, Eco-Schools, Learning about Forests (LEAF), and Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE), the organization uses a solutions-based pedagogical approach to empower young people to create a more environmentally conscious world. 

 

As an international umbrella organization, FEE has over 100 members in 81 countries and has its Global Secretariat in Copenhagen, Denmark. Through this partnership, CitiesWithNature and Blue Flag will work towards bringing even more unique and tailor-made technical services, reporting mechanisms, capacity-building and funding opportunities – specifically in the field of coastal management – to our collective Blue Flag and CitiesWitNature cities and towns globally. 

“We are so pleased to welcome the highly respected global Blue Flag programme into the CitiesWithNature initiative, demonstrating our shared commitment to work with subnational and local governments in coastal cities to ensure that we live, act and plan with nature. This partnership provides a unique opportunity for urban communities and their governments to rise to the challenge and take ownership of our precious shores, committing to renewed action as part of this important Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”

Kobie Brand, Deputy Director General of ICLEI

This new partnership comes right on time, with world leaders recognising and adopting an action-oriented Political Declaration to save the ocean from existing and future threats, including marine pollution, harmful fishing practices, biodiversity loss, and acidification at the 2022 UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon – co-hosted by Kenya and Portugal in June this year at the onset of the United Nations Decade of Oceans Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

For years, the story of cities has been a tale of attempting to carve out a place for humans outside of nature, a model that has exacerbated our global environmental challenges. Urban areas are perceived as drivers of environmental degradation, nature loss, climate change, and pollution. For cities to make peace with nature and to achieve the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), we need to design and redesign our cities and urban infrastructure with nature in mind.

Luckily, in recent years we have recently seen a recognition of the value of nature and biodiversity in cities, rural-urban linkages and reduction of urban sprawl. Since the 2016 HABITAT III conference, urban-rural linkages have emerged as one of the vibrant means of implementing the New Urban Agenda. Following this, UN Agencies have joined forces to help (re)establish a healthy relationship between urban environments and the ecosystems they are part of.

At the World Urban Forum (WUF), UNEP and the CBD Secretariat (SCBD) collaborated in an event with UN Habitat, FAO and ICLEI to discuss how effective cooperation between UN Agencies can support enhanced urban-rural governance and nature protection. The results of this roundtable will feed into the agenda of the 7th Summit of Cities and Sub-national Governments, which will be held in conjunction with the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the CBD in Montreal, Canada in December 2022.

To prioritize nature-based solutions during the “Super Year for Nature” — a year when the global community is calling for nature to have its “Paris Agreement” moment —  ICLEI USA is hosting a six-part “Biodiversity Bootcamp” learning-and-leadership virtual training series open to all U.S. cities, counties, and communities (non-ICLEI members welcome). From July 18 until August 22, 2022, every Monday 11:30 am to 12:30 pm MST, engage with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) proceedings unlike ever before.

Each Bootcamp session features a unique lens on biodiversity solutions:

  • Session 1: Introduces global frameworks and advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels and outlines the Bootcamp
  • Session 2: Establishes baselines for action in support of nature, showcases natural asset mapping, and features International Union for Conservation of Nature nature-based solutions in cities’ framework
  • Session 3: Explores finance options (crowdfunding, green bonds, grant programs, and making good use of U.S. Infrastructure Bill funds)
  • Session 4: Includes community driven planningfinancing, and implementation of biodiversity solutions within local communities
  • Session 5: Focuses on community engagement and citizen science and explores city-university collaborations and their role in taking action for nature
  • Session 6: Features a ‘putting-it-all-together’ workshop, which includes reviewing success indicators, implementing a natural asset report map, and determining threats to current management

Want to take action for nature and spearhead nature-based solutions in your community? Read more about the free Biodiversity Bootcamp, and register here to be at the forefront of addressing and remediating the global biodiversity crisis.

Svg Vector Icons : http://www.onlinewebfonts.com/icon

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.

Svg Vector Icons : http://www.onlinewebfonts.com/icon

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.

Svg Vector Icons : http://www.onlinewebfonts.com/icon

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.

Forests sequester about one third of greenhouse gas emissions, yet only a handful of U.S. communities include trees in GHG inventories.


Washington, D.C. (August 19, 2019)
 – Today, ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI) unveiled new guidance that enables U.S. cities and counties to include forests and trees within their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting, a key activity to ensure representation of local forestry and land use consideration in climate action planning. Developed in partnership with the Woods Hole Research Center and World Resources Institute (WRI), and funded by Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Forest and Land Use Appendix to ICLEI’s U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions will help fill a critical gap in enabling communities to develop climate action related to land management at a local level.

Forests and trees sequester about a third of the greenhouse gas emissions that humans emit every year; however, a study conducted by ICLEI showed that 60 percent of U.S. community respondents did not include forests or trees in their greenhouse gas inventories due to a lack of guidance on how to do so.

“Failing to include forest and trees within U.S. climate action plans — which serve as such a critical component to meeting global climate mitigation goals — simply due to lack of available guidance was a huge missed opportunity,” said Angie Fyfe, Executive Director, ICLEI USA. “The U.S. has some of the best data on land use, we couldn’t let limited expertise on how to put these numbers together be the cause for inaction.”

More than 3,500 people have downloaded The U.S. Community Protocol since 2012. The Forest and Land Use Appendix of the Protocol provides, for the first time, guidance to U.S. communities for estimating the emissions and removals from forests. The Appendix also considers “trees outside forests”, including urban trees and trees in croplands, which are often overlooked in national assessments.

The protocol was piloted with Montgomery County, Maryland; Los Angeles County, California; and Whatcom County, Washington; representing the dramatic spectrum of climate and land cover across the country.

“Montgomery County jumped at the opportunity to explore the sequestration benefits associated with trees and forests,” said Marc Elrich, County Executive, Montgomery County, Maryland. “Given our aggressive GHG reduction goals of 80 percent by 2027 and carbon neutrality by 2035, increased sequestration must be in the mix of strategies we employ. The new protocol also has prompted us to think more deeply about natural climate solutions ranging from reducing the heat-island effect to increasing sequestration in the agricultural sector.”

“The protocol provides a baseline for communities to start acknowledging the climate benefits that come from leaving forests and trees standing, increasing tree canopy cover in cities and incorporating trees into agricultural landscapes,” said Nancy Harris, Forest Program Research Manager at World Resources Institute and co-author of the protocol. “Having this guidance at a sub-state level is critical, given most decisions around land use are made at a very local scale.”

ICLEI USA has revised its ClearPath GHG emissions management software tool with new calculators that will allow communities to develop GHG inventories with land use in mind from the outset and is encouraging its member communities to see the new guidance to consider how forests and trees can be integrated into climate action plans.

Download the U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions