~ Taking action for biodiversity ~
The 7th Summit for Subnational Governments & Cities constituted an unprecedented global milestone to welcome significantly strengthened contributions from subnational governments and cities to the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework. The Summit, an official parallel event to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15, was held on 11 and 12 December 2022.
In addition to the Summit, for the first time at a CBD COP, there was a dedicated Subnational Governments & Cities Pavilion – from 8 to 18 December – focusing entirely on local and subnational government actions and opportunities.
The Summit was co-hosted by ICLEI, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and Regions4, along with the host Government of Québec and the City of Montréal and with the support and engagement of the Province of Yunnan and the City of Kunming. Both the Summit and its associated Pavilion were financially supported by the Government of Québec as main sponsor.
ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, with inputs from co-hosts and partners, has compiled a comprehensive report to highlight the importance and impact of the Summit and its associated Pavilion, and to showcase critical interventions and milestones of subnational governments and cities at COP15. The report also covers the mobilization and advocacy journey of the Local and Subnational Governments Major Group towards, and during, COP15.
The Biodiversity COP15 took place after years of intensive consultations and delays in the negotiation process due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, several scientific reports highlighted in this report, were released to illustrate the urgency of preventing biodiversity loss and adverse climatic changes, increasing the stakes for the COP15 negotiations.
The mobilization, and level of commitment and solidarity, among subnational and local leaders at COP15 represented a historic game changer. Their presence and active participation was vital, given the pivotal role of subnational and local governments in achieving the global biodiversity targets.
Against this background, the 7th Summit for Subnational Governments & Cities welcomed over 1 500 registered and participating delegates from more than 300 cities and regions across 70 countries, under the theme of Taking Action for Biodiversity, centering around three elements: Engage, Influence and Act.
The 7th Summit was dedicated to taking action and making commitments, with subnational governments and cities sharing and demonstrating inspirational biodiversity initiatives, solutions and achievements, and pivoting combined multi-level ambitions and engagement into measurable actions. The Summit presented new projects and multilateral announcements, and profiled initiatives such as the global CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature partnerships, and associated Action Platform, which allows for local and subnational governments to commit and share their ambitious actions and initiatives for and with nature, in measurable ways.
The Summit also witnessed the formal establishment of the ICLEI-Kunming International Center of Excellence for CitiesWithNature, jointly initiated by ICLEI and Kunming City. Moreover, the Summit hosted a high level roundtable, bringing together an intimate group of government leaders, including mayors, governors and other political representatives from around the world, to engage with each other on the priorities for taking action for biodiversity ahead of the Summit.
The Berlin Pact was soft launched, the Montréal Pledge introduced, and there was a call for Financing Nature for Sustainable Cities and Regions from several subnational government and city leaders. The Summit witnessed a wide range of other highlights that are captured in the full report.
Adding to the success of the overall contribution of subnational governments and cities to COP15, the Pavilion showcased an exciting, packed daily program and offered subnational governments and cities, their partners and CBD Parties more opportunities than ever before to showcase their work, learn from others, and make the links between biodiversity, climate, water security, food security, pollution and waste, the circular economy and job creation, focusing on systems-based approaches.
The Pavilion provided a wide variety of engagement opportunities, announcements, celebrations, bilateral meetings and in-depth deliberations between CBD Parties, subnational governments and cities, their stakeholders, international organizations, UN bodies, finance and investment institutions, the business sector, and science and research sector about actions and solutions, financing opportunities, partnerships, and investments in biodiversity and nature-based solutions to bring about the transformative change that is urgently needed.
36+ sessions covered a wide range of topics including health and wellbeing, biodiversity mainstreaming solutions, ecosystem restoration, finance for GBF implementation, nature-based solutions, bio-economy, green and blue spaces, protection of wetlands and migratory species, urban-rural linkages, spatial planning, youth, behavior change, and highlighting initiatives such as CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature, and the Berlin Pact. In addition, dedicated days focused on biodiversity actions taken in China, Montréal and Québec. Brief descriptions of all the Pavilion sessions, along with more than 20 significant highlights of the Pavilion overall are listed in the full report.
The report also covers the mobilization and advocacy journey of the Local and Subnational Governments Major Group towards COP15. Building on six consecutive summits convened as official CBD COP parallel events, the 7th Summit for Subnational Governments & Cities marked over a decade of engagement between CBD Parties and subnational and local governments.
At COP15, Parties expressed unequivocal and strong recognition of subnational and local governments’ integral role in supporting the successful implementation of the GBF and contributing to the achievement of the 2030 global targets.
This growing support was evident in the adoption at COP15 of:
- a stronger and more ambitious Decision and POA on engaging subnational and local governments to enhance the implementation of the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework;
- the inclusion of references recognizing the role of subnational and local governments in the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes, for the first time, a target that is specifically directed at local governments; and
- references to subnational and local governments in several other COP15 Decisions.
The report ends with a brief look towards COP16 and beyond.
ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC) wishes to thank the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Regions4, the host Government of Québec and the City of Montréal, the Province of Yunnan and the City of Kunming.
Both the Summit and its associated Pavilion were financially supported by the Government of Québec as main sponsor.
We would also like to thank additional partners, UNEP, the David Suzuki Foundation, CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature, as well as all speakers, presenters and participants for making the 7th Summit for Subnational Governments & Cities, and its associated Pavilion, a major success.