Joint statement of the local and subnational government major group at CBD COP 15 Part 1 High Level Segment,

read by Mr Gino van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

13 October 2021

Minister Huang, Your Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

Thank you, Mr Chair, for giving me the floor to address you on behalf of the local and subnational government major group, represented by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Advisory Committee on Subnational Governments and Biodiversity – coordinated by Regions4 and Government of Québec, the Group of Leading Subnational Governments toward the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the European Committee of the Regions, and the Edinburgh Process Partners.

Having led this field since 2008, ICLEI recognizes the significant contributions made by these organizations in mobilizing more than 2500 local and subnational governments globally, and amplifying their voices in the CBD. This collective mobilization has resulted in significant achievements.

The first “Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity”, was adopted with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, at COP10, in Japan in 2010.

Since then, several CBD Decisions have recognized the contributions of subnational governments to implement the CBD and achieve global biodiversity targets.

In 2020, the Edinburgh Process was launched by the Scottish Government in partnership with ICLEI, Regions4, the Group of Leading Subnational Governments, the European Committee of the Regions, and the Governments of Quebec and Wales, as a commitment to continue fulfilling our responsibilities for biodiversity at subnational levels in this decade.

So far, over 180 local and subnational governments across the world support the Edinburgh Declaration – and this number is growing.

This Declaration sets out the commitments of the local and subnational governments with regard to the post-2020 biodiversity framework. We call on Parties to recognize the importance of our role in the new framework.

As nations deliberate in Kunming and Glasgow on the biodiversity and climate crises, we stand at a crossroad, which will decide the future of our planet and children.

Cities and subnational governments are in the frontlines of these crises. They are ready and committed, to take an active role in the post-2020 biodiversity framework and targets, to ensure a ‘whole of government’ approach, to deliver the transformative action that is needed to bend the curve in biodiversity loss and to meet the climate targets.

Around 200 cities and metropolitan areas have committed to protecting nature, by joining the CitesWithNature initiative. This initiative is a partnership between ICLEI, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, UNEP, WWF, Cites4Forests and many others. CitiesWithNature offers an online platform where cities share best practices to meet the biodiversity targets, introduce nature-based solutions, and reconnect people with nature.

A sister platform, RegionsWithNature, was launched recently by ICLEI, Regions4, and several other network organizations and regional governments.

At the 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments, that will be held as an official parallel event at COP 15 – Part 2, in Kunming next year, we will showcase our local and subnational governments actions, and will invite Parties to engage with Mayors and Governors.

Today, we call on Parties to adopt the renewed decision and plan of action at COP 15, making the CBD, for the second time, the only UN Convention with a comprehensive action plan for engaging all levels of subnational government. Thank you!

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