From 2 to 17 December, nations will convene in Cancun, Mexico at the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Held every two years, the Biodiversity COP is an opportunity for nations to advance implementation of this convention, which recognizes biodiversity as a key part of creating a clean, healthy and sustainable living environment for the global population.

In parallel to the COP, ICLEI is co-organizing the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities & Subnational Governments from 9 to 11 December, gathering ministers, governors and mayors from around the world. Local leaders will have the opportunity to engage directly with national leaders from 195 countries to mainstream biodiversity solutions into the new global developmental framework.

Ecosystem services are vital for the survival of humankind, and nowhere else is this manifested more concretely than within our cities. Our rapidly growing urban population is knowingly – and even unknowingly – reshaping those very ecosystems on which we depend for resilience, well-being and indeed, for the most basic of our daily needs such as food, shelter and connectivity.

The nations gathering at this 13th COP have recognized for over a decade the increasingly important – and increasingly urgent – role of cities and regions as essential contributors to the attainment of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2010-2020 and associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets. This plan set the vision for a world living in harmony with nature by ensuring the preservation of resilient ecosystems. This growing global consensus on the need to enable local implementation and mainstreaming is also strongly embedded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which came into force on 1 January this year.

Local and subnational governments – and their growing communities – have the unique ability and imperative to take action and thereby significantly advance the Sustainable Development Goals through cross-cutting and mainstreamed nature-based solutions and associated biodiversity-enhancing strategies, implementation plans and actions.

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