Over the past two decades, ICLEI, through its Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC), has worked closely with the United Nations Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and a range of partners to elevate the voice of local and subnational governments and ensure that strong action is taken to create vibrant cities and regions, where people and biodiversity can thrive.

Introduction: Understanding the Biodiversity COPs

Exploring why local and subnational governments, their leaders and urban communities should care about CBD COP15 and take action for nature.

Interested in understanding how the Convention on Biological Diversity works? Download the guide below, developed by the Global Youth Biodiversity Network.

What are the United Nations Rio Conventions?

When the UN General Assembly adopts a Convention, it creates international norms and standards. Once a Convention is adopted, Member States (or Parties) can then ratify the convention, promising to uphold it.

Biodiversity: the web of life

Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, means the variety of life. It is the essence underpinning life, making every living organism on the planet unique and enabling nature to thrive as part of an interconnected system.

Biodiversity under threat, life under threat.

Biodiversity continues to be lost at an unprecedented rate, despite its crucial importance for life.

More than 37,400 species are threatened with extinction.

That is 28% of all assessed species.

Estimates of future extinction rates are 10 times higher than the current rates.

Source: GYBN from IUCN Red List

The Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty with the ambitious aim to conserve biodiversity, and promote its sustainable use and fair access and benefit-sharing arising from its genetic resources. The Secretariat of the CBD is based in Montreal, Canada and provides administrative support for the implementation of the CBD.

The CBD has 196 Parties.

Why is the CBD COP important?

The CBD COPs are the most high-level international meetings at which biodiversity is discussed and at which international decisions regarding biodiversity are made.

COPs are held every two years. Here, states at national level commit to agreed upon goals and targets, which become legally binding under international law.

Why should there be a Decision for Cities & Regions?

Cities & Regions – working together with all stakeholders – are essential to protecting biodiversity, restoring ecosystems and reconnecting people with nature. They are an integral level of government, closest to the people, ensuring integration, and contributing to transformative change. They can make tangible contributions to implementing the objectives and targets of the CBD.

CBD COP Decisions

Parties formally meet at the COP to advance the implementation of the CBD through official Decisions.

COP Decisions facilitate the critical support needed for local and subnational governments to support their nations in the implementation of the CBD.

Local and subnational governments make decisions on a daily basis, often with irreversible net-positive or negative impacts on nature.

Why Cities & Regions should engage in the CBD Process

Cities should engage in the CBD processes to ensure their voices and ambitions are heard and reflected in the Global Biodiversity Framework and other related UN processes, such as the SDGs, the UNFCCC and the New Urban Agenda.

How can Cities & Regions get involved?

ICLEI CBC hosts monthly webinars that keep Cities and Regions updated on the CBD processes.

We also host a parallel event to the CBD COP. At these Global Biodiversity Summits of Local & Subnational Governments, governors, mayors and other subnational government leaders from around the world gather to showcase bold action and solutions, and contribute to a statement on behalf of local and subnational governments.

Cities & Regions called to sign Edinburgh Declaration and act for nature

Join hundreds of local and subnational governments across the world by signing the Edinburgh Declaration to commit to act for nature and call on Parties to adopt a dedicated Decision that recognizes the vital contribution of Cities and Regions in implementing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Why Cities & Regions should join CitiesWithNature & RegionsWithNature

CitiesWithNature is a global platform for cities and other subnational governments, their communities and experts. Here you can connect, share and learn from others in order to truly integrate nature into the fabric of your city: from local community parks through to boardroom decisions and city budgets.

Joining is free & easy!

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