History of Local and Subnational Governments in the CBD

Successive Global Biodiversity Summits of Local and Subnational Governments have been co-convened by ICLEI, host governments and key partners as official events in parallel to the CBD COPs since COP 9 in 2008. Since the first Summit, there has been at least one official COP Decision dedicated to local and subnational governments emerging from each Summit’s negotiations. This is testimony to CBD Parties’ and the SCBD’s recognition of the vital role that cities and regions play in contributing to the CBD objectives. Click here to see more information on previous Summits. The background and history of the local and subnational government advocacy for nature is outlined below, in relation to the relevant COPs that have taken place every two years.

2006: 8th Conference of the Parties

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In 2006, the 8th Conference of the Parties (COP 8) was chaired in Curitiba, Brazil, and marked the first meeting where local and subnational authorities were recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signatory governments. ICLEI, in a partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), launched the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) program, highlighting the importance of local biodiversity actions. The LAB Initiative was a world-first international initiative to guide, support, capacitate and motivate local governments and their partners to enhance the management of biodiversity in areas under their jurisdiction. Critically, this included the integration of biodiversity considerations into policy, strategy and implementation decisions. In March 2007, the Mayor of Curitiba took the initiative of hosting a meeting of Mayors and other high-level officials on Cities and Biodiversity: Achieving the 2010 Biodiversity Target in Curitiba. The meeting adopted the Curitiba Declaration on Cities and Biodiversity, which recognized, among others, the crucial importance of involving local authorities in global efforts towards the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, and that it is through local actions that biodiversity issues are addressed most efficiently. (Further valuable information on the early initiatives taken by CBD Parties, as well as local and subnational governments, is captured in Cities and Biodiversity: Engaging Local Authorities during the Enhanced Phase of the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a notice issued by the CBD Executive Secretary in January 2007).

2008: 9th Conference of the Parties

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In 2008, COP 9 was chaired in Bonn, Germany, where the parties discussed the role of cities and local authorities in the implementation of the CBD. As a result, and for the first time ever, a Decision was adopted on cities and biodiversity (Decision IX/28). This Decision encouraged parties to the CBD to recognize the role of local and subnational governments in national strategies and plans, as well as invited Parties to support and assist cities in implementing the CBD at the local and subnational level. Decision IX/28 was the first United Nations environmental convention to dedicate a Decision to local governments. One of the take home messages of COP 9 was the recognition that the implementation of the three objectives of the CBD requires the full engagement of cities and local authorities.

2010: 10th Conference of the Parties

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In 2010, COP 10 was chaired in Nagoya, Japan. The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) was adopted at COP 10, defining a global agenda for biodiversity, under the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Decision X/22 marked a unique and ground-breaking Decision as it endorsed a 10-year (2011-2020) “Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity”, with a timeline matching that of the broader CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020). Perhaps most notably, Decision X/22 was the first-ever long-term Decision by a Rio Convention to recognize and support the role of local and subnational governments as key implementing partners to the Parties. Although not legally binding, Decision X/22 provided guidelines outlining how national governments can support local governments in implementing the objectives of the CBD and preparing action plans, and in so doing assist themselves by benefitting from the collective contributions of local governments, which significantly account for implementation and therefore national monitoring and reporting efforts. The Decision provided a framework for localization of key aspects of the adopted Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020), which has since then, been guiding the global biodiversity agenda throughout the past decade, thereby making way for the Post-2020 GBF that will steer the CBD’s agenda in the UN’s Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

2012: 11th Conference of the Parties

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In 2012, COP 11 was chaired in Hyderabad, India, where Decision XI/8 on the engagement of other stakeholders, major groups and subnational authorities was adopted. The Decision requested the Executive Secretary to support the activities of the Global Partnership (a CBD-facilitated global instrument used to collate and support the local and subnational constituencies in partnership with key partners such as ICLEI) and inviting Parties to develop and support tools and initiatives that facilitate the local and subnational implementation of the CBD.

2014: 12th Conference of the Parties

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In 2012, COP 11 was chaired in Hyderabad, India, where Decision XI/8 on the engagement of other stakeholders, major groups and subnational authorities was adopted. The Decision requested the Executive Secretary to support the activities of the Global Partnership (a CBD-facilitated global instrument used to collate and support the local and subnational constituencies in partnership with key partners such as ICLEI) and inviting Parties to develop and support tools and initiatives that facilitate the local and subnational implementation of the CBD.

2016: 13th Conference of the Parties

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In 2016, COP 13 was held in Cancun, Mexico and resulted in the adoption by the Parties of Decision XIII/3, on Strategic actions to enhance the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Parties agreed to enhance their efforts to engage subnational and local governments in order to strengthen their contribution to the implementation of the Convention and its Strategic Plan.

2018: 14th Conference of the Parties

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In 2018, COP 14 was chaired in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, which gave effect to Decision 14/34. This Decision related to the establishment of a comprehensive and participatory process for the preparation of the Post-2020 GBF. The Sharm El-Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People was launched in an attempt to mobilize urgent action in the lead up to COP 15. At COP 14, Parties also decided to establish an Informal Advisory Group (IAG) on the Mainstreaming of Biodiversity, to advise the Executive Secretary and the Bureau of the CBD, on a long-term approach to mainstreaming biodiversity, including on ways to integrate mainstreaming adequately into the Post-2020 GBF. The IAG was established in 2019 with the appointment of representatives from Parties, organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities. ICLEI was appointed to represent all local and subnational governments on the IAG. ICLEI’s appointment demonstrates the contribution that ICLEI and its Cities Biodiversity Center has made over the past decade in advocating for greater recognition of, and involvement by, local and subnational governments in the CBD

Previous CBD COP Decisions & Summit Communiqués

CBD COP Decisions directly relevant to local and subnational governments

CBD COP 14
Adoption by the Parties of the following seven decisions that relate to the mandates and issues of cities and regions:

  • COP/14/L.4 – Health and biodiversity;
  • COP/14/L.11 – Sustainable wildlife management;
  • CBD/COP/DEC/14 – Proposals for a comprehensive and participatory process for the preparation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework;
  • COP/14/L.19 – Protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures;
  • COP/14/L.20 – Mainstreaming of biodiversity in the energy and mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing sectors;
  • COP/14/L.27 – Invasive alien species; and
  • COP/14/L.28 – The conservation and sustainable use of pollinators.

Summit communiqués, resolutions and declarations presented to CBD Parties

6th Global Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments
Sharm El-Sheikh Communiqué for Local and Subnational Action for Nature and People 2018

CBD COP Decisions directly relevant to local and subnational governments

CBD COP 13

Adoption by the Parties of Decision XIII/3, on Strategic actions to enhance the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Parties agreed to enhance their efforts to engage subnational and local governments in order to strengthen their contribution to the implementation of the Convention and its Strategic Plan.

Summit communiqués, resolutions and declarations presented to CBD Parties

5th Global Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments
Quintana Roo Communiqué on Mainstreaming Local and Subnational Biodiversity Action

CBD COP Decisions directly relevant to local and subnational governments

CBD COP 12

Decision XII/9, on Engagement with Subnational and Local Governments, requested the CBD Executive Secretary to support the Global Partnership on Local and Subnational Action on Biodiversity and its activities as an effective platform for scientific and technical cooperation, capacity development and the dissemination of best practices for local and subnational implementation of the Convention.

Summit communiqués, resolutions and declarations presented to CBD Parties

Biodiversity Summit For Cities and Subnational Governments
Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution for Cities and Subnational Governments for Biodiversity

CBD COP Decisions directly relevant to local and subnational governments

CBD COP 11

Adoption by the Parties of Decision XI/28: It highlighted the tangible role of local governments, specifying the need for national support in implementing the Plan of Action 2011-2020.

Summit communiqués, resolutions and declarations presented to CBD Parties

Cities for Life: City and Subnational Biodiversity Summit
Hyderabad Declaration on Subnational Governments, Cities and Local Authorities for Biodiversity

CBD COP Decisions directly relevant to local and subnational governments

CBD COP 10

Adoption by the Parties of the ground-breaking Decision X/22 and thereby endorsement of the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2011-2020) and encouraged Parties to support cities and local authorities.

Summit communiqués, resolutions and declarations presented to CBD Parties

City Biodiversity Summit
Aichi/Nagoya Declaration on Local Authorities and Biodiversity
Support of Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2011 – 2020)

CBD COP Decisions directly relevant to local and subnational governments

CBD COP 9
Development of an intervention on behalf of local governments, presented at the COP. Adoption by the Parties of Decision IX/28, which for the first time recognizes the importance of local and subnational governments in supporting the implementation of the Convention and in implementing National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans.

Summit communiqués, resolutions and declarations presented to CBD Parties

Mayors Conference – Local Action for Biodiversity
Bonn Call for Action on Cities and Biodiversity