Statement by the European Committee of the Regions, ICLEI – Local Governments for
Sustainability, Regions4 Sustainable Development, the Group of Leading Subnational
Governments toward Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Advisory Committee of
Subnational Governments for Biodiversity (coordinated by Regions4 and the
Government of Quebec)

In the Special Virtual Session for SBSTTA 24 and SBI-3 on Biodiversity, One Health and
COVID on 15 and 16th December 2020

Speaker: Mr Roberto Rinaldi on behalf of Mr Roby Biwer, European Committee of the Regions
Category: Subnational and local governments

Honourable Co-Chairs, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen
I am taking the floor on behalf of Roby Biwer, who apologies but had to leave unexpectedly.
This statement is on behalf of subnational and local governments and networks, including the
European Committee of Regions, ICLEI, the Advisory Committee of Subnational Governments –
coordinated by Regions4 and the Government of Quebec, and the Group of Leading
Subnational Governments toward Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

COVID-19 has reminded us of the increased risk of zoonotic diseases from unsustainable
interactions between human and natural systems. Going forward, we need to redesign our
cities and regions to recover healthy biodiversity and ecosystem services that are vital for
human health and its well-being based on a socioeconomic system that is in harmony with

Cities and subnational governments currently stand in the frontlines of the pandemic, and are
key actors in taking urgent and concrete actions across all sectors . We take the nature, health
and climate agendas, as well as the One Health approach, very seriously.
On the three questions:
● The Convention can further contribute to a One Health approach by supporting the
formal recognition by Parties of the action that local and subnational governments are
already taking at their level.
● The inclusion of local and subnational governments in the development and
implementation of the recovery measures and approaches will ensure that these
responses to COVID-19 contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of
biodiversity to “build back better”.
● The interlinkages between biodiversity, health and pandemic risk should be reflected
in the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework as suggested by
the Edinburgh Declaration. For example, by strengthening capacity building and
increasing resource mobilisation in order to implement Nature-Based Solutions and
green and blue infrastructure, particularly through ecosystem based approaches at
the local and subnational levels.

I conclude by reiterating that cities and subnational governments are ready, and want to be
part of the solution to build back better and redesign our shared future in harmony with
nature within planetary boundaries.
We want to do so in cooperation with CBD Parties, and through a whole of government and a
whole of society approach.

Thank you.