2021 IN SUMMARY FOR NATURE ADVOCACY
2021 has been an important year for biodiversity. To maintain momentum towards the next Biodiversity COP, postponed to April/May 2022 due to the ongoing pandemic, the CBD Parties held informal and formal online sessions of the CBD Subsidiary Bodies and Inter-sessional Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). ICLEI CBC coordinated the advocacy efforts among network partners, to ensure that the voice and ambitions of all levels of subnational government are heard and reflected in the Post-2020 GBF. This resulted in 15 joint statements being read during these meetings. ICLEI CBC, together with various Regional Offices, also organized 5 multilevel online dialogues on the GBF that were held in Peru (27 May); Colombia (25 June); Mexico (24 June); Canada (7 July); and China (9 July). An additional dialogue with the business sector was held in Brazil on 10 June; and a further series of 4 multilevel online dialogues were held with South Africa’s District and Metropolitan Municipalities over June-July.
The dialogue in China was particularly significant on the road from Edinburgh to Kunming and COP15. It represented the first warm-up event for the upcoming 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments, a parallel event of 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) to be held in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China next year., ICLEI East Asia and the Scottish Government co-hosted the virtual dialogue “Reinforce Local and Subnational Governments’ Actions and Contribution: Edinburgh Process for Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework”on 9 July, gathering over 100 participants from across China and from different time zones. Read more here.
ICLEI CBC also represented the local and subnational major group in the consultation process of the Informal Advisory Group on Biodiversity Mainstreaming, and made written submissions on the Long-term Approach to Mainstreaming Biodiversity (LTAM). A key outcome is that the LTAM – (CBD/SBI/3/CRP.16), includes a voluntary plan of action, which identifies three strategic areas, the first of which makes explicit reference to the role and contribution of local and subnational governments in mainstreaming biodiversity. ICLEI was invited by the SCBD to make a short joint statement on behalf of the local & subnational major group in the opening meeting of the CBD COP Part 1, which took place from 11 – 15 October. This statement was delivered in person by Shu Zhu in Kunming. The Chinese Government invited ICLEI to make a short joint statement on behalf of the local & subnational major group in the closing plenary of High-Level Segment, on 13 October, which was delivered virtually by our Secretary General, Gino van Begin.
A major milestone in advocating the ambitions and role of local and subnational governments, through the Edinburgh Process, was the tabling, by the UK Government, of a draft Decision text and Plan of Action (PoA) on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity, to the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI). This met with very little resistance and strong support from the EU and Member States, Mexico, Colombia, Japan, Ecuador, and Argentina. As there was no dissenting voice from CBD Parties, the SCBD was able to proceed with the preparation of a Conference Room Paper (CRP) – CBD/SBI/3/CRP8, for adoption at the next in-person meeting of the Parties, scheduled to be held in January 2022 in Geneva. The CBD looks set to adopt the CRP making it, for the second time, the only Multilateral Environmental Agreement with a consistent, 10-year plan for the engagement of subnational governments, cities and other local authorities. If adopted, this will represent a major and unique accomplishment for the local and subnational major group. ICLEI is a key partner in the Edinburgh Process and has played a strategic role in guiding and supporting this process that is hosted by the Scottish Government, including providing technical input to the drafting of the decision text and its Plan of Action.
CBD COP 15 was officially opened during a hybrid event (in-person for delegates based in China & virtual for international delegates) that was held from 11 to 15 October 2021. ICLEI was invited by the CBD Secretariat to make a short joint statement on behalf of the local & subnational major group in the opening meeting of the CBD COP Part 1. The joint statement was delivered in person by Shu Zhu in Kunming on 11 October (read more here). The Chinese Government invited ICLEI to make a short joint statement on behalf of the local & subnational major group in the closing plenary of High-Level Segment, on 13 October, which was delivered virtually by ICLEI Secretary General, Gino van Begin (read more here). Both statements were very well received, and network partners expressed their appreciation for the statements. The Kunming Declaration, where Parties committed to develop, adopt and implement an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework that would biodiversity put on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest, towards the full realization of the 2050 Vision of “Living in Harmony with Nature”, was adopted during the High-Level Segment.
Resumed sessions of SBSTTA 24, SBI 3 and WG2020-3
The sessions of the twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24), the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3) and the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (WG2020-3) will resume and will take place as in-person meetings between 12-28 January 2022 at the International Conference Center Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland.
The pre-session and other relevant documentation for the meetings are available at: https://www.cbd.int/conferences/geneva-2022 .