RegionsWithNature launches website

RegionsWithNature is proud to announce the launch of our brand new website!

The RegionsWithNature website officially launched in July, to coincide with our first ever RegionsWithNature webinar

This website is a significant milestone in the RegionsWithNature journey and shows the upwards trajectory of our growth as an initiative.

Building on the success of our parallel initiative CitiesWithNature, RegionsWithNature was launched at ICLEI’s Daring Cities forum in October 2021, to provide a similar dynamic online space for regional governments and their partners to connect, demonstrate their commitment to biodiversity goals, and access resources to enhance their landscape and territorial actions for nature. Regional governments are best positioned to work at the larger scale of landscapes and to implement solutions that span from urban to rural areas, for example, to achieve resilient water catchments and sustainable food systems. 

This regional approach is also emphasized by the view of the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that successful transformations towards sustainability require governance approaches that are integrative, inclusive, informed and adaptive. To this end, RegionsWithNature will serve regional governments from around the world, such as provinces, states, prefectures and larger territories to promote nature-positive development at the landscape scale and across urban-rural linkages. 

RegionsWithNature is recognized by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as the platform to report on and track progress of the commitments from subnational governments that contribute to the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

On the RegionsWithNature action platform, that will be developed on the site, subnational governments are able to report how they deal with, for example, a water crisis, extreme weather events, food security by working with, and restoring nature and biodiversity in diverse urban and rural landscapes during this very important UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

As a partnership initiative, we’ve managed to grow with the support from our partners and regions.

“We need to act now, and we need to act together. We know that cities and regions of all shapes and sizes around the world are already pioneering solutions and implementing transformative projects with, and for, nature. These subnational governments are ahead in connecting the climate and nature crises, food security, health and wellbeing. ICLEI, together with our many partners, is delighted to bring a shared implementation platform to all these levels of subnational governments - states, regions, provinces and prefectures - to inspire each other with new ambition, commit their localized aspirations and capture their actions for others to learn from.” “With bold, actionable and implementable steps, together our cities and regions are perfectly placed to bring the change humanity needs right now to restore its relationship with nature. Both CitiesWithnature and now RegionsWithNature are there to support and serve them every step of the way.”

~ Kobie Brand, Deputy Director General of ICLEI.

“RegionsWithNature is a necessary platform demonstrating the effectiveness of multilevel governance, and we need to scale up finance for territorial action. Its contributors are the pilots – the leaders for enabling subnational governments to manage territory beyond municipal borders. Collaboration is the key.”

Oliver Hillel, SCBD Programme Officer

“[The Yucatan Governor, Mauricio Vila] is the champion of RegionsWithNature. Through RegionsWithNature we motivate and share experiences to raise ambition for subnational governments to be at the forefront for biodiversity to make the difference.”

Sayda Rodriguez, Secretary of Urban Development and Environment of Mexico’s State of Yucatan

“The RegionsWithNature platform is made by you and it is for you, to get to the CBD COP and put solutions into practice.” Regions4 is developing a case study database – which will be hosted on the RegionsWithNature website – to use as “a tool to breach the gap between knowledge, reporting, science and implementation for subnational governments to translate and scale up actions on the ground.”

Renata Gomez, Regions4 Sustainable Development’s Biodiversity Programme Manager

Current RegionsWithNature members:

  • The Government of Yucatan
  • The Aichi Prefecture
  • The Lombardy Region
  • The Government of Quebec
  • The Government of Scotland
  • The Government of São Paulo
  • The Government of Pernambuco
  • Goa State
  • The Western Cape Province
  • Community of Madrid
  • The Government of Catalonia

Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) advanced a global plan at the fourth Open Ended Working Group (OEWG-4) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya from 21-26 June to bend the curve on biodiversity loss. This Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is expected to be adopted at the CBD COP 15 in Montreal, Canada – under the Chinese presidency – in December 2022. 

The CBD is the only Rio Convention that has a systematic and comprehensive mechanism for multilevel governance that provides a framework for local and subnational governments to support Parties in reaching global and national biodiversity targets.

What was achieved at OEWG-4

Delegates worked on the text from the OEWG-3 meetings in Geneva in March, and rationalized parts of it, achieved consensus on several targets, and proposed diverse options for large parts of the framework. Parties set out their ambitions with respect to the goals of the framework, and refined the essential targets related to conservation, sustainable use, and benefit-sharing. They worked to develop a plan for resource mobilization and other means of implementation and highlighted the contribution of nature to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Parties also charted the pathway for an agreement on the sharing of benefits from Digital Sequencing Information on genetic resources. Their discussions further strengthened the role of Indigenous peoples, local communities, women, youth, and other stakeholders and to ensure that all voices will be heard, and no one will be left behind. 

Although discussions covered the entire framework text – which includes four goals and 23 proposed targets – four important goals of the framework (A through D) were a subject of intense discussion: 

Goal A – protecting biodiversity at all levels and preventing extinctions; 

Goal B – ensuring that biodiversity can meet people’s needs and support their human rights;

Goal C – benefits from the use of biodiversity and genetic resources are shared with equity and the traditional knowledge and rights of Indigenous and Local Communities are respected; and 

Goal D – adequate level of the means of implementation are enabled, including financial resources, capacity building and other supports to action.

I want to thank the Parties for their hard work, their commitment to consensus, and honest engagement in these negotiations. These efforts are considerable and have produced a text that, with additional work, will be the basis for reaching the 2050 vision of the Convention: a life in harmony with nature. I call upon the Parties, in the next months, to vigorously engage with the text, to listen to each other and seek consensus, and to prepare the final text for adoption at COP 15.

~ Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Tweet

The Local and Subnational Major Group

The Local and Subnational Major Group was represented in-person by ICLEI with Ingrid Coetzee heading the delegation, and the Advisory Committee on Subnational Governments for Biodiversity, represented by a delegation from Quebec Province comprising Assistant Deputy Minister Jacob, Martin Malus – head of the delegation – Jean Lemire, and Rachel Levesque. Similar to previous CBD post-2020 meetings, ICLEI coordinated the delegation.

While there are still important elements that require additional work and consultation with the capital to further streamline texts, the Nairobi negotiations represented a good outcome for the local and subnational major group. These outcomes include:

  • similar to previous meetings, the meeting was marked by an increase in Parties (Nepal, Iran and the Philippines) calling for the inclusion of local and subnational governments in the GBF;
  • some Parties commended the Local and Subnational Major Group on how well coordinated and strategic their interventions were;
  • the Local and Subnational Major Group was given the opportunity to make two interventions in the contact groups – both interventions for text amendments to section B.bis (on [Principles and] [Approaches] [Guidance] for the implementation of the Framework) were supported by the Parties. References to local and subnational governments are also found in section B. Purpose, section D. Theory of Change, and section 1. Enabling Conditions; and
  • the group was invited to deliver joint statements in the opening and closing plenaries.

Local and subnational governments at COP 15 and 7th Cities Summit

Despite the important contributions of OEWG-4, a considerable amount of work will be required to advance the text for final high-level consideration by the Parties at COP 15. The OEWG-4 Meeting agreed to develop a path forward that includes the engagement of all regions preparing for talks involving all Parties immediately before the second part COP 15. These gatherings – culminating in OEWG-5 – would prepare a text for final negotiation by Ministers and their delegations at the second part of COP 15.

The relocation and new date for COP 15 Part 2 was announced during the opening plenary, following consultations between the Bureau, the Government of China as COP President, the Secretariat and the Government of Canada as host of the Secretariat. COP 15 Part 2 will be held in Montreal, Canada at the seat of the Secretariat, from 5 to 17 December 2022. China, as COP 15 President, will continue to preside over the Meetings, with the logo and the theme of COP 15 maintained. China will also convene the High-Level Segment and lead the facilitation of negotiations. 

COP 15 and the 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments will be a global milestone to welcome a stronger contribution of local and subnational governments in the post-2020 GBF. It will be a strategic and historic moment for the local and subnational major group, which is calling for CBD Parties to adopt a renewed decision on engagement with subnational governments, cities and other local authorities to enhance implementation of the post-2020 GBF, and its Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2021-2030). No information or decision has been communicated around the status of official parallel events, including the 7th Cities Summit, but announcements will follow shortly based on discussions between the SCBD and the Canadian government.

On 13 July 2022, RegionsWithNature hosted its first webinar to gather inputs from subnational governments around the world to develop and refine the platform in alignment with their needs. The webinar also offered an opportunity for the governments of Scotland, Quebec and Yucatan to showcase their policies and actions for nature, particularly on ecological infrastructure, biodiversity management and restoration. 

The enthusiasm among regional governments and partners was evident in their endorsements of the platform. Most notably, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) reaffirmed its official support to RegionsWithNature, as a groundbreaking initiative that has matured into a one-stop shop for capacity building for the next 10 years to create an implementation mechanism for actions for nature. 

We warmly welcome GoLS and the Aichi Prefecture joining RegionsWithNature and recognize Governor Ohmura’s leadership in building a lasting legacy from the landmark COP10 in Nagoya in 2010 and creating ecological networks for taking effective and urgent actions to halt the loss of biodiversity.

Our ICLEI office in Japan, through Executive Director, Togo Uchida, is ready to continue advising GoLS on their journey in RegionsWithNature, as we share the mission, scope and objectives in restoring our natural environment for a systemic transformation to more sustainable, inclusive and green societies.

~ Kobie Brand, Deputy Director General of ICLEI. Tweet

 

 

Oliver Hillel, SCBD Programme Officer, stated that “RegionsWithNature is a necessary platform demonstrating the effectiveness of multilevel governance, and we need to scale up finance for territorial action. Its contributors are the pilots – the leaders for enabling subnational governments to manage territory beyond municipal borders. Collaboration is the key.”

Sayda Rodriguez, Secretary of Urban Development and Environment of Mexico’s State of Yucatan, noted that the Yucatan Governor, Mauricio Vila, “is the champion of RegionsWithNature.” She added that “through RegionsWithNature we motivate and share experiences to raise ambition for subnational governments to be at the forefront for biodiversity to make the difference.”

RegionsWithNature has been working closely with its partner Regions4 Sustainable Development. Renata Gomez, Regions4’s Biodiversity Programme Manager, explained to other partners and governments that “the RegionsWithNature platform is made by you and it is for you, to get to the CBD COP and put solutions into practice.” She highlighted that the case study database Regions4 is developing – which will be hosted on the RegionsWithNature website – can be used as “a tool to breach the gap between knowledge, reporting, science and implementation for subnational governments to translate and scale up actions on the ground.”

During the webinar, the governments of Catalonia and Quebec both emphasized the importance of RegionsWithNature in progressing the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework goals – particularly by providing a voice for regional governments and serving as an instrument for taking action for nature. Similarly, the Aichi Prefecture expressed their support for RegionsWithNature to play a role in building on the 2010 Plan of Action, as well as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Finally, the Region of Lombardy expressed their interest in joining RegionsWithNature, and also announced that they are already a signatory to the Edinburgh Declaration.

A call for action ahead of COP 15: 

UN Biodiversity’s COP15 and the 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments provides an opportunity to mobilize more subnational leaders and governments to sign up to RegionsWithNature. Simultaneously, it is crucial for subnational governments to show their commitment and scale it up when it comes to implementation for RegionsWithNature to become an implementation mechanism for actions for nature.

“We cannot wait for actions, we know that cities and regions, of all shapes and sizes around the world – like-minded – are pioneering solutions and are ahead in connecting the climate and nature crisis, health and the pandemic, connecting the dots for what a sustainable future is, for all of us,” Kobie Brand,  Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability said.

She added that “we need the same platform, for the different levels of subnational governments – taking hands with states, regions, and prefectures that join to learn, inspire each other, commit their actions, and report how they deal with for example water crises, and land management crises, as well as with the urban-rural linkage when it comes to food security, restoring nature and biodiversity in this very important UN Decade on Restoration.”

Following this statement, Kobie expressed a call for action for each regional government or partner to recruit at least one region to join RegionsWithNature and make voluntary commitments to take action for biodiversity before COP15.

For more information on the nature policies by regional governments, visit the RegionsWithNature Tools & Resources page

Stefania Romano’s – CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature Global Coordinator responsible for Recruitment & Advocacy – presentation is here and the recording of the webinar can be found here. Below the presentations of Carolina Duarte (Yucatan), Peter Hutchinson (Scotland), and Caroline Daguet (Quebec), are available.

2022-07-13_PPT_Quebec_for_RegionsWithNature_v1

Regions with Nature – 13 July 2022 – Peter Hutchinson, NatureScot Peatland Action (A3778000)

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