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Regions and cities at COP15: taking action for biodiversity  

​One million of the estimated eight million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction and around 80 percent of the European continent’s habitats are in “poor” shape. EU local and regional authorities stand ready to take action to put biodiversity on a path to recovery for the benefit of the planet and citizens. As part of the delegation of the European Union and as partner of the AC SNG (Advisory Committee on Subnational Governments and Biodiversity) constituency to the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, t he European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will participate at the 15 th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal to defend a formal recognition of cities and regions in protecting and restoring biodiversity.

Building on its endorsement and in strong advocacy efforts, the European Committee of the Regions stresses that a formal recognition of the key role of subnational governments, cities and local authorities for biodiversity is still lacking in both the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The CoR demands therefore the formal inclusion of subnational governments in the Strategy and in the broader Edinburgh Declaration, a document materialising the final steps of the "Edinburgh process"– an online, global engagement and consultation for subnational, regional and local stakeholders – with the aim of increasing the weight of subnational and local authorities, including cities, in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF).

In this perspective, ensuring the adoption by CBD COP15 of a Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity under the Convention on Biological Diversity (2021-2030) is amongst the main targets of the Committee.

Sub-national governments, as with a point of contact between local communities, civil society and the private sector, are particularly well positioned to address ecosystem restoration and protection in specific local and regional contexts. Regions and cities therefore advocate for establishing a multi-stakeholder platform that ensures representation of sub-national governments, cities and local authorities to support the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and call on the EU to supply sufficient resources, technical assistance, funding opportunities, capacity development and guidance to local and regional authorities in order to implement nature conservation and restoration measures, urban greening plans, as well as to ensure links with climate mitigation and adaptation activities.

The CoR delegation will take part in the 7th Summit for Subnational Governments & Cities scheduled on 11-12 December, and will intervene in the following sessions:

Monday, 12 December – 7th Summit for Subnational Governments:

  • 8.30-11.00 UCT-5 (Montréal time): " The importance of mainstreaming and how subnational and local governments can be champions within the Convention ". An interactive session aimed at showcasing examples of successful partnerships to enhance GBF implementation, focusing on the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. It will also identify the current gaps in local and sub-national governments’ collaborations and how we could strengthen the cooperation. This session will also foster engagement in mainstreaming biodiversity with the climate-finance-pollution-health-food nexus, and address how local and subnational governments can be key players in bridging the gaps. CoR member taking part: Roby Biwer , Member of Bettembourg Municipal Council and CoR rapporteur on Biodiverse cities and regions beyond 2020 at the UN CBD COP 15 and in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 . The programme can be found here.

  • 17.00-18.00 UCT-5 (Montréal time): " Subnational and local contributions to the GBF". The Minister of Environment of Québec, Benoit Charette, and Mayor of Montréal Valérie Plante will open this session. This session will be in a 'plenary format' where sub-national and city leaders can make their announcements and opportunity is given for a few short interventions from the floor. CoR member taking part: Frida Nilsson, Member of the Local Assembly of the Lidköping Municipality and CoR rapporteur on "Local and regional authorities accelerating the implementation of the EU Pollinators Initiative".

The CoR delegation to COP15:

Background information: ​​

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