Cities and subnational governments call for greater mobilization on biodiversity

From 9 to 11 December, 700 delegates from over 70 countries gathered in Cancun, Mexico for the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments, where they focused on ways to mainstream biodiversity as part of development planning.

Co-organized by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability in partnership with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, SEMARNAT, CONABIO and ANAAE, the summit marked a decade of cooperation between nations and local and subnational governments on biodiversity and nature-based solutions. It was also the largest such event held to date.

The key outcome of the summit was the Quintana Roo Communiqué on Mainstreaming Local and Subnational Biodiversity Action, which was submitted for consideration to nations that have signed onto the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The communiqué highlights priority focus areas that will enable local and subnational governments to contribute to global biodiversity targets, known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. It specifically calls on nations and partners to:

  • Increase and unlock collaboration and enabling frameworks for and by local and subnational governments and their networks
  • Accelerate their efforts to build capacity and transfer scientific knowledge transfer through technical and financial support to local and subnational governments,
  • Strengthen communication and information exchange and engagement between the scientific community, local and subnational governments and citizens.
  • Ensure the contribution of science and research is based on, and tailored to, subnational and local needs and priorities.

The summit provides an important platform for engaging local and subnational governments in the global biodiversity process, which is becoming increasingly urgent “because we are losing biodiversity at rates faster than ever before,” Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico reminded participants.

During a rich variety of plenary, breakaway and roundtable sessions, delegates discussed issues such as the role of local and subnational governments in the new global development agenda and the opportunities to finance local biodiversity initiatives.


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The summit was also a moment to announce and promote the following biodiversity-related initiatives:

  • Global Community for Local & Regional Action for Nature
  • Agreement for a Sustainable Yucatán Península by Yucatán Governors & The Nature Conservancy
  • Nature for All by IUCN
  • Call for francophone cities to take action for biodiversity and join Paris and Montreal in sharing good practices
  • Group of Leading Subnational Governments toward achieving Aichi Biodiversity Targets (GoLS to Aichi Targets)
  • Biodiversity Learning Platform for Subnational Governments by nrg4SD
  • New Financial Model of Municipal Systems of Integrated Waste Management with a Sustainability Approach in Mexico
  • Integrated Subnational Action for Biodiversity (INTERACT-Bio)
  • FoodCity Network by ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability & RUAF
  • Wetland City Accreditation of the Ramsar Convention by Ramsar & WWF
  • ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability and World Urban Parks (WUP) Partnership
  • Thrive - A mobile app to re-connect people with nature by Swedbio, SRC & ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability

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