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Photo by ICLEI Korea Office

2014 Biodiversity Summit spurs integration of biodiversity into all levels of government

The knowledge-packed Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments held in parallel with the CBD COP 12 on 12-14 October in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province concluded today, inspiring greater cooperation among all levels of government and furthering the work on promoting biodiversity for sustainability. Organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with the Government of Gangwon Province, the Summit saw close to 600 participants from 53 countries across all regions. Around 270 local government representatives participated in the Summit, including 40 city and sub-national leaders (governors, mayors, deputy mayors, and commissioners) as well as representatives of national, international and UN organizations, and experts in the field.

The Summit took stock of progress since the previous Cities Biodiversity Summit at the CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad and outlined the latest tools, initiatives and networks, illustrating throughout, the value of bringing nature back into cities. Andre Mader, ICLEI’s seconded staff member to the CBD stated that: “This Summit is a particularly important platform to advance our goals. The context is about as appropriate as we could wish for, with almost all of the national governments of this planet negotiating how to guide policy just next door. So to reiterate the message from the Executive Secretary of the CBD, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias: please challenge yourselves and others at this meeting. Use it as a milestone in the story of your city, subnational government, organization or country, and be inspired and encouraged by the interaction with like-minded individuals.”

The Summit covered a diverse range of topics, bringing together experts in the field and city and subnational government representatives to discuss: bridging the science-policy interface, the creative green economy, biodiversity planning, and implementation of the Aichi Targets, to name but a few. The Summit drew to a close with a Mayors/Governors Roundtable demonstrating the effective leadership of selected cities and subnational government in the field of mainstreaming biodiversity into municipal governance and policy. “It’s time that biodiversity is put front and center on the international stage so that we can stop the mass extinction of species on the global scale. I know in my position as a Mayor, I can make a difference, and so can you,” urged Honourable Mayor Troy Pickard of Joondalup, Australia.

A major outcome of the Summit was the Gangwon / Pyeongchang Resolution for Cities and Subnational Governments, which demonstrates the spirit of cooperation between cities and national governments to jointly safeguard urban biodiversity. This resolution will be submitted on behalf of local and sub-national governments to the CBD and aims to concretize support to the SDG process, specifically on the proposed stand-alone goals of the urban SDG (Goal 11) and on biodiversity conservation (Goal 15). “Through this, the willingness and commitment of the subnational governments around the world will be heard loud and clear at the High Level Segment during COP 12,” emphasized Yeonman Jeong, Vice Minister of Environment for the Republic of Korea.

“The Gangwon/Pyeongchang Resolution is a strong and innovative statement, built on this strong foundation of dialogue, and a united voice from yourselves, that we are proud of, and we fully support the Honourable Governor Moonsoon Choi as he is elected to present the Resolution to the high-level segment of the CBD COP,” said ICLEI President David Cadman as he handed over the final version of the text.

For more information, visit www.biodivercity-summit.org

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