On 3 September 2021, the opening day of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France, IUCN will for the first time in its history, organise a Summit dedicated to subnational governments: the IUCN Local Action Summit.

The objectives are to:

  • Showcase the range of actions that can be taken by subnational governments and their partners to deliver conservation outcomes at scale;
  • Foster partnerships between IUCN constituents and subnational governments and make the case for investing in nature-based solutions as part of a green recovery; and
  • Exact commitments from subnational governments and their partners to help deliver the Nature 2030 IUCN Programme and, by extension, the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

In alignment with the Edinburgh Process and the pertaining Declaration, the IUCN Local Action Summit will build momentum towards the adoption of a renewed and strengthened ‘Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity’ at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in Kunming China, 11-24 October 2021.

IUCN recognises the critical role of subnational governments in the sustainable development agenda and is committed to partnering with them in pursuit of “a just world that values and conserves nature.” Several IUCN Resolutions (e.g., WCC 2020 Res 067) and the Nature 2030 IUCN Programme provide a clear political mandate for this work. A vote on ‘Governance Motion A’ during the IUCN Members’ Assembly, 8-10 September 2021, will determine whether IUCN’s membership should be expanded to include subnational governments.

This Summit is structured into four parts:

  • The first three parts will address different types of nature, namely, outstanding, ordinary and urban. For each type, a range of conservation strategies, nature-based solutions and partnerships will be examined.
  • The fourth and final part is dedicated to finance and governance, with a special focus on the green recovery.

The Summit will be preceded by four preparatory webinars on 22, 23, 29 and 30 June 2021, with the support of Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework EU Support Project and the French Office for Biodiversity. These webinars will present opportunities for more in-depth discussions on subnational dimensions of nature conservation.


In preparation for COP15

Following the Nagoya COP Decision X/22, the adoption of the action plan of Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for the period 2011-2020, this summit aims to show the importance and quality of action taken by all levels of local and subnational governments to restore and maintain biodiversity.

In 2020, all subnational and local governments worldwide issued the Edinburgh Declaration. This declaration is the result of the Edinburgh Process, which brought together delegates and decision-makers at subnational and local levels around the world. It was initiated by the Scottish Government in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) bodies responsible for the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), the Advisory Committee of Subnational Governments to the CBD, whose actions are monitored by ICLEI and Regions4SD.

Ahead of the COP15 in Kunming from 11-24 October, the Edinburgh Declaration calls for the adoption of a new action plan to enable Subnational Governments, Cities, and Other Local Authorities, with their expertise, to act in conjunction with the public, private and commercial sectors to integrate biodiversity in favour of greater environmental, societal, and economic resilience.

The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015

  • Subnational governments are a relevant level for the implementation of the objectives defined at the Earth Summit (Rio 1992) and set out in the three Framework Conventions – on biological diversity, climate change, and the fight against desertification - through the implementation of Nature-based Solutions.