Biodiversity hotspots rethought in the light of the pandemic: local government action needs to aim reconciling the preservation of spaces and species, the well-being of populations and economic development.

The first of the four webinars series was co-chaired by Ingrid Coetzee, Director of Biodiversity, Nature and Health at ICLEI, and Meriem Bouamrane, environmental economist and Head of the Ecology and Biodiversity Section of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, UNESCO. It brought together sixty participants around a dozen of speakers:

  • researchers such as Thomas Brooks, Chief Scientist of the IUCN, Richard Weller of the University of Pennsylvania,
  • representatives of local authorities such as Julia Wood of the City of Cape Town (South Africa), Barbara Camier and Jérémy Delolme of the city of Saint-François in Guadeloupe (France), Yang Bo of the province of Jeju (South Korea),
  • business leaders from industrial sites such as James Spalding, former Director of the Itaipu Dam site for the Paragay
  • international organizations stakeholders such as Jyoti Hosagrahar, Deputy Director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre (video).

The theme of this webinar was the contribution of sub-national governments, cities and other local authorities to the protection, management or restoration of territories of outstanding nature - i.e. all areas subject to protection or so-called Other Effective Area Conservation Measures (OECMs). Three conclusions emerged from the discussions:

  1.  The transformation of our lifestyles caused by Covid 19 pandemic invites us to rethink our relationship with nature and the way we look at these protected areas. They are now seen by sub-national governments as important places for their economic development - especially tourism - and the well-being of their population.
  2. Conversely, human use of these areas, when properly regulated, is an asset for their protection as well as for their species conservation.
  3. Although classification and protection decisions are sometimes taken at the international level with States’ support, the speakers - local elected representatives, researchers and UNESCO representatives - have stressed the need for strong involvement of sub-national governments for the effective implementation and full success of protection measures in the short, medium and long term.
Replay Resources  

Webinar program

Webinar with interpretation


  • 00:00 - Introduction : Cyrille Barnerias (OFB)
  • 02:52 - Introduction : Stéphanie Lux (Chances Conseil)
  • 13:17 - Keynote Speech : Thomas Brooks (IUCN)
  • 35:28 - Video : Jyoti Hosagrahar (UNESCO)
  • 47:48 - Presentation : Meriem Bouamrane (UNESCO)
  • 1:05:54 - Presentation : Richard Weller (Weitzman School of Design)
  • 1:30:52 - Presentation : Jeremy Delolme & Barbara Camier (City of Saint-François, Guadeloupe)
  • 1:51:30 - Presentation : Julia Wood (City of Cape Town)
  • 2:04:46 - Presentation : James Spalding Hellmers (Initiative for the Future of Great Rivers)
  • 2:19:25 - Presentation : Yang Bo Kim (Jeju Island)

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