What is Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform?
Tailored for and built by regional governments, the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform (R4BLP) is a flagship initiative of nrg4SD and is officially endorsed by the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat (CBD). R4BLP began as a pilot project to test the practical application of a learning platform for addressing the significant gap in support and resources available to subnational governments motivated to develop initiatives to conserve biodiversity. Through the pilot project, the feasibility was confirmed and R4BLP graduated to a full-time project at the Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments at COP13. R4BLP is now a global community of 10 proactive regional governments working together to conserve and protect biodiversity, encourage healthy ecosystems, and promote sustainable livelihoods for their citizens. More specifically, the regional governments are working toward subnational implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (SP) and achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (ABTs) by designing and implementing policies and best practices intended to drive progress, promote innovation, and contribute to advancing the global biodiversity agenda.
The R4BLP provides a collaborative environment for cross-jurisdictional exchange, mutual learning, technical capacity building, and it cultivates partnerships among regions from both the north and south. The participating regions share their unique perspective, identify common obstacles, recognize and adopt best practices, are innovative and develop creative solutions, and generally serve as a support system to assist each other in streamlining the phases of design, development and implementation of biodiversity initiatives.
To ensure a comprehensive approach to policy development, the R4BLP also considers biodiversity in the context of other relevant agendas. For example, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially the Sustainable Development Goals 14 – Life Below Water and 15 – Life On Land, respectively, the Paris Climate Agreement, and generally operating in a balanced manner as encouraged by the CBD’s Ecosystem Approach – a strategy adopted by the parties for the integrated management of land, water, and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.
CBD’s Acknowledgement of Subnational Governments
The Parties to the CBD have increasingly recognized the potential and complementary role regions and local authorities play in the implementation of the CBD. This sentiment was captured at the CBD’s COP10 in Nagoya when decision X/22 was reached, which adopted a Plan of Action that supports subnational authorities in achieving the SP and ABTs. The decision also approved the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2011-2020), and established the Advisory Committee of Subnational Governments within the CBD framework.
Through nrg4SD’s ongoing advocacy work on biodiversity and as the Coordinator for the Advisory Committee on Subnational Governments, the lack of resources available to subnational governments versus national governments was undeniable and a reality familiar to the CBD, but beyond their expertise and capacity for engagement. With 15 years of experience supporting subnational governments success in developing innovative strategies and witnessing their ability to advance policies in a relatively quick manner, nrg4SD recognized the missing link for meeting the CBD’s goals was engaging and further empowering subnational governments.
Why are subnational governments important?
Decentralized initiatives contribute to the greater collective effort, helping nations reach their targets while serving as testing grounds to evaluate strategies and implementation techniques. In particular, nrg4SD promotes regional government as the optimal level for policy making because regional governments:
- are familiar with their citizens and territory and know what policies and strategies will most likely succeed;
- have a holistic understanding of their jurisdiction and are able to take a comprehensive ecosystem approach to policy making that ensures the best use of resources;
- are relatively nimble and able to respond to policy needs quickly and with innovative solutions;
- are less susceptible to the crippling effects of political fragmentation; and
- facilitate vertical integration through their direct connection to the national government and to local governments.
Despite the widespread recognition of the critical role subnational actors play in policy making and implementation, and the increasing pressure they face to conserve and protect biodiversity, states and regions have limited resources, capacities, and access to technology, in comparison to national governments. The R4BLP is nrg4SD’s response to address the gap and and empower regional governments to realize their full potential.
Advance the global biodiversity agenda by empowering subnational governments to implement the CBD and ABTs and using their on the ground experience to contribute guidance to the CBD.
R4BLP Outcomes and Activities
In order to promote learning and establish a structure for the interaction among member regions, the R4BLP will host both online and in-person meetings. The assemblies are organized into thematic blocks, defined by the members and consistent with the CBD’s agenda. Each theme employs innovative facilitation techniques designed to encourage collective discussions and maximize learning opportunities. There is also the participation of various subject matter experts throughout the learning cycles to bolster the expertise among the member regions. Additionally, members will:
- develop an index to evaluate, monitor and report progress of each member region toward achieving the ABTs. The index will be aligned with the CBD to inform them of progress and the results will be used to identify policy gaps for areas of focus and to direct capacity building efforts of the R4BLP;
- compile information on various biodiversity topics to submit to the CBD’s calls for information to contribute to the achievement of the ABTs and the advancement and implementation of the SP on behalf of subnational governments, and general advancement of the biodiversity agenda;
- collect and assemble lessons learned, best practices, common challenges, and successful solutions to serve as a reference guide and roadmap for governments in early stages of developing policy to halt biodiversity loss and improve governance;
- memorialize their commitment to collectively contribute to the global biodiversity agenda;
- identify the most significant issues impeding regions from advancing policy to conserve biodiversity and/or achieving policy goals and missing resources that are necessary to overcome the obstacles;
- call to action for supporters, partners, and resources to help address identified shortfalls;
- participate in nrg4SD’s visiting expert program for hands-on learning experiences;
- attend international meetings on behalf of the R4BLP; and
- engage with colleagues from regional governments to promote learning and exchange.
How can my region join the R4BLP?
If your state or region is interested in capitalizing on the untapped expertise of your fellow regional government representatives, while sharing your own experiences, consider joining the R4BLP. No monetary contribution is required to join, but R4BLP members:
- have committed to conserving and protecting biodiversity in their jurisdiction,
- are in various stages of developing and implementing strategies and initiatives,
- actively participate and share their unique perspective,
- listen and collectively identify common obstacles,
- recognize and adopt best practices,
- are innovative and develop creative solutions, and
- serve as a support system to assist each other in streamlining the phases of design, development and implementation of initiatives to address biodiversity loss.
Interested regions can participate in R4BLP as an observer until the annual application phase, which coincides with nrg4SD’s General Assembly. Contact the nrg4SD Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
How to engage and support R4BLP?
To realize all of the R4BLP goals and elevate the capacity building services of R4BLP to the next level, nrg4SD is working to identify supporters and sponsors interested in contributing financial resources and investing in advancing the global biodiversity agenda. The member regions are also eager to learn from and develop partnerships with external experts focused on biodiversity conservation and cross-cutting issues.
Please contact us to explore opportunities for technical exchange and to offer support or contributions to enhance the capacity building capability of the R4BLP.