What is the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform?
The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform is a long-term initiative established to support regions in designing and improving their efforts on biodiversity conservation, including Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (BSAP), and other similar mechanisms, in order to raise ambition and ensure nature protection in territories.
Tailored and built by and for regional governments, the initiative aims at promoting mutual learning, technical exchange and peer-review, especially on practices related to the subnational implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Targets.
As a cross-cutting issue, the initiative also takes into consideration biodiversity actions in the context of other UN agendas. For example, on Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, especially the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14 and 15 on Life below Water and Life on Land, respectively, or the Paris Climate Agreement and a nature-based approach.
The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform is an initiative by nrg4SD, encouraged and supported by the CBD Secretariat, being aligned with its work lines and approach to subnational governments.
From May to November 2016, nrg4SD developed a pilot project and prepared the initiative for its official launch during the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit for Local and Subnational Governments in December 2016, at the occasion of the COP 13, in Cancun.
How can my region join this initiative?
The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform is a worldwide community of regional governments that works together to build, improve and implement subnational BSAPs and achieve the Aichi Targets in their territories, through cooperation, partnerships and know-how sharing.
The initiative is open to all regions, provinces and states of the world and no fee is required. The only request for participation is the commitment and willingness of members to contribute, share and learn. Participant regions are expected to actively engage their biodiversity experts in terms of sharing experiences, attending meetings both in person and online, as well as contributing to other regions’ cases.
If you government would like to join the initiative, please contact the nrg4SD nrg4SD Secretariat.
By joining this first learning platform targeted exclusively to regional governments, the participating regions, provinces and states have the opportunity to exchange and collaborate with fellow counterparts, benefiting from existing expertise and best practices. Additionally, participant regions also contribute to:
- Support Parties in the implementation of the Convention at national level, by enhancing efforts on biodiversity conservation at the subnational level;
- Raise the ambition of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity up to 2020, boosting the achievement of the Aichi Targets in territories;
- The establishment of long-term partnerships and cooperation between participating regional governments;
- Engage in a community of cooperation and best practices, where you can learn and support peers in their specific and common challenges;
- The improvement of subnational BSAPs and specific actions, for example on topics as management and expansion of protected areas, ecological footprint and more;
- A compilation of best practices and case studies on successful biodiversity conservation actions to be disseminated and potentially replicated by other regional governments of the world.
Advisory Committee & Role of Subnational Governments
Subnational governments 1, as in reference to states, regions and provinces, are the intermediary level between cities and national governments. Keeping in mind the different constitutional arrangements in each country, subnational governments have clear and unique competences, especially when it comes to territorial planning and development. Particularly in terms of biodiversity conservation, this level of government is fundamental for defining, implementing and monitoring environmental policies, for example on the management of water resources, land use, protected areas, surveillance and others.
With all the above in mind, the Parties to the CBD adopted Decision X/22, at COP 10, in Nagoya 2010, recognizing the need and importance of supporting the development of BSAPs and other efforts to protect biodiversity at the subnational level. 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.
nrg4SD as a supporting partner to this Committee promotes the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform as an enabling technical platform to help regions achieve the CBD goals.
1 Subnational governments: the first immediate level of government below the national and above the local. It involves regional governments such as states, provinces, domains, territories, länder, cantons, autonomous communities, oblasts, etc., depending on the country. Subnational governments are distinct from ‘local governments’, which include all levels of government below the subnational.
The launch of the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform comes after a successful pilot experience, which counted with the active participation of 5 regions engaged in biodiversity conservation, namely Catalonia (Spain), Gossas (Senegal), Goias and São Paulo (Brazil), and Quebec (Canada). The pilot ran from May to November 2016, and allowed participants to gain knowledge about innovative actions and challenges faced by other governments at the same level.
Additionally, the pilot project intended to test the extension of the learning that could be achieved with the initiative, taking into consideration participants with different languages, capacities and cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, the pilot explored innovative methodologies and mechanisms to support information sharing and knowledge exchange among members, showing great results through facilitation practices that promoted active listening and interactive dialogue.
The initial intention was to consider regions either as provider of knowledge or recipient of the same. Nevertheless, during the process, it was realized that all participants had something to learn from the other.
In addition to virtual meetings held throughout the year, the project held two in person meetings, the first in Barcelona in June 2016, and the other one in Sao Paulo in October 2016 – both hosted by the respective regions participating in the project. The pilot focused on the state-of-art of the regions’ BSAPs or similar institutional mechanisms for biodiversity conservation. The pilot project witnessed a pleasant development of respectful connection among regions, who entrusted partners with sensitive challenges and engaged joint solving of each other’s problems.
In the short period of the pilot, members explored the strengths and challenges of their plans and actions. This allowed to match best practices and experiences facing common barriers faced elsewhere. Based on this exercise, regions had an interesting added-value for participating in the project, by receiving support in the design, implementation and review of BSAPs, as well as by cooperating for technical transfer and expertise sharing.
In order to enable the exchanges, the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform combines both online and face-to-face meetings. Considering that learning can be a very difficult task, especially in a multicultural scenario, new facilitation techniques are explored in this platform, promoting sensitive dialogue and exchange.
While online meetings will be used for mostly institutional arrangements and strategic planning of the initiative, in person meetings will be mostly focused on in-depth learning and the establishment of connections among participants.
To promote deep learning and exchange, nrg4SD invested in collaborative and participatory facilitation methods during the face-to-face meetings. The facilitation process is also a way to build conversations in complex scenarios, making sure that different opinions and contributions are heard, and to access collective capacities to face both common and specific challenges regarding the implementation of BSAPs.
The partners of the pilot project benefited from techniques such as Graphic Recording, Circle, Case Clinics, Lego Serious Play, Art of Hosting techniques and others.
Principles for the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform
The experience served also to define the principles for the long-term Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform. They are:
- Inclusiveness and diversity – The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform is open to all regions, despite the stage of the development of their BSAPs.
- Multilateral exchanges – The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform breaks the paradigm that only North hemisphere regions have technical knowledge to offer. The platform values the contributions of both North and South Hemisphere regions and creates learning spaces for transversal and multilateral exchange.
- Collaborative and participatory – The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform stimulates regions to think and work collectively over specific obstacles and challenges.
- Actions on the ground – The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform considers the learning trajectories of each region to support the elaboration and implementation of realistic plans and concrete actions.
Next steps & outcomes
After the launch of the platform during COP 13, the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform will implement a calendar of activities and services that includes:
– Online meetings – focused on best practices, learning experiences and expertise exchange;
– Working Groups / Case Clinics – focused on concrete needs and specific challenges;
– Website with data compilation and online forums;
– In person meetings;
– Publication with best-practices for COP14;
Are you a potential technical partner? Get in contact to support us.
The initiative envisages multiple services and activities to promote dialogue and exchanges around relevant themes for the conservation of biodiversity in territories.
Expert organizations interested in supporting capacity-building and technical inputs in the framework of the learning platform, are welcome to contact nrg4SD Secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a sponsor? We welcome your contribution.
The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform is a unique project that aims at providing effective learning opportunities for regional governments. To accomplish our ambitious goals and keep investing on innovative methodologies, as well as to have a consistent structure for regions to access and exchange information, financial support is required.
Consult nrg4SD Secretariat key opportunities for sponsoring our initiative. Please contact: email@example.com