Learning Platform inaugurates activities with formal endorsement of the CBD

The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform (R4BLP) is nrg4SD’s newest flagship initiative, which was launched in December 2016 at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Cancun, Mexico after a 7-month pilot project.R4B_box1

The R4BLP is a global community comprised of 10 proactive regional governments (see below) working to preserve 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), including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

To achieve these objectives, leading regional governments are adopting Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (BSAP). The R4BLP creates a collaborative environment for cross-jurisdictional exchange, mutual learning, technical capacity building, and 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 in streamlining the phases of design, development and implementation of their BSAPs.

R4B_box2The Parties to the CBD have increasingly recognized the potential and complementary role regions and local authorities play in the implementation of the CBD. It is also widely acknowledged that decentralized efforts contribute to the greater collective effort, helping nations reach their targets while serving as testing grounds to evaluate strategies and implementation techniques. This sentiment was captured at COP 10 in Nagoya when decision X/22 was reached, which adopted a Plan of Action that supports subnational authorities in achieving the SP and Aichi Biodiversity Targets. 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, which nrg4SD voluntarily coordinates. In a recent decision that reinforced their stance on the importance of subnational action, the CBD officially endorsed the R4BLP and pledged to be actively engaged in its activities.  This connection with the CDB is significant and helps ensure the regions develop their BSAP’s in harmony with overarching initiatives.

The unique role of regions in biodiversity conservation

The R4BLP is tailored to the subnational level of government and was born out of the idea that regional governments are uniquely positioned to address cross-cutting issues such as climate change and biodiversity. This level of government is relatively nimble and able to ensure vertical integration during their initiatives, establishing them as a critical link in policy development. Subnational governments develop and implement laws, policies, strategies, standards, programs, and fiscal mechanisms in areas that directly influence the condition and preservation of biodiversity in their jurisdictions, they are familiar with the nuances and specific features of their territory, and they are in tune with their citizens. This level of familiarity provides subnational governments intel as to what policies and strategies are likely to be successful. The importance of this role is increasingly recognized and initiatives such as R4BLP are providing much needed resources and a voice to regional governments.

The 2017 agenda for the R4BLP envisions a series of webinars for members to showcase successful strategies, as well as opportunities for regions to present real-world challenges and seek outside perspectives from their counterpart’s and benefit from their first-hand knowledge and expertise. The first webinar of 2017 took place on March 14th on the topic of agriculture and how it relates to biodiversity. The Secretariat of the CBD was featured as a special guest and the CBD secretariat used the webinar as an opportunity to reiterate their support for the R4BLP initiative and offer ideas for continued collaboration. The group also anticipates in-person meetings, including one during the nrg4SD General Assembly in October and an event dedicated to the theme of biodiversity to be held in Lombardy, Italy (tentatively scheduled for November).

In order for the platform to realize its full potential, to host in-person events, and to support the development of educational materials we are seeking partners to contribute financial support and technical expertise. Please contact us at regions4biodiveristy@nrg4sd.org or visit the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform homepage to learn more.

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