The initiative is the result of a pilot project implemented in the last six months
The Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development – nrg4SD – launched on December 12th, during the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments at COP13, the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform – the first long-term initiative to support states, regions and provinces to design and improve their efforts on biodiversity conservation through mutual learning, technical exchange and peer-review of BSAPs and other similar mechanisms. The launch confirmed the adhesion of Catalonia (Spain), Gossas (Senegal), Goias and Sao Paulo (Brazil), Quebec (Canada), Lombardy (Italy), Wales (United Kindgdom) and Palawan (Philippines).
Tailored and built by and for regional governments, the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform 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. In terms of biodiversity conservation, regions are fundamental for defining, implementing and monitoring environmental policies, for example on the management of water resources, land use, protected areas, surveillance and others.
The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform was created by nrg4SD, encouraged and supported by the CBD Secretariat, being aligned with its work lines and approach to subnational governments. It is also inserted in the context of the Advisory Committee of Subnational Government. In this regard, it is intrinsically connected with the initiative launched by the Aichi Prefecture, Leading Subnational Government towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which is also endorsed by nrg4SD. The Learning Platform provides the space for these governments to pursue technical exchange and to disseminate their innovative and leading practices.
“The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform embodies the spirit of multilateral exchanges, an openes to a long life learning, collaborative and participatory approach. This is why we have joined the platform. Regions have good things to share and many things to learn on biodiversity”, Claudia Maria Terzi – Minister for Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development Region Lombardy, Italy, member of the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform.
The launch of the initiative is the result of a pilot project with five nrg4SD members engaged in biodiversity conservation: Catalonia (Spain), Gossas (Senegal), Goias and Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Quebec (Canada).
The pilot project ran from May to November 2016 and focused on the state-of-art of the regions’ BSAPs or similar institutional mechanisms for biodiversity conservation. The idea was not only to promote significant exchange of information, but also to shape the best format of the platform based on concrete needs, interests and the specificities of each territory.
For that, nrg4SD has organised two in person meetings, the first in Barcelona in June 2016, and the other one in Sao Paulo in October 2016. The pilot project counted also with collaborative and participatory facilitation methods to ensure dialogue and learning among regions. Innovative techniques favored the sharing of good practices and the identification of the main obstacles faced by regions regarding the implementation of BSAPs.
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.
The Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform is open to all regions, provinces and states of the world and no fee is required. In 2017 the initiative envisages a calendar of activities that includes: online and in person meetings, a virtual data base for consultation, online forums and a publication of best-practices. As an ambitious and innovative project, the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform is also open to technical partnerships and sponsors interested in investing on cooperation on biodiversity conservation at the subnational level.