Edinburgh Declaration on post-2020 global biodiversity framework

Setting out the aspirations and commitments of the Scottish Government, Edinburgh Process partners, and the wider subnational constituency of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in delivering for nature over the coming decade.


We, subnational governments, cities and local authorities - as participants and contributors to the Edinburgh Process for Subnational and Local Governments on the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and supported by the Secretariat and some Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity - are deeply concerned about the significant implications that the loss of biodiversity and climate change has on our livelihood and communities. The impacts on our environment, infrastructure, economy, health and wellbeing, and our enjoyment of nature are already visible. Indeed, the COVID-19 global pandemic has reminded us how important it is to live in harmony with nature. Healthy biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides are key for human well-being and to build the resilience of our cities and regions, both during and after the pandemic, and it should be central to our recovery.

We are concerned that, as outlined in the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, none of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been fully met; that action by CBD Parties alone is insufficient to put us on a path to the 2050 vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’ or to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and that convergence across multilateral environment agreements (MEA’s) is progressing at too slow a pace.

We acknowledge that the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services concludes that, despite insufficient action, it is not too late for the climate or for biodiversity, but that transformative action is needed at all levels.

We recognise the need for transformative change across terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and across urban development and all productive sectors to ensure enhanced food security, human health and sustainable livelihoods whilst avoiding, mitigating or minimising the negative impact on biodiversity. We also recognise the role that many indigenous peoples and local communities have in the management of their territories, through effective biodiversity mainstreaming across all sectors.

We note the need to develop effective policy, governance and financing solutions at all levels of government and to ensure vertical integration across national, subnational, city and local levels to effect transformative change. These should address both the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, and integrate all dimensions of sustainable development (environmental, economic, cultural and social).

We also note the vital role that indigenous peoples and local communities, women and youth, non-governmental organisations, and wider society, play in decision making and in taking action at subnational, city and local levels, and that there should be a fully collaborative approach to ensure active participation of these groups.

We highlight the key role of the private sector, including the financial sector, and encourage them to catalyse the transformative change needed through full, active and responsible engagement, in support of biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration and sustainable use.   

We emphasise the key role that subnational governments, cities and local authorities already play in protecting and enhancing biodiversity and in delivering actions across planning, implementation, and monitoring.

We welcome the endorsement of the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities, and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2011-2020) under Decision X/22 and recognise the productive role that this has played in the last decade mobilising subnational, city and local authority actions towards implementing the goals of the Convention; and in fostering an increased recognition on the critical role of our constituency in the CBD.

We celebrate the commitments and statements already issued by subnational governments, cities and local authorities including recent declarations of intent[1][2], and in particular the results achieved through the outputs of the 5th and 6th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments – the Quintana Roo Communique on Mainstreaming Local and Subnational Biodiversity (2016) and the Sharm El-Sheikh Communique for Local and Subnational Action for Nature and People (2018).

We acknowledge the need to build upon the existing Plan of Action under Decision X/22, and the advocacy agenda of subnational governments, cities and local authorities over the past decade, and collectively commit to raising our ambition and action in the coming decade.

[1] Aburra Valley – Medellin Declaration of Metropolitan Areas to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (2019)


Edinburgh Process Secretariat - email: enquiries-subnationalworkshop@gov.scot

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