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The Edinburgh Process and Edinburgh Declaration

See also Scottish Government report, March 2021 Post-2020 global biodiversity framework - Edinburgh Process

The Edinburgh Process

On behalf of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Scottish Government has led a global partnership in the Edinburgh Process to consult sub-national governments including regional, city and local authorities on their role in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and targets.  The Edinburgh Process seeks to amplify the voices of the subnational constituency in the development of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and ensure inclusion of all levels of government in the planning, reporting and implementation phases.  It features prominently in the Scottish biodiversity strategy post-2020: statement of intent.

The Edinburgh Process commenced in spring 2020 through information sessions, thematic webinars and online consultations.  Recordings of events are available online, including Recording of the Edinburgh Process CBD Parties Webinar held on the 23rd Sept 2020, which included an opening address by Roseanna Cunningham MSP Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

The Edinburgh Declaration

A key output from the Edinburgh process was the Edinburgh Declaration.  The Declaration calls on the Parties to the CBD to recognise the vital role of sub-national governments, cities and local authorities in delivering for biodiversity and implementing actions to meet the goals and targets.  It demonstrates the commitment of sub-national authorities across the world to work with parties to the CBD to deliver for nature over the next decade while recognising that ‘In order to achieve truly transformational change for nature, all levels of government and society must work more effectively together over the next decade’.

The Edinburgh Declaration and the Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, Cities, and Other Local Authorities for Biodiversity (2011-2020) are part of the formal submission to CoP15.  The Scottish Government maintains a list of all signatories to, and supporters of, the Declaration.

Read more: The Edinburgh Process for subnational and local governments on the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The Edinburgh Process in the run up to CoP15

Actions continue to ensure that the Edinburgh Declaration is integrated into the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.  Advocacy for the Edinburgh Declaration will continue until the conclusion of CoP15 in April 2022.  The zero draft of the Global Biodiversity Framework published on 17 August 2021 includes the ‘active involvement of subnational governments, cities and other local authorities and a recognition of their competence and specific roles for the implementation of the Framework’ under ‘enabling conditions’.

ICLEI provides the focal point for the local and subnational government constituency on behalf of the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments, a joint global policy advocacy initiative of the major international networks of local governments, to the UN in the area of biodiversity, under the CBD.  ICLEI was appointed to represent all local and sub-national governments on the Informal Advisory Group on the Mainstreaming of Biodiversity, and maintains a Local & Subnational Government engagement platform for sharing information on preparing the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Global Task Force noted (August 2021) there remains a very low level of regional appropriation of the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework, and there are significant gaps in signatories to the Edinburgh Declaration.  Around one third of signatories are European where it has resonated well and has attracted high-level policy interest, such as from the EU Committee of the Regions, and where there has been unanimous support for recognising Cities and Regions in EU Biodiversity Strategy.

The 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments

The 7th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments is to be held in parallel to CoP 15.  The Subsidiary Body on Implementation will present a number of key recommendations to CoP15.

The Edinburgh Declaration and ‘whole of Scotland’ approach to biodiversity

The ‘Road to COP15’ event series is a partnership between Scottish Government, NatureScot, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and RSPB Scotland to explore the transformation that is required in Scotland across all sectors of our economy and society.

A ‘whole of Scotland’ approach is needed as we explore the transformation required to halt the loss of biodiversity, and will be instrumental in the development of Scotland’s post-2020 biodiversity strategy.

We are looking to showcase work undertaken on nature and biodiversity in the run-up to CoP15 in ways that everyone can get involved.  A timeline of key events across Scottish Government, partners and stakeholders to promote and advocate for nature can be seen here: Countdown to CoP15 . To add your event to this timeline, please contact biodiversity@nature.scot

The webinar seen below was held on 24 June 2021 which showcased a diverse range of actions taken in Scotland, highlighting why it is important for Scotland to engage at each level, be it subnational, local authority, community or NGO.

The Edinburgh Declaration and whole of Scotland approach to biodiversity webinar

The webinar (held on 24th June 2021) includes presentations explaining the importance of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework for and throughout government. The diverse range of talks highlights why it is important for Scotland to engage at each level, be it subnational, local authority, community or NGO.

Webinar programme

  • Introduction to webinar (Chair: Cate Turton, Deputy Director of Natural Resources Division, Scottish Government)  – Background to post-2020 global biodiversity framework and relevance to Scottish Government policy landscape.
  • Introduction Edinburgh Declaration and Subnational Plan of Action and speakers (Moderator: Lisa McCann, Head of Biodiversity Unit, Scottish Government).
  • Panel Presentations: Examples of vertical integration and the benefits that brings to Scotland and global working.
  • The links between national and local government levels and inclusivity - Francesca Osowska, Chief Executive, NatureScot.
  • The benefits of acting both locally and internationally - Leonie Alexander, Urban Biodiversity Project Officer RBGE - scientific, cultural, community, health and wellbeing and how this promotes inclusivity.
  • Local Government actions for biodiversity - Julie Dewar, Biodiversity Officer, Edinburgh City Council – Biodiversity action from a local authority point of view.
  • The non-government perspective - Paul Walton, SE LINK - Showcasing examples of inclusivity.
  • The Edinburgh Process and Scottish Biodiversity Strategy - Matthew Bird, Biodiversity Team Leader Scottish Government – Edinburgh Process in the context of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, and wider aspects of Marine/Climate/Environment policy.
  • International Perspective - Renata Gomez, Regions4 Sustainable Development - International aspects of the Edinburgh Process.