Director, ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center
Regional Director, ICLEI Africa Secretariat
I’ve been present in many climate COPs and biodiversity COPs before, and ICLEI is one of the few subnational government networks that is active in both, providing high-profile platforms to elevate the priorities of cities and regions. We’ve been looking forward to the moment when these two conventions would find each other in a deeper dialogue with one another. And here we are.
No matter how much we cut our GHG emissions, if we don’t work with nature, in a way that restores and enhances the ecosystems on which we all depend, even the largest cuts are not going to secure humanity’s future or life as we know it today.
Cities and regions have a tremendous opportunity to step up and take the lead in reversing the habitat loss that contributes to increased carbon emissions. It’s been estimated that nature-based solutions can address up to one-third of the GHG emissions happening right now.
In many parts of the global south, we have an infrastructure surge happening. The scale of this is unprecedented, with some cities doubling in size in under a decade. But this is also an opportunity – if cities and regions are funded and capacitated to make smart choices that take nature and the services it provides into account, we can address climate change in a real way across the globe. This climate COP and the biodiversity COP in October 2020 are our moment to solidify the political will to embrace these solutions.