Fields of action

Our contribution to Climate Change

For the past  years, the nrg4SD has raised the voice of subnational governments and represented them in climate fora, mainly the UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties and their Bonn Sessions.  The nrg4SD:

  • Promotes debates among members to agree upon joint positions.
  • Advocates for greater recognition as governmental stakeholders in the conventions and documents adopted.
  • Provides opportunities for members to showcase best practices in side-events and specific platforms.
  • Supports member’s joint proposals. E.g. RegionsAdapt initiative – initial proposal from the governments of Rio de Janeiro and Catalonia.
  • Promotes The Compact of States and Regions, together with The Climate Group, CDP, and R20.

Thanks to this work, today the UNFCCC recognizes the relevance of subnational governments in ensuring the effective implementation of international agreements and decisions.

  • COP16 (2010) recognized for the first time the need to engage local and subnational governments as key governmental stakeholders in the climate process
  • COP19 (2013) addressed the important engagement of subnational authorities in sharing and implementing climate actions (Decision 1/ CP19 par. 5b)
  • COP21 (2015) highlighted the recognition of regional governments, and especially the need to take action on the ground, at the subnational level. The Paris Agreement affirmed the importance of cooperation with cities and subnational governments. As non-Party-stakeholders, subnational governments are referred to as actors to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change effects (§ 134-137). Likewise, it is repeatedly expressed the relevance of promoting capacity-building opportunities at the subnational level (§ 74, items d and g)

Our contribution to the Convention of Biological Diversity roadmap

The Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have increasingly recognized the potential and complementary role of subnational and local governments in the Convention’s implementation. In this regard, it must be highlighted the adoption at the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) -through decision X/22- of a Plan of Action on subnational governments, cities and other local authorities for biodiversity (2011-2020). The Plan of Action included specific support and coordination efforts between the SCBD and subnational governments, cities and other local authorities in achieving the Strategic Plan and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. That Plan of Action established the Advisory Committee of Subnational Governments (AC SNG) -inspired by the already existing Committee of Cities- and integrated in the existing Global Partnership on Cities and Biodiversity that was later renamed as Global Partnership on Local and Subnational Action for Biodiversity.

The nrg4SD is a key supporter of the AC SNG, acting as the voluntary coordinator of the Committee, steering regions’ engagement and contribution to the CBD program of work.

Our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The nrg4SD follows closely the United Nations Sustainable Development processes, especially since the Rio+20 and its follow-up agenda. In particular, nrg4SD contributes as representatives of the Local Authorities Major Group (LAMG), providing inputs and common statements. The nrg4SD made contributions to the Transforming our World outcome document, and throughout the whole process that lead to the adoption of the SDGs. Particularly focusing on follow-up and review, it was fundamental to advocate for the inclusion of the subnational level as a crucial sphere to ensure the implementation on the ground of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Accordingly, the continued involvement of subnational governments will be fundamental during the annual reviews at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF).

The UN Sustainable Development Summit, in New York (September, 2015), approved the ambitious 2030 Agenda, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs envisage a universal, inclusive and people-centred approach, while emphasizing the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental.

Subnational governments have a crucial role in the implementation of the 17 Goals and 169 targets, as they are well positioned to overcome territorial inequalities, create enabling conditions for sustainable and inclusive development, and also integrate efforts between different levels of government. Therefore, states, regions and provinces must remain engaged in making the SDGs implementation a reality.

Current Projects

  • RegionsAdapt: the first global initiative to support and account efforts on adaptation at the regional level. Participant regional governments commit to adopt or review plans on adaptation within two years, as well as to take concrete action on specific areas of work, and to report on the progress of their adaptation initiatives through the risk and adaptation section of the CDP’s states and regions platform. The member governments are organized in self-coordinated thematic working groups to discuss experiences on key relevant topics on the adaptation.


  • Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform: aims at promoting mutual learning and technical exchange on subnational Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans (BSAPs) related to the implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Aichi targets. Launched during the COP 13 and having since garnered official support of the CBD, the platform serves as hub to collect concrete practices to feed into the AC SNG, and thus facilitates technical input to the CBD Parties.


  • Roadmap on the regional implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. After the approval of the SDGs, it is crucial to understand the concrete steps that regional governments can adopt to start the implementation of the SDGs. For example, on modalities to integrate and adapt existing regional plans to include the global goals, or the internal governance structure to bring together multiple departments and ministries for coordinated efforts required by the SDGs cross-cutting nature.


  • Visiting Experts Program: aiming at promoting the exchange of experiences, mutual learning and cooperation among members. In particular, the program enables the visit of an expert of a South member in another North or South member’s territory to learn upon a specific subject (sustainable development, biodiversity, climate change). The objective is to improve the visiting expert’s capacities and competencies in its day to day work and therefore, achieve excellence in environmental governance at regional level.


  • The nrg4SD Call for Projects: aims at promoting cooperation among nrg4SD members in actions and projects on adaptation to climate change, building capacities and partnerships in the context of the RegionsAdapt initiative. The Call funds a broad spectrum of activities, including but not limited to publications, conferences, capacity building programs, technical missions, expeditions, field studies and workshops.

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