California Stakeholders Weigh In on Global Biodiversity Policy

In December 2020, California became an observer to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This was the culmination of a year long campaign that I spearheaded.

The campaign was championed by California state Assemblymember Laura Friedman and a coalition of over 30 environmental nonprofits and leaders from all across California. Markedly, the coalition includes organizations working for change at every level, from local communities to a global reach.

This is an important turning point in global nature policy as the United States is not party to the CBD. California is stepping in to fill this void as the first US subnational government to take on the mantle of global biodiversity leadership. The lead state agency communicating with the CBD is the California Natural Resources Agency, under the guidance of Secretary Wade Crowfoot.

Many of the goals taking shape for the CBD’s 15th Conference of Parties, to take place in October 2021, align with California Governor Newsom’s goals, as well. California has the opportunity to be a role model not just for the US, but for the world, and to learn from other nations in order to improve our own policies.

In March, I teamed up with Assemblymember Laura Friedman and the California League of Conservation Voters to co-host and facilitate two stakeholder discussion sessions. Over 20 organizations participated in these sessions, which kicked off stakeholders giving direct input to the California Natural Resources Agency regarding the state’s contributions to the CBD as well as biodiversity policy at all levels.

Discussion session participants included: Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy, Ban Single Use Plastics, California Chaparral Institute, California League of Conservation Voters, California Native Plant Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife, Friends of Griffith Park, Glendale Environmental Coalition, Kiss the Ground, Natural Resources Defense Council, People’s Collective for Environmental Justice, Pacoima Beautiful, Sierra Club Verdugo Hills, Surfrider Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Turtle Island Restoration Network, UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, Young Entertainment Activists, and more.