Global Forum Events Advance Biodiversity Mainstreaming at UN Conference
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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In parallel to the UN Biodiversity Conference, major stakeholder groups met at Global Forum events to engage with delegates and other participants to discuss contributions to biodiversity mainstreaming for well-being, challenges and opportunities for partnerships, and integrated approaches to implementation.

The following Global Forum events were held during the UN Biodiversity Conference: Civil Society and Youth Alliances Forum; the third Science for Biodiversity Forum; 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum; GLOBE Legislators Forum; and the fifth Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments.

18 December 2016: The theme of the UN Biodiversity Conference, ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Well-being,’ was also at the core of a series of Global Forum events that brought together representatives of major stakeholder groups. Below is an overview of event outcomes that recounts how they contributed to the theme of the Conference, which convened from 2-17 December 2016, in Cancún, Mexico.

The UN Biodiversity Conference included a High-Level Segment, followed by concurrent meetings of the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (CBD COP 13), the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP-MOP 8) and the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (COP-MOP 2).

Youth and Civil Society

The Forum of Civil Society and Youth Alliances for Biodiversity Mainstreaming to Well-being was held from 28-30 November 2016, aiming to, among other objectives: identify the practices, experiences and strengths for mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture, forestry, fishery, tourism and urban areas; and promote alliances of Civil Society and Youth organizations in implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the Aichi Targets and interactions with the SDGs. In their common statement to the COP 13 Plenary, Civil Society and Youth call on CBD Parties to, inter alia: enforce the right to integral and sustainable development adopting a territorial approach and effective and efficient inter-sectoral coordination; respect human rights and environmental and social safeguards; consider communities as allies in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, integrating gender, intergenerational, ethnic and vulnerable groups’ perspectives; encourage initiatives for biodiversity mainstreaming by such groups; and encourage innovative consumption and production patters that mainstream biodiversity.

The statement also calls for specific actions in the productive sectors and emphasizes the commitment of Civil Society and Youth Organizations to form a biodiversity alliance to foster will, capacities and leadership to promote inclusive, equitable, participatory and transparent decision-making for biodiversity mainstreaming in the productive sectors for human well-being. [Forum of Civil Society and Youth Alliances for Biodiversity Mainstreaming to Well-being Website] [Joint Statement of Civil Society and Youth Organizations (in Spanish)]

The third Science for Biodiversity Forum served as a forum for dialogue between scientists and policy makers to discuss challenges and solutions in biodiversity mainstreaming, particularly in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, forests and tourism.

Science

The third Science for Biodiversity Forum was held on 1-2 December 2016, to address the contributions science and academia can make to biodiversity policy. The event aimed to serve as forum for dialogue between scientists and policy makers to discuss challenges and solutions in biodiversity mainstreaming, particularly in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, forests and tourism, and how scientific cooperation can improve the development and sharing of best practices in mainstreaming. Participants highlighted how science can contribute to improved integration of biodiversity in sustainable development policy making, including by: improving understanding and monitoring of the impacts that changes in biodiversity have on human well-being; increasing recognition of the interactions among the diversity of values of biodiversity held by individuals and society; ensuring policy coherence towards the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity within and across sectors; and establishing partnerships with stakeholders to co-generate information and knowledge and foster transformative changes.

The Forum was co-organized by the Mexican National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and Future Earth, in collaboration with the CBD and other partners. [Future Earth Press Release] [Third Science and Biodiversity Forum Website] [IISD RS ENBOTS Coverage]

Business

The 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum met on 2-3 December 2016, to discuss, among other issues, the opportunities that can be generated for business through biodiversity mainstreaming. The forum aimed to showcase novel perspectives for business to address biodiversity, economic analysis of biodiversity mainstreaming, investments opportunities, financing conditions and mainstreaming in specific sectors. The forum adopted the Cancún Business and Biodiversity Pledge, which recognizes the contribution that business can make to the implementation of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, noting the opportunities that can be provided by an accelerated transition towards a sustainable economy for economic growth and employment in developed and developing countries.

The more than 100 signatories of the Pledge commit to take concrete action to support the CBD’s objectives by, among other actions: understanding, measuring and, where feasible, valuing the impacts of companies on biodiversity and ecosystem services; minimizing negative and optimizing positive impacts; developing biodiversity management plans, including actions to address supply chains; reporting regularly; promoting awareness of biodiversity values among employees, managers, shareholders, partners, suppliers, consumers and the business and finance communities; and acting as ambassadors for the responsible stewardship of biodiversity. The signatories call on: governments and policy makers to engage with businesses and create policy conditions that encourage mainstreaming and sustainability considerations; businesses around the world to join the pledge; and the global community to work with business in achieving the pledge. The forum was co-organized by the Mexican Government, the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the CBD Secretariat. [2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum Webpage] [CBD Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Business and Biodiversity Pledge] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Business Forum]

Legislators

Parliamentarians, politicians and lawmakers convened on 7 December 2016, at the GLOBE Legislators Forum, organized by the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) in collaboration with SEMARNAT, the Japan Biodiversity Fund, the CBD Secretariat and other partners. The Forum focused on the need for increased coherence and convergence for the effective implementation of inter-related objectives of the CBD, Agenda 2030 and other international agreements. Participants adopted the Cancún Communiqué on the Role of Legislators in Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Wellbeing.

The Commuiqué welcomes the Cancún Declaration, in particular its statements on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the CBD Strategic Plan. In addition, the document: notes the importance of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for a holistic approach to mainstreaming biodiversity; and emphasizes the role of women for biodiversity and the importance of gender aware and gender responsive policies. Legislators pledge to work in their national and sub-national parliaments to: engage all stakeholders to implement the CBD Strategic Plan and achieve the Aichi Targets; use their constitutional powers to hold governments accountable for their commitments; and promote a more coherent and convergent approach to governance. [GLOBE Press Release][Cancún Communiqué on the Role of Legislators in Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Well-being]

Cities and Sub-national Governments

The fifth Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments convened from 9-11 December 2016, bringing ministers, governors and mayors together with COP 13 delegates to discuss action by cities and states for biodiversity mainstreaming and to enhance their contribution to achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the objective of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and other international commitments. Co-organized by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), SEMARNAT, CONABIO, Asociación Nacional de Autoridades Estatales (ANAAE) and the CBD Secretariat, the Summit provided a platform to discuss opportunities to enhance vertical integration and horizontal alignment of city and subnational biodiversity action, including: multi-level partnerships for mainstreaming city and subnational actions; driving biodiversity through city-region landscapes; and reporting mechanisms for city and subnational commitments, actions and contributions.

Participants adopted the Quintana Roo Comminqué on Mainstreaming Local and Subnational Biodiversity Action, which calls on nations and partners to: improve collaboration and enabling frameworks for and by local and subnational governments and their networks; accelerate capacity building and knowledge transfer through technical and financial support to local and subnational governments; strengthen communication and information exchange and engagement among the scientific community, local and subnational governments and citizens; and ensure that the contribution of science and research tailored to subnational and local needs and priorities. [Fifth Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Government Website] [ICLEI Press Release] [Quintana Roo Comminqué on Mainstreaming Local and Subnational Biodiversity Action]

Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Development and the SDGs

On 2 December, coinciding with the adoption of the Cancún Declaration by the High-level Segment, the CBD Secretariat launched a technical note and a policy brief titled ‘Biodiversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ The publications outline the contributions of biodiversity to implementing the 2030 Agenda and achieving the SDGs by mapping linkages between the SDGs and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Targets. The Policy Brief provides illustrative examples of how biodiversity can support SDG implementation, whereas the Technical Note provides detailed analyses of the linkages and cross-references to the respective Aichi Targets. [Biodiversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development]


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