Ministers Adopt Declaration to Guide UN Biodiversity Conference, CBD Executive Secretary Appointed
Photo by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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The High-Level Segment (HLS) of the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 13) took place in Cancún, Mexico, from 2-3 December 2016, for the first time preceding the CBD COP.

The HLS brought together over 200 ministers and heads of delegation who examined the integration of biodiversity into plans, programmes and policies in plenary sessions, as well as in roundtables on agriculture, tourism, forests, and fisheries and aquaculture.

In closing plenary, delegates adopted the ‘Cancún Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-Being,’ which will inform and guide the negotiations over the next two weeks.

3 December 2016: On 3 December 2016, in closing plenary, delegates to the High-Level Segment (HLS) of the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 13) adopted the ‘Cancún Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-Being.’

The HLS brought together over 200 ministers and heads of delegation who examined the integration of biodiversity into plans, programmes and policies in plenary sessions, as well as in roundtables on agriculture, tourism, forests, and fisheries and aquaculture. Convening from 2-3 December 2016, in Cancún, Mexico, it was the first time the HLS preceded the CBD COP, and the resulting Declaration will inform and guide COP negotiations over the next two weeks.

In the Declaration, ministers and heads of delegation declare, inter alia, that: it is essential to live in harmony with nature and Mother Earth, as a fundamental condition for the well-being of all life; biodiversity offers solutions to today’s development and societal challenges; the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide new opportunities to address development challenges in a transformative manner; and the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change can and should contribute to the implementation of the CBD objectives, and vice versa. They therefore commit to work at all levels of government and across all sectors to mainstream biodiversity, establishing effective institutional, legislative and regulatory frameworks through, among others: ensuring that sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, plans and programmes, as well as legal and administrative measures and budgets integrate actions for the conservation, sustainable use, management and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems; incorporating biodiversity values into national accounting and reporting systems; updating and implementing National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) to strengthen the mainstreaming of biological diversity; and strengthening institutional support and capacities for biodiversity mainstreaming.

Ministers and heads of delegation also commit to undertake specific actions for the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism sectors. Annexed to the Cancún Declaration is the ‘Guidance for Mainstreaming Conservation and Sustainable use of Biodiversity in the Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Tourism Sectors.’

They further call upon the UN Biodiversity Conference to take into account the Declaration in its work.

The 2016 UN Biodiversity Conference comprises the concurrent meetings of 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).

Prior to the HLS commencement, on 30 November 2016, following consultation with the CBD COP Bureau, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Cristiana Paşca Palmer of Romania as Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the CBD. Paşca Palmer will succeed Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias of Brazil who has served in the position since 2012.

Currently Romania’s Minister for Environment, Waters and Forests since 2015, Paşca Palmer served as Head of the Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources Unit within the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development from 2011-2015. From 2010-2011, she was a Policy Analyst on International Relations and the Western Balkans in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action. [Cancún Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-Being] [IISD RS Coverage of HLS 2 December 2016] [IISD RS Coverage of HLS 3 December 2016] [IISD RS Coverage of UN Biodiversity Conference] [CBD HLS Webpage] [UN Press Release Paşca Palmer’s Appointment] [UNEP Press Release on Paşca Palmer’s Appointment] [Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020] [Aichi Biodiversity Targets] [Paris Agreement on Climate Change] [Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform] [UN Press Release on Declaration Adoption] [UNEP Press Release on Declaration Adoption] [CBD Press Release] [CBD Executive Secretary Opening Remarks to HLS] [CBD Executive Secretary Closing Remarks to HLS]


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