UN Biodiversity Conference Adopts Decisions on Climate-Related Geoengineering, Pollinators
Photo by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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Negotiations at the UN Biodiversity Conference included contact groups on resource mobilization, the financial mechanism, and risk assessment of living modified organisms (LMOs).

An evening plenary reviewed progress, addressed organizational issues and adopted decisions on: the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) modus operandi; recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII); sustainable use, bushmeat and sustainable wildlife management; climate-related geoengineering; marine spatial planning and training initiatives; and implications of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production.

9 December 2016: Negotiations at the UN Biodiversity Conference continued Friday, 9 December. Contact groups on resource mobilization, the financial mechanism, and risk assessment of living modified organisms (LMOs) met throughout the day, while the two Working Groups (WG I) and (WG II) continued their deliberations on various issues.

An evening plenary reviewed progress, addressed organizational issues and adopted decisions on: the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) modus operandi (UNEP/ CBD/COP/13/L.5, CP/COP-MOP/8/L.2 and NP/COP-MOP/2/L.2); recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.3); sustainable use, bushmeat and sustainable wildlife management (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.2); climate-related geoengineering (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.4); marine spatial planning and training initiatives (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.6); and implications of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.7).

Working Group I (WG I) approved, with little or no discussion, conference room papers (CRPs) on the SBI modus operandi and mechanisms to support review of implementation under the Convention and its Protocols. WG I further addressed: unintentional transboundary movements, and transit and contained use of LMOs; and review of implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Working Group II (WG II) addressed pollinators, forest biodiversity, biodiversity and climate change, ecosystem restoration, and progress towards Aichi Targets 11 on protected areas (PAs) and 12 on threatened species.

On unintentional transboundary movements of LMOs under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, delegates addressed, inter alia, the definitions of “unintentional” and “illegal” transboundary movement. Guatemala, Mexico and the EU welcomed the definitions, while Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Paraguay, Iran, Uganda and Uruguay opposed the definitions, noting that they are significantly broader than the Protocol provisions. The EU and Brazil opposed a request for a study on gaps and the need for elaboration of standards on emergency measures. Informal consultations will be held. On indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC) terminology under the Cartagena Protocol, delegates agreed to consistent use of the “indigenous peoples and local communities,” as proposed by the SBI.

On indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC) terminology under the Cartagena Protocol, delegates agreed to consistent use of the “indigenous peoples and local communities,” as proposed by the SBI.

On the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, delegates considered a draft decision. The EU asked and delegates agreed to: encourage parties to “update and implement” their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs), and review them periodically; and take into account the targets of “other relevant conventions,” rather than “biodiversity-related conventions.” The EU opposed a reference to convening regional and subregional meetings on progress towards implementing the Strategic Plan. Delegates agreed to convening workshops subject to requests by Parties, in collaboration with relevant regional and subregional organizations, and adding a reference to exchange of information on activities to implement the Strategic Plan.

On Strategic Plan implementation, delegates also debated a reference to “increase and expedite” financial support. Many supported it, while the EU preferred reference to the need to “continue to provide support in a timely manner based on expressed needs of parties.” Delegates also debated proposals, without reaching consensus, on the preparatory process for the follow-up to the Strategic Plan; and a proposal by Namibia that the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) access and benefit-sharing (ABS) elements for different subsectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture are not intended to be a specialized ABS instrument. Informal consultations are pending on these issues.

On pollinators, following consultations, delegates agreed to prioritize efforts in addressing data gaps and monitoring capacity with regard to the status and trends of pollinators and pollination in developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Oceania, in addition to Africa. After lengthy discussions, Brazil conceded to retain reference to improving risk assessment procedures for LMOs.

On forest biodiversity, delegates debated a draft decision. Canada opposed reference to “forest-related commitments under the Paris Agreement.” Brazil favored reference to forest-related “provisions.” Delegates also debated reference to the Paris Agreement and agreed to insert a footnote that it was adopted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

On a draft decision on biodiversity and climate change, with regard to encouraging governments to fully take into account the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems when developing their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), Canada proposed referring to implementation of domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including those consistent with their NDCs. Following informal consultations, the original language was retained. Nicaragua, opposed by Norway, Switzerland, Zambia and others, proposed language around “loss and damage” related to climate impacts on biodiversity. The EU favored reference to “degradation, loss of, and impacts on biodiversity,” which was accepted.

The contact group on resource mobilization discussed a non-paper addressing issues on the milestones for the full implementation of Aichi Target 3 on resource mobilization.

The contact group on resource mobilization discussed a non-paper addressing issues on the milestones for the full implementation of Aichi Target 3 on resource mobilization, while the contact group on the financial mechanism addressed a non-paper, and discussed language on, inter alia, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) direct access modality. Delegates established a drafting group to consider the four-year framework of programme priorities for the GEF seventh replenishment period (GEF-7) and elements received from biodiversity-related conventions.

The contact group on risk assessment debated, inter alia: compromise language on “taking note of” the draft guidance and using it as a reference document; and whether work of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) should continue on living modified fish and synthetic biology.

The evening plenary elected Francis Ogwal (Uganda) as SBI Chair; heard: reports on credentials; progress reports from WG I and II; and regions’ nominations for the Conference of the Parties (COP) Bureau, and the Protocols’ Compliance Committees; and adopted several decisions. COP President Rafael Pacchiano Alamán proposed that Egypt host COP 14 and Turkey COP 16, to be decided by plenary on Tuesday, 13 December. Plenary approved that China host COP 15 in 2020, with Peru hosting the intersessional meetings. [IISD RS Coverage of UN Biodiversity Conference]


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