UN Biodiversity Conference Advances Discussions on Resource Mobilization, EBSAs, Synthetic Biology
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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On Tuesday, 6 December, Working Group I (WG I) discussed: implementation of Aichi Target 16 (Nagoya Protocol); the third assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; monitoring and reporting under the Cartagena Protocol; assessment and review under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization; compliance under both Protocols; and resource mobilization and the financial mechanism under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and both its Protocols.

Working Group II (WG II) addressed: invasive alien species (IAS); synthetic biology; pollinators; geoengineering; sustainable wildlife management; mainstreaming biodiversity; biodiversity and climate change; forest biodiversity; ecosystem restoration; progress towards Aichi Targets 11 (protected areas) and 12 (threatened species); and biodiversity and human health.

Contact groups on IAS, ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) and synthetic biology met throughout the day.

6 December 2016: On Tuesday, 6 December, during the UN Biodiversity Conference, the two Working Groups continued addressing various issues, and contact groups on invasive alien species (IAS), ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), and synthetic biology met throughout the day.

Working Group I (WG I) discussed: implementation of Aichi Target 16 (Nagoya Protocol); the third assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; monitoring and reporting under the Cartagena Protocol; assessment and review under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization; compliance under both Protocols; and resource mobilization and the financial mechanism under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and both its Protocols.

Working Group II (WG II) addressed: IAS; synthetic biology; pollinators; geoengineering; sustainable wildlife management; mainstreaming biodiversity; biodiversity and climate change; forest biodiversity; ecosystem restoration; progress towards Aichi Targets 11 (protected areas) and 12 (threatened species); and biodiversity and human health.

On the third assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol, the African Group highlighted challenges relating to access to financial resources for the third national reports, which led to the lower response rate.

On Aichi Target 16, many delegates reported on their Nagoya Protocol ratification processes and development of access and benefit-sharing (ABS) frameworks. Argentina indicated readiness to deposit its instrument of ratification. The Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC) stressed the need for financial resources and capacity building for implementation. The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) asked for reference that confidential traditional knowledge (TK) be referred to the ABS Clearing-House only with the free prior informed consent (PIC) of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs).

On the third assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol, the African Group highlighted challenges relating to access to financial resources for the third national reports, which led to the lower response rate. With the EU and others, it supported encouraging capacity-building initiatives on climate change mitigation, which Brazil opposed. A number of countries noted that establishment of a subsidiary body is not needed.

On resource mobilization, the EU stressed the importance of domestic resource mobilization in reaching global resource targets. Norway commended reaching the target to double biodiversity finance. Bolivia, with Pakistan, expressed concern about the methodology used by the Secretariat to conclude that the target was achieved, and proposed establishing an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) to produce a balanced conclusion, in accordance with CBD Article 20 (Financial Resources), which refers to developed countries’ contributions.

On IAS, delegates considered, among others, risk assessment elements and the precautionary approach.

On synthetic biology, Bolivia, supported by Venezuela, Friends of the Earth, the Federation of German Scientists and others, called for a moratorium. The Worldwide Organization of Research on Synthetic Biology for the Common Good opposed, favoring a case-by-case approach. Target Malaria highlighted the importance of gene drives in malaria prevention. Delegates also addressed: the definition of synthetic biology; socioeconomic, cultural and ethical considerations; and digital sequence information. During evening meeting of the contact group on synthetic biology, discussions focused on issues related to the definition of synthetic biology; socioeconomic, cultural and ethical considerations; and the relationship with the Convention’s Protocols.

The contact group on EBSAs discussed options for describing new EBSAs and revising existing EBSAs in marine areas within and beyond national jurisdiction. Discussions revolved around, inter alia, a proposal to exclude the description of areas that no longer meet the EBSA criteria due to, for instance, major environmental change or an accident.

WG II approved, without discussion, draft decisions on climate-related geoengineering, and on bushmeat and sustainable wildlife management. [IISD RS Coverage of UN Biodiversity Conference]

The Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Secretariat held a discussion on the Summary for Policymakers of the its ‘Thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production.’

Side events took place throughout the day. Bioversity International, the Access and Benefit Sharing Capacity Development Initiative, the CBD and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) convened an event titled ‘Mutually Supportive Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the Plant Treaty.’ Participants addressed mutualistic implementation of the Nagoya Protocol to the CBD and the ITPGRFA at international, regional, national and community levels. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

The IPBES Secretariat held a discussion on the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ of its ‘Thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production.’ During the event, some participants noted that the thematic assessment does not recognize the existence of laboratory and field-based data on the effects of genetically-modified crops; and the need to include more information on the protection of urban species of pollinators. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

The CBD presented an event on ‘Capacity Building for National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) Implementation: Lessons learned from pilot projects under the Japan Biodiversity Fund (JBF).’ Participants considered demonstration projects that several countries have undertaken to implement NBSAPs, including through spatial data and mainstreaming biodiversity across sectors. Issues addressed during the event included: who should be responsible for implementing NBSAPs; who assesses biodiversity priorities; the role of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in determining priorities; and the potential for collaboration with universities and local research institutes to promote capacity building. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

Other side events held on Tuesday addressed: the challenges posed by IAS; the implications of extinction technologies and species-scale engineering; modular reporting based on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which also facilitates reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and industrial agriculture as the major cause of biodiversity loss hampering the achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Target 7 on sustainably-managed forests and agriculture. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

Tuesday’s theme for the Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) was ‘Biodiversity and Climate Change.’ Discussions focused on biodiversity and climate change scenarios, as well as the role of global management strategies. Participants considered opportunities for promoting ecosystem-based approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation in light of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs; and ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Participants considered the role of global land management strategies in climate, biodiversity and sustainable development, as well as opportunities for promoting ecosystem-based approaches to climate mitigation and adaptation in light of the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework for DRR and SDGs. They also discussed, inter alia: land use and cover change modeling; food security and land use; non-forest ecosystem-based mitigation; and ways for ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) investments to reduce DRR while catalyzing social, economic and environmental dividends.

The EbA Solutions Portal under the PANORAMA web-based knowledge-sharing platform, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Synthesis Report on Biodiversity and the Ecosystem Approach to DRR titled ‘Helping Nature Help Us’ were launched.

The event was organized by the CBD Secretariat, BirdLife International, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the European Commission, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, IUCN, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and partners. [IISD RS Coverage of Rio Conventions Pavilion]


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