UN Biodiversity Conference Advances Work on Sustainable Wildlife Management, Climate-related Geo-Engineering
Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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Working Group I addressed, among other issues: a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization; and unintentional transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs) under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Working Group II approved without, or with minor discussion, conference room papers (CRPs) on sustainable wildlife management, recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), and climate-related geo-engineering.

Contact groups on resource mobilization, capacity building, the financial mechanism, synthetic biology and Article 8(j) met throughout the day.

8 December 2016: On Thursday, at the UN Biodiversity Conference, the two Working Groups continued negotiations on various issues. Other meetings were held during the day, addressing, inter alia: budget issues; resource mobilization; capacity building; the financial mechanism; synthetic biology; and Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge (TK)). The theme for Thursday’s Rio Conventions Pavilion was ‘Indigenous peoples and local communities: The Power of Local Action.’

Working Group I (WG I) addressed: cooperation with other conventions and organizations; a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization; and socioeconomic considerations, liability and redress, risk assessment and risk management, and unintentional transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs) under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Working Group II (WG II) approved without, or with minor discussion, conference room papers (CRPs) on sustainable wildlife management, recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), and climate-related geo-engineering. WG II further addressed marine debris and underwater noise, marine spatial planning, biodiversity in cold-water areas and pollinators. The budget group met in the morning. Contact groups on resource mobilization, capacity building, the financial mechanism, synthetic biology and Article 8(j) met throughout the day.

On cooperation under the Nagoya Protocol, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on the study on implications of the Nagoya Protocol on pathogen sharing under the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework, which concludes that the Nagoya Protocol has implications on public health responses and could result in delays in medical countermeasures. Several delegates supported enhanced cooperation with WHO. Namibia, with Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil and Pakistan, requested the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat to address transfers of digital genetic data as it relates to access and benefit-sharing (ABS), by engaging with WHO, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) and CGIAR.

On a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol, the African Group noted that the expert group failed to consider fair and equitable benefit-sharing from new and ongoing utilization of genetic resources. With Mexico, Pakistan and Malaysia, the African Group underscored the urgency to consider digital genetic data; and, with Brazil, called for recognizing the need for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism, including on digital genetic data. Brazil drew attention to the imbalance between open exchange of data between scientists and lack of disclosure following patent application, highlighting the potential detrimental effects on developing countries and indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) of not addressing digital genetic data transfers.

On socioeconomic considerations under the Cartagena Protocol, some noted that it is premature to initiate elaboration of guidelines, while others supported developing voluntary guidelines. Several delegates supported extension of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) mandate. Others asked to broaden its scope, with some fearing it is premature. Brazil suggested the AHTEG address socioeconomic aspects of synthetic biology, in line with other international agreements, including on trade and human rights.

On risk assessment and risk management under the Cartagena Protocol, many raised concerns about publication of the revised guidance on risk assessment of LMOs before approval by the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CP/COP-MOP). A number of delegates endorsed the guidance, with some supporting continuation of the AHTEG to address new issues, including synthetic biology. Some opposed further work by the AHTEG. Several delegates proposed “taking note” of the guidance. Argentina noted that the guidance goes beyond the Protocol’s mandate, while Canada cautioned against endorsement.

On marine debris and underwater noise, WG II discussed, inter alia, the draft decision, voluntary practical guidance on preventing and mitigating the impacts of marine debris, priority actions for mitigating impacts of marine debris on marine and coastal biodiversity and habitats, and collaborating with international environmental certification schemes.

On a workplan on biodiversity in cold-water areas, South Africa proposed expressing concern over ingestion of microfibers by species, with Tanzania requesting that reference be made to microplastics.

On pollinators, the EU, supported by Uruguay, suggested welcoming the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators, announced at the High-Level Segment (HLS), which delegates agreed to “take note of.” In reference to promoting pollinator-friendly habitats, Yemen proposed adding natural pastures to the list of habitats for conservation, management and restoration. [IISD RS Coverage of UN Biodiversity Conference]

Side events took place throughout the day. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank organized an event titled ‘GEF Investments and Donor Coordination to Address the Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Crisis.’ The meeting presented the GEF-funded Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development (the GPW project), which aims to tackle the poaching and the IWT crisis. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

CropLife International (CLI) convened a side event on opportunities, challenges and environmental benefits associated with synthetic biology. Participants discussed different applications of synthetic biology and how this technology should be regulated. They also addressed, inter alia: ethical concerns, such as the loss of livelihoods in Africa due to the proliferation of synthetic biology; the risks of promoting synthetic biology versus the risks of banning it; dialogue as key to addressing the concerns of different groups; the need for adequate national biotechnology regulatory systems as the field progresses; the value of connecting early-phase startups with regulatory agencies prior to commercialization; and the need for capacity building in the area of synthetic biology. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

The UN University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) held an event on multiple approaches to valuing nature. The event presented the IPBES guide on multiple values of nature to support more holistic decision making and for incorporating these values into social and environmental assessments. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

Thursday’s side events further addressed, among other issues: sustainable agriculture for biodiversity; operationalization of the Nagoya Protocol in Germany; “nature-based solutions” (NBS) that provide business opportunities for regenerating urban areas, improving air and water quality, and for disaster risk reduction (DRR); and tools, measures and approaches to address national ABS capacity building needs. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

The theme for Thursday’s Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) was ‘IPLCs: The Power of Local Action.’ Sessions focused on sharing knowledge and exchanging best practices involving forests, fisheries, agriculture and tourism, with emphasis on local solutions for the protection and sustainable use of biological resources. Participants considered, inter alia: local action for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); ways to ensure IPLC support to sustainably manage biodiversity and to engage in national and global processes; IPLC best practices in sustainable forest management and wildlife conservation; the use of TK to preserve bio-cultural diversity in sustainable agriculture and crop diversification; and the respect of culture and nature protection in sustainable and inclusive tourism.

The event was organized by the Equator Initiative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), GEF-Small Grants Programme (SGP), CBD, Conservation International (CI), Rare, The Natural Conservancy (TNC), EcoAgriculture Partners, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nippon Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). [IISD RS Coverage of Rio Conventions Pavilion]


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