UN Biodiversity Conference Focuses on Implementation of Strategic Plan, EBSAs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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At the UN Biodiversity Conference, plenary heard statements from participants and high-level representatives, including the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Working Group I initiated discussions on progress towards implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and achievement of the Aichi Targets.

Working Group II addressed issues related to marine and coastal biodiversity, including ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), biodiversity and acidification in cold-water areas, marine debris and underwater noise, and marine spatial planning; and started deliberations on invasive alien species (IAS).

5 December 2016: On Monday morning at the UN Biodiversity Conference, plenary heard statements from participants and high-level representatives, including the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.

In the afternoon, Working Group I (WG I) initiated discussions on progress towards implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and achievement of the Aichi Targets. Working Group II (WG II) addressed issues related to marine and coastal biodiversity, including ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), biodiversity and acidification in cold-water areas, marine debris and underwater noise, and marine spatial planning; and started deliberations on invasive alien species (IAS). A contact group on EBSAs was established.

In WG I, participants exchanged views on implementation of the Strategic Plan. Many delegates reported that they updated their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and called for intensifying efforts to meet them. Several stressed the need for financial resources and resource mobilization strategies to implement the Strategic Plan and NBSAPs, as well as for support from international organizations. One called upon the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other donors to provide fast-track financial support for the development of NBSAPs.

Several delegates suggested preparing for a follow-up to the Strategic Plan, with some proposing a gap analysis identifying to what extent the Aichi Targets are covered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In WG II, delegates discussed, among others, draft decision text on EBSAs. On options regarding procedures for modifying the description of EBSAs or facilitating the process of making descriptions of new areas, delegates considered various proposals, including: “modifying information on EBSAs beyond national jurisdiction” as a standing agenda item for every second COP; different processes for areas within and beyond national jurisdiction; and an option to eliminate EBSAs. A contact group to discuss these and other issues was established.

On marine debris and anthropogenic underwater noise, some called for capacity building to implement marine debris mitigation measures. One delegate recommended adding reference to the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution on marine plastic debris and microplastics, with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) recalling that it calls for identifying possible gaps and options.

Delegates also engaged in draft decision text discussions on IAS, focusing, in particular, on the precautionary approach and risk assessment concerning the use of biological control agents to manage IAS. [IISD RS Coverage of the UN Biodiversity Conference]

Side events took place throughout the day. An event on global commons, hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the GEF, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, addressed “solutions for a crowded planet,” exploring ways of transforming policies and incentives for food production and agricultural sectors towards environmental sustainability. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, the GEF, noted that the public sector should create incentives for private sector involvement and address the weak links in agricultural supply chains. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

A side event on mainstreaming agrobiodiversity in sustainable food systems, presented by Bioversity International and the European Commission (EC), focused on the Agrobiodiversity Index, an initiative to increase public and private investment in sustainable food and agriculture.

Another event, organized by the CBD, UN Environment and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, highlighted the importance of the UN information portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), known as InforMEA. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

A side event on mainstreaming agrobiodiversity in sustainable food systems, presented by Bioversity International and the European Commission (EC), focused on the Agrobiodiversity Index, an initiative to increase public and private investment in sustainable food and agriculture. Participants discussed four interlinked dimensions of agrobiodiversity impacts on global food systems, including: healthy diets; resilient and productive agroecosystems; dynamic seed systems; and agrobiodiversity conservation. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

At the launch of a policy brief titled ‘The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review 2016,’ presented by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), participants considered the methodologies and findings of the policy brief on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS). The research was conducted jointly by the IISD and CBD Secretariat. Panelists highlighted the role of sustainability standards, biotrade and valuation of ecosystem services in supporting conservation. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

The first Rio Conventions Pavilion thematic day, Landscape Day, focused on linkages among soils, biodiversity, land degradation and climate change.

Other events held on 5 December 2016, addressed, inter alia: the “financialization” of nature, climate and geoengineering; contributions from science to policy for mainstreaming biodiversity; and sustainable oceans. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

The Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) opened on 5 December 2016, under the theme ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity Across Sectors.’ It was hosted by the CBD Secretariat. The first RCP thematic day, Landscape Day, focused on linkages among soils, biodiversity, land degradation and climate change. Landscape Day was co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and Germany’s Institute for Biodiversity and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. The Governments of Mexico and Germany were contributing organizers.

The Day highlighted the findings and lessons learned from place-based research on sustainable land management (SLM) conducted through 12 regional projects and synthesized into the publication, ‘Making Sense of Research for Sustainable Land Management.’ The Day also focused on, inter alia: supporting policy coherence; the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security; and research efforts to quantify the effects of agricultural intensification on land productivity and biodiversity. [IISD RS Coverage of Rio Conventions Pavilion]


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