UN Biodiversity Conference WGs Discuss Strategic Plan, Compliance and Indicators as RCP Focuses on Protected Areas
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At the UN Biodiversity Conference, Working Group I (WG I) approved conference room papers (CRPs) on the Cartagena Protocol Article 30 (subsidiary bodies), the review of progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Target 16 on the Nagoya Protocol and monitoring and reporting, and the use of the term “indigenous peoples and local communities” (IPLCs) under the Cartagena Protocol.

Working Group II (WG II) approved CRPs on: the in-depth dialogue on thematic areas and other cross-cutting issues; best-practice guidelines on traditional knowledge repatriation; and scientific assessment of progress towards selected Aichi Targets.

The Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) theme for Monday was ‘Protected Areas (PAs): Partnerships for improving natural wealth for achieving global targets and for addressing global challenges'.

12 December: On Monday, 12 December, at the UN Biodiversity Conference, Working Group I (WG I) approved conference room papers (CRPs) on the Cartagena Protocol Article 30 (subsidiary bodies), the review of progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Target 16 on the Nagoya Protocol and monitoring and reporting, and the use of the term “indigenous peoples and local communities” (IPLCs) under the Cartagena Protocol.

WG I also heard contact group reports and discussed CRPs on: Strategic Plan implementation; compliance under the Nagoya Protocol; integration among the Convention and its Protocols; the Supplementary Protocol on liability and redress under the Cartagena Protocol; assessment and review under the Nagoya Protocol; and the communications strategy.

On compliance, the EU explained that the draft decision indicates that only informal decisions will be taken, and suggested retaining reference to decision making, and excluding reference to “substantive decisions, such as on submissions relating to issues of compliance or non-compliance with the provisions of the Protocol.” Parties agreed to this.

On the communications strategy and its framework, South Africa suggested describing the purpose of the communications strategy, namely to guide the Secretariat, parties and others to develop effective communications strategies that are targeted to specific global, regional and national stakeholders to advance the Convention’s objectives, programmes and Protocols. Brazil proposed encouraging IPLCs to communicate relevant traditional knowledge. On use of the media, the Gambia proposed adding reference to consultations and awareness campaigns; Morocco recommended media that focuses on dissemination to the wider public; and India suggested media that focuses on business and green skills. India also proposed adding that women are key stakeholders in both conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Delegates accepted: India’s suggestion to refer to “indicative” social media; Bolivia’s insertion of a reference to “Mother Earth Day”; and Brazil’s proposal on business “sustainability initiatives” in support of biodiversity.

Working Group II (WG II) approved CRPs on: the in-depth dialogue on thematic areas and other cross-cutting issues; best-practice guidelines on traditional knowledge repatriation; and scientific assessment of progress towards selected Aichi Targets. The Group also discussed draft decisions on: implementation of Aichi Targets 11 (protected areas) and 12 (threatened species); the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); indicators; and invasive alien species (IAS).

On the GBO and IPBES, Norway and the EU, opposed by Brazil, proposed including reference to “relevant assessments” to be considered in the preparation of GBO 5, in addition to information from other biodiversity-related conventions and relevant organizations. After lengthy discussions, delegates agreed not to include reference to assessments, but to state that GBO 5 should draw upon “official and best possible science-based information,” followed by an indicative list of relevant documents and information. Delegates also agreed that: GBO 5 should include an analysis of progress in capacity-building activities to support implementation of the Strategic Plan; and Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) will consider a work plan and proposed budget for GBO 5 preparation, and related reports and products, prior to COP 14.

On information to be included in the second edition of the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) Biodiversity Outlook, delegates agreed to include information “on relevant knowledge, visions and approaches of living in harmony with nature and, as recognized in some cultures and countries, Mother Earth.”

On indicators, El Salvador cautioned against an indicator for all countries that have REDD+ strategies and proposed an indicator on trends in land rehabilitation rather than on trends in carbon stocks. After some discussion, delegates agreed on, inter alia: noting that the list of global indicators provides a framework, “to be used, as appropriate,” for assessing progress towards the Aichi Targets at the global level; encouraging parties to ensure that indicator use reflects all three Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) objectives in a balanced manner; and on emphasizing the advantages of aligning the Strategic Plan indicators and those of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other relevant processes.

On IAS, Brazil, opposed by the EU, suggested encouraging governments to “take into account,” rather than “review,” national legislation relevant to wildlife trade. Brazil, South Africa and Colombia, opposed by Canada, Australia and New Zealand, proposed inviting governments and relevant organizations to refrain from introducing non-native bio-control agents and to favor indigenous species as bio-control agents. Consultations continue on this issue.

Contact groups and Friends of the Chair groups also met on: capacity building; unintentional transboundary movements under the Cartagena Protocol; global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol; biodiversity mainstreaming; the financial mechanism; and synergies. During the contact group on sequence information on genetic resources, held jointly under the contact groups on synthetic biology and on the global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol, participants focused on, among other things: the issue of equivalence between sequence information on genetic resources and genetic resources; whether and how the use of such information is related to fair and equitable benefit-sharing from genetic resource utilization; and the urgency of the matter, including whether a decision should be taken at COP 13, or whether the issue should be considered intersessionally with the aim of making a decision at COP 14. [IISD RS Coverage of the UN Biodiversity Conference]

The Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) theme for Monday was ‘Protected Areas (PAs): Partnerships for improving natural wealth for achieving global targets and for addressing global challenges.’ The session provided the opportunity to discuss: status of implementation of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 (protected areas) and national “roadmaps” of priority actions; how the roadmaps contribute to achieving the Target; and helping countries to implement their roadmaps in order to achieve multiple benefits.

In the morning session, participants heard about progress in implementing Aichi Target 11 and national roadmaps. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, noted that several countries have enacted legislation recognizing new PA governance modalities, providing collaboration opportunities for IPLCs and the private sector. Neville Ash, UN Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), highlighted the World Database on PAs (WDPA) as the most comprehensive global data set on PAs.

Jamison Ervin, UN Development Programme (UNDP), highlighting PA benefits, said they are one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of achieving the SDGs. Trevor Sandwith, Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), called for further work on the rights-based approach, including the equitable distribution of costs and benefits, and on enhancing institutional and human capacities involved in PA management and governance.

Session 1 showcased experiences from the Asia and Pacific Region, with presentations from India, Fiji, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre for Biodiversity. Session 2 focused on Africa, with experiences from South Africa and Uganda, and on support from Germany and other partners. Session 3 on Latin American and the Caribbean Group focused on Mexico and Brazil, and the work of REDPARQUES. Session 4 presented perspectives from Europe, including the Governments of Albania and Malta, the EU Joint Research Centre and the IUCN/WCPA Global Programme, Europe.

The final session included presentations by: the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat, who said that the GEF remains the largest funding mechanism for PAs worldwide, with about 1,300 projects in more than 155 countries; BirdLife International, which noted the establishment of the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas, a partnership to inform international policy and national progress in PAs; UNEP-WCMC, which presented the Protected Planet, an online platform on terrestrial and marine PAs; and Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas Consortium, which described how the Consortium’s members work with local communities at the national level to advocate for appropriate legislation and policies, and at the international level to enhance contributions to issues of concern such as conservation. [IISD RS Coverage of the Rio Conventions Pavilion]

Numerous side events took place throughout the day. One event reflected on the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and considered whether and to what extent it can provide lessons for the CBD process, namely for future negotiations within the CBD on the next Strategic Biodiversity Plan 2020-2030. The event addressed which aspects of the Paris Agreement are relevant for international biodiversity policies, how they could be operationalized in the CBD context, and where differences between climate change and biodiversity should be considered. Panelists highlighted that target-setting for National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) is more complex than for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) because the Aichi Biodiversity Targets address a wide range of subjects, lack simple metrics and require a more country-specific approach; discussed how CBD parties can make better use of non-state actors’ “untapped potential”; called for considering whether the CBD should build on NBSAPs to move towards an “NDC-like” system; and noted the presence of “nature-based measures” in many developing country NDCs.

A side event discussed and shared experiences on tools to assist CBD parties in strengthening their legal and policy frameworks to achieve biodiversity-mainstreaming goals under the SDGs, including: current trends, priorities and opportunities; promising cases and developments at the domestic level; and tools and partnerships needed to scale up action. On priorities and opportunities for building legal preparedness for mainstreaming in NBSAPs, event facilitators underscored the revision and adoption of NBSAPs by parties as a key stimulus for the review of national environmental laws. On developing a legal assessment tool to mainstream biodiversity across relevant sectors and cross-sectors under the SDGs, event facilitators noted that national development is increasingly linked to the global SDGs, which may provide guiding principles for mainstreaming biodiversity. On fostering peer-to-peer learning and developing guiding indicators of biodiversity mainstreaming success, facilitators reported on national-level processes, such as national sectoral planning, physical planning policies and “domestication of SDGs.”

Another event on ‘Transforming Agriculture into a Solution’ addressed the IPES-Food report ‘From Uniformity to Diversity: a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems,’ which compares the “vicious cycles” of industrial agricultural systems that lead to land degradation and biodiversity loss, to the “virtuous circles” of ecosystem health in diversified agroecological systems. The report finds that diversified agroecological systems can provide what is required for the future. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, said biodiversity should be recognized as a big part of the solution to the challenges faced by the agricultural sector.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, said biodiversity should be recognized as a big part of the solution to the challenges faced by the agricultural sector.

Another event discussed national and international efforts to ensure that a wide range of genetic resources is available and used by research in achieving sustainable food production systems. Panelists underlined: the role of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN’s (FAO) Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in recognizing on-farm genetic diversity for production systems and the role of farmers in developing and maintaining this diversity; the importance of ensuring harmonization of both the Treaty and the Convention in terms of Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS); and the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources with actions that address challenges to the livestock sector.

Other side events addressed: capacity development measures for coastal and marine biodiversity conservation, including India’s wilderness resources in coastal and marine environments; integrating gender considerations in NBSAPs, including their development and revision processes; and benefits and hazards of tourism and biodiversity, and how the industrial model of tourism under the banner of ‘ecotourism’ is resulting in both irreversible ecological and cultural losses. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]


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