SDG Knowledge Weekly: Biodiversity’s Linkages to Climate, Conservation Assessments, Africa, Finance
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CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pașca Palmer and IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie, IISD’s Senior Fellow Mark Halle, and PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency each link biodiversity to climate change via articles and a report.

IIED released methodologies on governance and social assessments for protected and conservation areas.

The African Ministerial Summit on Biodiversity was held on the margins of COP14, and UNDP’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) launched the 2018 edition of its flagship ‘BIOFIN Workbook’ report.

With the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) under way in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, a number of thought pieces have been released on the topics under discussion, ranging from climate to governance to food and water security in Africa, and connecting to the key theme of COP 14, ‘Investing in biodiversity for people and planet.’

In a press brief on ‘Biodiversity and the SDGs,’ the CBD Secretariat notes how biodiversity affects each of the 17 SDGs and directly contributes to human well-being and development priorities. With regard to the linkage to climate change, CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pașca Palmer and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie authored an op-ed expressing concern that the biodiversity conversation has been overshadowed by climate-related coverage. For example, they lament, the biodiversity section in a recent IPCC report was largely overlooked. They also outline next steps on protected areas for policymakers beyond 2020, when the current global strategy on biodiversity expires.

IISD’s Senior Fellow Mark Halle also flags the end of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ implementation period, in an article on the SDG Knowledge Hub. Similar to Palmer and Larigauderie, he notes the contrasting media coverage between the climate change and biodiversity conversations, emphasizing that attention to biodiversity has “flat-lined” and the issue “flies mostly below the radar.” Factors behind this trend, Halle explains, include that climate events and related natural disasters are “more palpable,” and he emphasizes the need for a “Paris moment” where the international community comes together around a major agreement. Halle outlines ideas on ways to create the conditions for such a moment.

Drawing a positive linkage between biodiversity and climate change, a report from PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency explores how lessons learned—from both failures and successes—in the UNFCCC process can be applied to CBD discussions, offering insights into opportunities to develop a more inclusive, effective and broadly supported post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The authors note the shift from a top-down model to a hybrid approach, and the important role of non-state actors. The paper highlights important aspects of the Paris Agreement’s architecture, such as quantitative long-term targets, a framework for voluntary commitments combined with procedural obligations, and a clear accountability system. A PBL summary post is also available.

Daily IISD Reporting Services coverage of COP14 is available here, and includes selected side events as well as the Rio Conventions Pavilion, Sustainable Ocean Day and the 2nd Wildlife Forum. The Wildlife Forum is being organized by the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW) and African Union under the theme, ‘Sustainable use for conservation and livelihoods’ on 21 November 2018.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) released two papers prior to the start of the Wildlife Forum. A publication titled, ‘Social Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (SAPA): Methodology manual for SAPA facilitators,’ provides a manual, issued in response to the CBD’s strategic plan, which calls for “equitable management” of protected areas by 2020. The manual’s methodology offers a solution for understanding and measuring equity of—and the impacts of protected and conservation areas on—local citizens according to factors such as wealth, ethnicity, age and gender. The methodology combines community meetings, household surveys and stakeholder workshops, among other multi-stakeholder processes. It incorporates learnings from users of the publication’s first edition in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Gabon and Zambia, and expands the focus to areas that are not necessarily designated as formal “protected areas.” An IIED summary blog is also available.

IIED also released a report titled, ‘Governance Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (GAPA): Early experience of a multi-stakeholder methodology for enhancing equity and effectiveness.’ The report reviews current assessment approaches, and describes an approach where stakeholders themselves conduct assessments. The authors present learnings from applying the GAPA methodology in six sites in Bangladesh, Kenya, the Philippines and Uganda. IIED’s engagement at COP14 is consolidated here.

Also on the margins of COP14, the African Ministerial Summit on Biodiversity took place on 13 November 2018, under the theme, ‘Land and ecosystem degradation and restoration: Priorities for increased investments in biodiversity and resilience in Africa.’ Summit documents highlight outcomes such as the African Ministerial Declaration on Biodiversity, a bulleted list of priorities for the continent and the Pan-African Action Agenda on Ecosystem Restoration for Increased Resilience. The Declaration endorses the Pan-African Action Agenda and encourages member States to “link and synergize” SDG implementation with that of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the CBD Short-Term Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration.

The Pan-African Action Agenda outlines land and ecosystem degradation on the continent, describes priority areas and goals, and summarizes the status of integrating land and ecosystem restoration into relevant sectors (environment, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, mining, infrastructure and manufacturing development) as well as policies, plans and programs. A timeline notes the short-, medium- and long-term actions and milestones for 2019-2020, 2021-2025 and 2026-2030 respectively. The Summit website also presents case studies of ecosystem restoration on the continent, highlighting goals, outcomes and lessons learned.

Other recent thought pieces and events linking Africa to SDG-relevant sectors include:

  • An article in The Economist calling for a green revolution on the continent.
  • The 2nd African Youth SDGs Summit, which took place from 7-9 November 2018, in Accra, Ghana, focusing on Goals 3 (good health and well-being), 5 (gender equality), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 13 (climate action).
  • The 8th Africities Summit taking place 20-24 November 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco on the theme ‘The transition to sustainable cities and territories: the role of local and sub-national governments of Africa.’ Africities is the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa’s flagship pan-African event, held every three years.

The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), coordinated by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), launched the 2018 edition of its flagship ‘BIOFIN Workbook: Finance for nature’ report during a COP14 side event on 18 November. Based on inputs and lessons from 30 countries, the workbook provides an introduction to biodiversity finance and the BIOFIN approach, offers insight into policy and institutional reviews (PIRs), introduces the concept of biodiversity expenditure review (BER), examines needs around biodiversity finance, and proposes a biodiversity finance plan.

The workbook emphasizes that biodiversity underpins sustainable development, noting that although awareness is growing, financing biodiversity is a shared responsibility of governments, the private sector and citizens, and thus that partnerships between financial and environmental actors are critical to scaling up and tackling policy incoherence. It describes a variety of solutions, including subsidy reform, partnership enhancement, and avoidance of unnecessary expenditures to close the biodiversity finance gap. A UNDP blog that features the initiative alongside others is available, as is a BIOFIN overview of the Initiative’s engagements at COP14.

Additional issues of the SDG Knowledge Weekly can be found here.

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