The ABS Capacity Development Initiative, discussed during a UN Biodiversity Conference side event, provides a discussion platform for providers and users of genetic resources, amid the increasing importance of broadening stakeholder engagement, especially to include Indigenous Peoples and local communities and the private sector.
Another event considered alternative food production systems that can produce enough to feed the world while working in alignment with landscapes and habitats to produce healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food.
An event on the gender-biodiversity nexus featured experiences from Mexico and Canada, which illustrated how gender inclusivity for biodiversity leads to social, economic, and environmental benefits.
Focusing on the Convention of Biological Diversity’s (CBD) three objectives – conservation, sustainable use, and benefit-sharing – the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) is expected to unite all actors in fighting unprecedented biodiversity loss. A side event held during the UN Biodiversity Conference reflected on implementation of the third objective and related capacity development challenges under the forthcoming GBF. It also elaborated on what, in relation to access and benefit-sharing-related capacity development, should be improved under the future GBF.
This 9 December event themed, ‘Addressing the ABS Challenges of the GBF: On What Can We Build?’ discussed the German-supported Acceess and Benefit-sharing Capacity Development Initiative (ABS Initiative), which is now active in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. The ABS Initiative provides a discussion platform for providers and users of genetic resources, amid the increasing importance of broadening stakeholder engagement, especially to include Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and the private sector.
During the event, Nagoya Protocol Unit Head, Taukondjo Shikongo, CBD Secretariat, emphasized the need to: build Indigenous research capabilities; make the appropriate links between ABS and the discourse around digital sequence information (DSI); and measure and report on progress towards the monetary and non-monetary benefit-sharing of genetic resources. Noting the GBF may enhance cooperation and the mainstreaming of ABS, he called for ABS indicators to be adaptable to national circumstances and highlighted the importance of dedicated finance.
Andreas Gettkant, ABS Initiative, recalled the Initiative’s work related to, inter alia, formal cooperation with the African Union Commission (AUC) and development of bio-cultural community protocols. He said the Initiative’s next phase aims to create new concepts around the ABS discourse, including on strengthening capacity of national and regional actors, and partnerships with relevant organizations, including the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).
Participants also heard about:
- Côte d’Ivoire’s experience in implementing the Nagoya Protocol, including establishing a scientific committee to advise on ABS;
- what should be invested to better support ABS implementation under the new GBF;
- the need for standardized procedures for access, compliance, and facilitation towards benefit-sharing;
- how ABS should be more of a partnership between the North and the South and between users and providers; and
- the need for capacity building to help communities engage in ABS negotiations.
On GBF implementation, three focal areas for capacity building were identified: development of national ABS legislation; application of indicators, currently hampered by the proprietary nature of benefit-sharing agreements; and DSI-related issues.
The ABS Initiative and the AUC’s Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development convened the event.
Another 9 December side event titled, ‘Biodiversity and the Urgent Need for Food System Reform,’ focused on industrial agriculture imposing a singular vision of the food production landscape and advancing biodiversity loss. The event, organized by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), brought together social scientists in the field of food studies who also considered alternative food production systems that can produce enough to feed the world while working in alignment with landscapes and habitats to produce healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food.
‘Exploring Options for Financing and Investing in the Gender-Biodiversity Nexus’ was the theme of another 9 December side event, which emphasized options to facilitate gender-responsive GBF implementation. The event examined the current gender-biodiversity financing gap, and what is necessary to deliver on biodiversity, climate, and gender commitments. Experiences from Mexico and Canada illustrated how gender inclusivity for biodiversity leads to social, economic, and environmental benefits.
The event was organized by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Global Environment Facility (GEF), and Women4Biodiversity (W4B).
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) is covering selected side events at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada, which runs through 19 December 2022.