3 December 2016: Participants at the 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum discussed opportunities for businesses to contribute to mainstreaming biodiversity and achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the biodiversity-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum convened immediately prior to the UN Biodiversity Conference and in parallel with the Conference’s High-Level Segment (HLS). Organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Conference is being hosted by the Government of Mexico and held in Cancún.

The Business and Biodiversity Forum took place from 2-3 December and included plenary and parallel sessions. The Forum focused on mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and tourism as well as on other areas relevant for business, such as the links between biodiversity and climate change, natural capital accounting and supply chain policies. Participants shared business perspectives on mainstreaming biodiversity and discussed investment opportunities and challenges, such as how to promote enabling environments and legal frameworks that provide investors with certainty.

Over 100 businesses signed a ‘Business and Biodiversity Pledge,’ in which business leaders commit to concrete actions to conserve biodiversity and deliver solutions for its sustainable use and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources. In the Pledge, leaders “emphasize the importance to businesses of biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides, the key role that businesses can play in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the urgency of addressing global biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.” Signatories include large multinationals such as Cemex, Dole, Dow L’Oréal, Nestlé and Volkswagen.

In a statement, CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias said, “Achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 is not possible without the active participation of the business community. We need to move from a scattered approach in engaging businesses to a truly inclusive one in order to achieve the broad mainstreaming of biodiversity within and across business sectors.”

“Achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 is not possible without the active participation of the business community,” said CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias.

In parallel with the Forum, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) hosted the IV BioTrade Congress on 3 December. The Congress focused on ‘Trade as a tool to mainstream biodiversity’ and discussed innovative approaches and lessons learned on how trade and the trade of biodiversity-based products and services can serve as a tool for mainstreaming biodiversity across sectors and regions. Participants also discussed opportunities for, inter alia: trade policy to help countries achieve environmental objectives, including through using trade and access and benefit-sharing (ABS) as a tool to mainstream biodiversity; UNCTAD’s BioTrade programme to assist countries in fulfilling their biodiversity commitments under the Aichi Targets; and innovation, entrepreneurship and financing for biodiversity. Agreed recommendations from the Congress are expected to be submitted to UNCTAD and to relevant multilateral processes, including those related to the SDGs, among others. [CBD Press Release] [CBD Forum Webpage] [Business and Biodiversity Pledge] [Business and Biodiversity Pledge Signatories] [BioTrade Congress Webpage] [IISD RS Coverage of UN Biodiversity Conference] [CBD Biodiversity Conference Webpage] [UN Press Release on HLS]