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Monday, September 25, 2023

CBD seeks to lay groundwork for post-2020 global biodiversity framework negotiations

Over the next two weeks, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) bodies on science and implementation will meet to provide further guidance on accelerated efforts to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by the end of the year 2020, and to lay the groundwork for negotiations to achieve an ambitious and effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Cristiana Paşca Palmer
Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

More than 1,000 delegates from around the world will participate in the 22nd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-22) and the second meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-2), both being held in Montreal, Canada from July 2 to 7 and July 9 to 13, 2018 respectively. The two meetings lead up to the UN Biodiversity Conference being held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November.

Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary, said: “These two meetings are essential stepping stones on our journey to reaching the Convention’s 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature, whereby biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.

“We know we can achieve this vision, provided we deliver transformational change. To this end, biodiversity must be placed at the centre of economic, social and political decision-making as the essential foundation that supports life on Earth, human development and well-being. Our collective efforts must shift to embrace new means of production and consumption; reorienting economic development pathways towards sustainability.”

The SBSTTA-22 represents the first time that the science body will consider items from the Convention’s two protocols – the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Ten substantive agenda items are up for consideration at SBSTTA-22, including:

  • Digital sequence information on genetic resources.  A cross-cutting issue under the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol, digital sequence information will have major implications for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as well as the equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources.
  • Risk assessment and synthetic biology. Risk assessment under the Cartagena Protocol has a particular scope based on the identification of potential adverse effects for biodiversity and human health posed by living modified organisms. Delegates will discuss a way forward towards addressing the needs, priorities and gaps identified by Parties such as modified fish and organisms containing engineered gene drives. The meeting will also draw upon an expert report to look at the extent to which synthetic biology may have implications for all three objectives of the CBD and for the Cartagena Protocol.  The meeting will look at the potential benefits and potential adverse effects of synthetic biology applications.
  • Scientific and technical advice on the definition and identification of Other Effective Area based Conservation Measures (OECMs). Delegates will review voluntary guidance developed on integrating protected areas into wider land and seascapes, governance and equity. These deliberations will have profound implications for the development of post-2020 targets.
  • Invasive alien species. Delegates will consider guidance for avoiding unintentional introductions of invasive alien species associated with trade in live alien species. Invasive species pose a growing threat to biodiversity due to rapidly expanding global supply chains in food and energy sectors. Guidance on globally harmonized measures to ensure safe and responsible international trade is important as such measures are necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, maintaining ecosystem integrity, and preventing the spread of pests and diseases in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

SBI-2 provides the last opportunity for the body to prepare guidance to Parties and relevant stakeholders on the additional urgent efforts required to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets within the remaining two years of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. To that end,

  • Delegates will review progress in implementing the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
  • The meeting will make recommendations to the CBD’s Conference of the Parties on the process for the preparation of a new and effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
  • Delegates will consider possible actions related to mainstreaming attention to biodiversity into development planning, effective measures and institutional mechanisms for implementing the CBD at the national level, synergies with other biodiversity-related conventions as well as options to enhance the review mechanisms with a view to strengthening implementation of the Convention.  New sectors will be considered for mainstreaming efforts from the energy and mining sectors, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing and health sectors.
  • After almost four years following the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol, delegates will have the first opportunity to assess and review its effectiveness. Delegates will also discuss the draft framework of indicators and consider information on reference points to establish a baseline against which future progress will be measured.

Some 79 side events are also being held in the margins of the meeting.  Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar, recently inducted into the Order of Canada, will address the delegates at the opening of the SBI meeting on July 9.

The meeting takes place in the context of the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity and efforts by governments to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.  As indicated in recent global assessments on biodiversity, such as the regional assessments of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the risks posed by biodiversity loss should be considered on the same scale as those of climate change.

The “Global Risks Report” prepared by the World Economic Forum has listed ecological collapse and biodiversity loss among the top 10 global risks in terms of impact. Effective and urgent action is needed to halt biodiversity loss. If left unchecked, such loss will affect the ability of nature to support both people and planet.

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