Immediately prior to the UN Biodiversity Conference, and in parallel with the High-Level Segment, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Government of Mexico are hosting the 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum in Cancun, Mexico, from 2-3 December 2016.
Bringing together more than 250 experts from businesses, governments and NGOs, the focus of the 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum is on the mainstreaming of biodiversity within four specific sectors: agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism. The topic is in line with the theme of the conference, to highlight the importance of biodiversity mainstreaming for the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as well as the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.
“The expectations for this year’s Business and Biodiversity Forum are high,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “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.”
Mainstreaming means the integration of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in both cross-sectoral and sectoral plans such as sustainable development, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation/mitigation, as well as trade and international cooperation. Mainstreaming also applies to sector-specific plans such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining, energy, tourism and transport, among others, and, in all cases, it implies changes in development models, strategies and paradigms. Mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into the way that productive sectors operate is essential for the long-term viability of businesses in such sectors.
The 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum will focus on the concept of mainstreaming biodiversity from the business point of view, investment opportunities and legal frameworks that give more certainty to investments, as well as better decision-making which factors in the value of biodiversity and the services it provides to businesses. Other important issues relevant for businesses that will be addressed include natural capital accounting and financing, examining the links between climate change and biodiversity, and supply chain policies.
One of the outcomes of the 2016 event is a Business and Biodiversity Pledge. The pledge provides an opportunity for business leaders to acknowledge the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for businesses, and to state their commitment towards taking positive action on biodiversity.
“Conservation International supports the Business and Biodiversity Pledge because of its historic relevance, said Tatiana Ramos, Executive Director of Conservation International Mexico A.C. “It provides the opportunity to bring biodiversity as a subject into corporate sustainability agendas.”
To date, 103 businesses have pledged their support. These include large multinationals such as L’Oréal, Volkswagen and Nestlé.
A signing ceremony took place on Friday, 2 December 2016 for businesses participating in the Forum.