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Post-2020 global biodiversity framework: UN pauses virtual meetings

Following six weeks of virtual meetings, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has completed the first part of the meetings of its scientific and implementation subsidiary bodies, essential to the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework due for adoption later this year in Kunming, China. As planned the meetings have been suspended, with discussions set to resume face-to-face later.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
CBD Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

The results of the Twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24), and the Third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3) will provide advice on the scientific and technical underpinnings of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and complement it with elements related to means to support and review implementation, respectively.

“These meetings highlight that notwithstanding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world cannot wait to advance on issues so critical to human well-being, sustainable development and to the future of all life on Earth,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary.

“When we embarked on this effort, we could only hope that it would go as smoothly as it has. Yes, there have been challenges along the way, but with resilience and determination, we have largely overcome the many challenges these virtual sessions have thrown our way. We are now one step closer to adopting the post-2020 global biodiversity framework in Kunming.”

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SBSTTA-24

  • SBSTTA-24 established the foundation for further discussions on COP-15 agenda items. It was the most highly attended session of SBSTTA to date, with more than 1400 registered participants from 127 countries and over 200 organizations participating.
  • Through nine plenary sessions and 14 sessions of negotiations in “Contact groups” and “Friends of the Chair”, the Subsidiary Body addressed all 8 substantive agenda items and developed draft recommendations (available at: www.cbd.int/conferences/sbstta24-sbi3/sbstta-24/documents).
  • Recommendations concerning the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook, the monitoring framework for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, synthetic biology, risk assessment and management of living modified organisms, agricultural biodiversity, and the programme of work of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – were approved and will be formally adopted by the face-to-face meeting of SBSTTA-24. Many draft recommendations have a number of unresolved elements in square brackets.
  • Three other recommendations on marine and coastal biodiversity, invasive alien species, as well as one to be developed on health and biodiversity, will be also considered at the face-to-face meeting of SBSTTA-24.
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 SBI-3

  • SBI-3 saw 1004 registered participants from 115 countries and 158 organisations taking part in the negotiations.
  • SBI-3 heard from Parties and observers on 12 agenda items through plenary sessions, contact groups meetings and Friends of the Chair consultations. During the six-week session, the SBI developed 16 draft recommendations, with some approved at this meeting and others to be approved as SBI-3 resumes later.
  • SBI-3 resulted in several significant inputs for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which constitute important advice for the Co-Chairs of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework as they develop the first draft of the global biodiversity framework and prepare for the third meeting of the Working Group which gets underway on August 23.
  • SBI-3 contributed key elements related to the means to support and review implementation, including resource mobilisations, capacity building and development and mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and review of implementation as well as outreach, and awareness.
  • SBI-3 also reviewed progress in the implementation of the Convention’s other instruments, namely the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, and the Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions related to traditional knowledge.
  • SBI-3 negotiations have laid a firm foundation for further discussion at COP-15. 
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These meetings will allow for the timely preparation of COP-15 and related meetings of the Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols, being held from October 11 to 24, 2021 in Kunming, China under the theme, “Ecological Civilisation: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”.

Due to the conditions imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, governments agreed to conduct preparatory negotiations in a virtual format. The meetings represent the first online negotiations organised under the Convention and do not constitute a precedent for the organisation of future meetings under the CBD.

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