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ENB on the Side
A Special Report on Selected Side Events at the
Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

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Issue No. 1 - Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Events convened on Monday, 8 October 2012
Financing the Stewardship of Global Biodiversity: GEF Support to Achieving the AICHI Targets
Presented by Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Introducing the session, Braulio de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlighted the challenge of implementing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, calling for a deviation from business-as-usual and for creative thinking on upscaling activities. He noted the lack of a clear plan on implementation for the Aichi Targets emphasizing that implementation should be monitored, outcome orientated, and also consider what types of activities can deliver more.

Mark Zimsky, GEF, provided an overview of GEF’s current biodiversity strategy and evolution, highlighting objectives including: improving the sustainability of Protected Area (PA) systems; mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in production landscapes/seascapes and sectors; building capacity to enable parties to meet their obligations under the Cartagena Protocol; building capacity on ABS; and integrating CBD obligations into national planning processes through enabling activities.

Zimsky noted that after two years GEF has programmed US$ 573 million, more than half the amount originally pledged for biodiversity under the fifth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-5); representing 53% of resources; with PAs receiving the bulk of financial resources. Observing that the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 is so encompassing, he said the challenge is tracking and reporting due to the multiplicity of funding pathways under the GEF.

During the ensuing discussion a question was raised on the financial resources dedicated to PAs, with GEF responding that this allocation reflects country priorities. One participant noted that the Aichi Targets should not be treated equally and parties should prioritize the most critical targets. On invasive alien species and the use of pesticides, one participant highlighted that the cost of inaction is much greater than the cost of action. The GEF noted that their emphasis was on prevention rather than eradication. Another participant enquired about the extent that GEF funds could be used to assist countries to do more in terms of data collection, monitoring and assessment. GEF responded that stand-alone data collection and monitoring projects are not generally funded.

More information:

Mark Zimsky

Implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020: The Case of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020
Presented by the European Union

Reflecting on outcomes for the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP11), Pia Bucella, EU Commission, emphasized that “global, national, regional or local biodiversity strategies will go no where unless they are being implemented.” She stressed the need for good quality plans, financing, commitments and participation.

Thomas Koetz, EU Commission, presented the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, which focuses on: prioritizing, filling the gaps, streamlining processes, integration and providing clear timelines. He discussed six specific targets including: conserving nature; restoring ecosystems and establishing a green infrastructure; transitioning to green agriculture and forestry; sustainable fisheries; preventing, controlling and eradicating invasive alien species; and contributing to global biodiversity targets through the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.

Fanny Lendi Ramirez, Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, France, explained that the revision of France’s national biodiversity strategy resulted in a bottom-up approach towards implementation. She observed that mobilizing business, trade unions, NGOs, local and regional governments involves creating ownership by expecting stakeholders to present their own action plans. Ramirez also said relevant stakeholders should be invited to adopt the national strategy, commit to implementation of targets, and follow common guidelines.

Konstatin Kreiser, Birdlife, Germany, presented an assessment report of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, indicating that: despite needed reform there is no real plan for addressing harmful EU subsidies; and there remains a risk of underfunding biodiversity protection and nature conservation. Kreiser stressed that while globally, EU funding for biodiversity and official development aid for the environment has increased, the EU’s own ecological footprint and production and consumption patterns have not been well addressed.

Participants discussed what developing countries could learn from the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy and implementation process. Lendi Ramirez stressed flexibility with timelines to keep industries onboard. Koetz emphasized refocusing existing funding in the agricultural sector to encourage positive externalities.

More information:

Thomas Koetz <>
Fanny Lendi Ramirez <>
Konstatin Kreiser <>

The People's Convention: A Roundtable on the Legal Nature and Implementation of the CBD from 1992-2020
Presented by Natural Justice and CDB Alliance

Opening the session, Harry Jonas, Natural Justice, presented a summary of the report “Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity: a rapid assessment for the CBD Alliance” that explores gaps in implementation of the CBD Convention.

Elisa Morgera, University of Edinburgh, focused on the issue of legal weight and related uncertainty regarding parties’ obligations. She discussed the challenge of having non-legally binding yet carefully negotiated COP decisions that have legal value. She stressed that the ultimate test of whether a COP decision is legally binding or not is if there is an effect on State practice.

S. Faizi, Indian Biodiversity Forum, discussed how the legality of CBD decisions have not yet been tested in a court of law. He emphasized that the COP and Subsidiary Body for Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) have mandates to review and assess the progress of implementation of the CBD.

Gurdial Singh Nijar, Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity Law, explained how the lack of a compliance mechanism has led some to view the CBD as a nonbinding treaty. He argued, however, that CBD decisions, the Bonn Guidelines, and the Nagoya Protocol highlight that parties do have obligations to incorporate provisions within their national adjudication norms.

Joji Carino, Tebtebba, emphasized the importance of environmental governance systems, including customary law, on CBD implementation.

Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network, argued that the CBD is a sustainable development treaty, and 20 years post-Rio, biodiversity should have been mainstreamed into development ministries.

Yolanda Saito, International Development Law Organization, and Frederic Perron-Welch, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, described the development of a knowledge sharing platform that highlights legal innovations associated to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. They explained that in-depth case studies and an online toolkit will be incorporated.

More information:

Harry Jonas <>
Tasneem Balasinorwala <>
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The Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the side (ENBOTS) © <> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in cooperation with the European commission (EC). This issue has been written by Asheline Appleton and Camellia Ibrahim. The Digital Editor is Manu Kabahizi. The Editor is Liz Willetts <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. Support for the publication of ENBOTS at CBD COP 11 has been provided by the EC. The opinions expressed in ENBOTS are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENBOTS may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>. Electronic versions of issues of ENBOTS from CBD COP 11 can be found on the Linkages website at The ENBOTS Team at CBD COP 11 can be contacted by e-mail at <>.