Linkages home
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)

Download PDF version
Back to IISD coverage
Issue No. 4 - Friday, 12 October 2012
Events convened on Thursday, 11 October 2012
IPBES: From Establishment to Operationalization
Presented by UNEP, UNESCO, FAO, UNDP, and the German Government

This event provided an update on the intersessional work in preparation for the first IPBES Plenary meeting (IPBES-1) to be held from 21 to 26 January 2013 in Bonn, Germany. Nicola Breier, Germany, welcomed participants and voiced her hope that IPBES-1 would resolve outstanding issues quickly in order to focus on what IPBES can deliver.

Horst Korn, Germany, moderated the panel discussion on the following questions: challenges in operationalizing IPBES; critical innovations of IPBES; how to meet the various needs of users; initial priorities for the work programme; and ways IPBES can best increase availability of data and promote learning and transparency. Panelists included: Anne Larigauderie, International Council for Science / DIVERSITAS, Joji Carino, Tebtebba, Gemedo Dalle Tussie, Ethiopia, Linda Collette, FAO, Hesiquio Benitez Diaz, Mexico, Senka Barudanović, Bosnia and Herzegovina, andThomas Koetz, European Commission.

On challenges, panelists stressed the importance of a robust work programme, highlighting: the selection and scope of topics; giving balanced weight to social science; integrating traditional knowledge and other forms of non-peer reviewed knowledge; and addressing institutional arrangements. They also emphasized the need to demonstrate results in the short-term.

On innovations, panelists noted: the inclusion of human dimensions of biodiversity; facilitation of input from regional organizations and assessments; enabling international collaboration for scientists; and cooperation between UN agencies.

On initial priorities, panelists highlighted the importance of addressing the day-to-day information needs of decision-makers and focusing on practical solutions that can reverse negative trends in biodiversity. They also noted involving IPBES in future preparations of the Global Biodiversity Outlook.

On steps forward, panelists stressed cooperation and co-production, focusing on linkages with on-going processes, capacity-development activities, established institutions, and community-based monitoring. They emphasized that assessments should start small and underscored the usefulness of scenarios in assessments.

During the ensuing discussion, participants and panelists discussed the importance of developing outreach and strategic communication for IPBES. Additionally, they explored potential indicators of success, such as whether IPBES outputs are captured by other fora and sectors.

Neville Ash, UNEP, closed the session with a presentation on the IPBES intersessional process. He updated participants on the nomination process and summarized issues under discussion, such as the conceptual framework, and the process for receiving and prioritizing requests.

More information:

Neville Ash

Resource Mobilization for Biodiversity Projects: Case of GEF Projects in India
Presented by Ministry of Environment and Forests, India and GEF

Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, noted that additional resources are needed to enable developing countries to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets at the national level and that many projects had been catalyzed through innovative sources, such as payment for ecosystem services.

Hem Pande, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, provided an overview of financing biodiversity in India and the GEF portfolio. He observed that resource mobilization is a key issue for COP 11, pointing to the “huge gap” between the biodiversity targets and available funding. He highlighted several scenarios regarding increasing official development assistance, calling for growth in the biodiversity conservation portfolio.

Pramod Krishnan, UNDP, provided a case study of an ecological development project on resource mobilization for tiger conservation in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala, India. He observed that the reserve plays a crucial role as a pilgrimage site and in ensuring regional connectivity, noting that 250,000 million people surround the park with 35,000 directly dependent on the park’s resources. He highlighted resulting challenges including access, resource use and impacts on livelihoods. He explained that eco-development is a management tool aimed at improving capacity to manage biodiversity, empower local communities and foster partnerships. He noted positive outcomes including converting poachers to park protectors and controlling unregulated pilgrimages.

Bhuwon Sthapit, Bioversity International, provided an additional case study, being undertaken in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, of a wild tropical fruit diversity project aimed at conservation, sustainable use, livelihood promotion and food security. He said the project seeks to strengthen the capacity of farmers and local institutions by implementing community-based management of local fruit trees, maintaining diversity in home gardens and orchards, and enhancing the in situ conservation of their wild relatives in forests. He said conservation goals are achieved by documenting available diversity and related knowledge, identifying and promoting good practices that maintain diversity and at the same time contribute to livelihoods.

Ravi Sharma, SCBD, discussed resource mobilization for biodiversity in India, observing that significant funding is required to create enabling conditions and that resource use is as important as mobilization. He emphasized that biodiversity protection also has to be considered along side ecological restoration.

More Information:

Gustavo Fonseca

Hem Pande

Bhuwon Sthapit

Ravi Sharma

Can Gorillas save the Earth? Great Apes as Indicators of Biodiveristy health and human well-being in Central Africa's Rainforest.
Presented by GRASP-UNEP

Opening the session, Douglas Cress, GRASP-UNEP, explained that GRASP is the only species specific conservation programme within the UN with a mandate to conserve great apes and habitat in Africa and Asia.

Describing great apes as a “flagship species,” Cress said great apes are also relevant for livelihoods and revenue generation. Highlighting that great apes are critically endangered, he discussed threats including: habitat loss and fragmentation; illegal logging and mining; poaching and bushmeat trade; and encroachment and disease.

Cress noted that in Central Africa, human encroachment and habitat loss are bringing human and great apes populations into regular contact, blurring the buffer zones that used to exist. He added that an additional threat to great apes is from the extremely mobile human population in the region and lack of barriers into the national parks, which are consistently breached by refugees.

Cress noted that great apes could be used as a “calling call” to leverage conservation and described GRASP’s efforts to use great apes to make links to human health and livelihoods. He discussed how great apes can be indicators of human health issues since the most deadly diseases emanate from great apes and can be transferred back and forth between humans and apes, noting that human pathogens are negatively impacting wild apes. He described Rwanda as a great model for understanding the economic value of great apes through gorilla tourism, noting that this model is not easy to replicate and “so many pieces have to be in place.”

Neville Ash, UNEP provided an overview of the Spain-UNEP partnership for PAs, which builds on the CBD LifeWeb Initiative. He noted that the mission of the partnership is to strengthen management of existing PAs and increase coverage to contribute towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, as well as for local community development. He observed that the partnership comprised of 11 projects supporting 15 PAs on terrestrial and marine PAs globally and that a second phase of the partnership was being considered and additional partners sought to broaden the partnership and continue support for GRASP.

More information:


Douglas Cress
Back to IISD coverage

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 <>.