The following events were covered by IISD Reporting Services on Thursday, 15 November, 2018:
Facilitator Jorge Laguna-Celis, UN Environment, opened the event, highlighting the importance of creating “spaces where an open, transparent dialogue can take place.” He emphasized the need for concrete steps to take the biodiversity agenda forward by identifying and adopting joint solutions that allow fostering innovation and embracing sustainability.
Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt, emphasized the need to integrate sustainability concerns in other sectors, noting that “there is a cost for inaction.” She underscored that voluntary action alone will not be adequate to address biodiversity concerns and urged to “raise the bar,” building robust regulatory and legislative frameworks. Fouad further called for “education, information, knowledge, and communication,” directly involving women and youth.
Siim Kiisler, Minister of Environment, Estonia, President of UN Environment Assembly, stressed the need for concrete suggestions and solutions, noting current fragmentation in environmental multilateral negotiations. He addressed, inter alia: the creation of green markets, increasing the share of green public procurements; ways to change behavioral patterns; the importance of environmental data for better assessments of environmental impacts; and resource efficiency.
Cristiana Pașca-Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary, stressed the need to “put down the segmentation and fragmentation barriers, and bring everybody at the table.” She highlighted new solutions and innovative business models that take into account environmental protection, noting the generation of co-benefits. She further emphasized that “scaling up does not mean more of the same, we need a pragmatic transformation,” and underscored that a set of valuable tools are already in place in that respect.
A discussion ensued, including on ways to: move the business case of mainstreaming biodiversity from impact to opportunity; and use innovation to mainstream biodiversity into business operations.
Mark Gough, Natural Capital Coalition, stressed understanding of the value - monetary and otherwise - of impacts and dependencies on nature was essential for businesses to mainstream biodiversity, and that the problem is not lack of data, but their flow.
Underscoring the urgency to address environmental issues and calling for science-based biodiversity targets, Jonathan Ekstrom, The Biological Consultancy, highlighted work integrating biodiversity into natural capital and assessing loss of natural habitats. Peter White, World Business Council For Sustainable Development, called for a systemic approach based on collaboration, an effective multi-stakeholder platform, and clear targets.
Brian Sullivan, IPIECA, noted the need for a detailed understanding of impacts and a holistic apprehension at site level of the effects of human activities. He further stressed the need for balancing energy transition, security, and access. Marco Lambertini, WWF, highlighted the need for a new narrative, a more compelling vision for biodiversity conservation that will bring nature loss at the center of the development agenda. Steven Dickinson, Total, underscored the need provide a Biodiversity Mainstreaming Framework to simplify data-sets, avoid the silo effect, and enact funds for networks of protected areas, including through public-private partnerships. Carolyn Margaret Jewell, Heidelberg Cement AG, noted the role of SDGs to induce sustainable activities and highlighted sector-led associations and platforms.
Gilles Kleitz, French Development Agency, emphasized the need to understand the economics of mainstreaming and the importance of national, sectoral, inclusive platforms that can link with and positively influence national biodiversity activities. Claire Tutenuit, Entreprises pour L’Environnement, called for the establishment of new business models, highlighting the role of regulation in creating an enabling environment and noting that “voluntary action by businesses is important, but not sufficient.” Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director General for the Environment, European Commission, stressed that “we don’t ask the private sector for philanthropy, the most successful businesses integrate sustainability concerns in their models.” He highlighted: the development of business and biodiversity platforms; the need for more effective financial instruments; the need to define sustainable investments; work to develop a kind of an eco-label for financial products; and meaningful pledges and commitments.
Francisco Javier Cachón, Ministry for the Ecological Transition, Spain, emphasized that the circular economy is “the only way forward, there is no plan B,” underscoring the need to reduce consumption and waste generation. Patricia Zurita, BirdLife, highlighted the importance of a single, compelling message from the conservation community, noting the wealth of existing information and data on Key Biodiversity Areas is now providing this. Helen Crowley, Kering, stressed that the last two years have seen amazing successes in the fields of climate change and biodiversity, adding that natural capital accounting offers a brilliant framework to articulate and prioritize actions.
Tita Korvenoja, Ministry of the Environment, Finland, emphasized the need for an integrated approach “to break the silos,” noting that the 2030 Agenda offers a great tool in that respect. Theresa Mundita Lim, Asean Center for Biodiversity, addressed regional initiatives to coordinate on economic, political, and socio-cultural levels, noting the need for harmonization of indicators across the financial and biodiversity sectors. Andre Weidenhaupt, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Luxembourg, discussed his country’s experience as a hub for the finance industry, noting relevant knowledge could be useful in attracting private money to leverage public funds. George Jaksch, Biodiversity Partnership Mesoamerica, urged for more dialogue with the business community, highlighting joint ventures supported by enabling policies.
Facilitator Laguna-Celis summarized the discussion, noting the need for governments, businesses, and relevant organizations to: work together and aim higher; integrate better; move forth in the Business and Biodiversity Forum fostering solutions; and address existing priorities, including data use to improve the management of natural resources.
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Moderator Carlos Manuel Rodriquez, Minister of Environment, Costa Rica, opened the panel discussion by reflecting on how decisions could be taken that really make a difference and change the way we measure success, progress, and prosperity, noting that markets are failing to reflect negative externalities.
Citing the Paris Agreement, Inger Anderson, IUCN, Director General, emphasized that a target needs to enumerate what can be achieved, especially around species, genetic biodiversity, and ecosystems and this should entail translating the Aichi targets into science-based targets for business, against which companies can measure their performance. She noted that countries and companies are coming forward with voluntary commitments ahead of COP 15, in Beijing, and that these should be assessed to see if the Aichi targets can be reached.
Derk Loorbach, Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), reflected on creating a broader momentum for transformational change and how new ways of thinking emerge and develop over time, after routine systems and structures are destabilized. He cautioned against quick fixes and establishing new global targets, preferring to mainstream alternatives that are inherently better, as well as creating communities of entrepreneurial actors.
Emphasizing that “solutions are close to us,” Shonisani Munzhedzi, South Africa, highlighted a WWF southern African sustainable seafood initiative, which allows consumers to check the sustainability of seafood choice, in real time, via the SASSI App. He noted that consumers make decisions according to the information provided and that this then forces businesses to adopt a transformative agenda.
Peter White, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), highlighted three Ms: message, material, and methodology in relation to business engagement. He preferred the term “nature,” explaining that “biodiversity” does not resonate with consumers. He explained that material refers to which aspect of nature is going to benefit or hit the bottom line and where business fits in. On methodologies, he called for creating frameworks so that everything fits together, noting that for the Paris Agreement there was a clear target and that the science was indisputable.
Majda Dabaghi, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), highlighted bottom up and top down approaches, explaining that the bottom up entails aligning business and scientific perspectives on biodiversity, emphasizing the “millennial factor,” where consumers seek to engage with responsible businesses. On top down frameworks, she stressed that leadership is vital and that business should be involved in policy at the global and local levels.
Akanksha Khatri, World Economic Forum, discussed the need for a multistakeholder approach involving making connections on environmental, social, and political risk. She called for engaging on an action-oriented agenda to shift the narrative, pledging her organization’s support.
Gilles Kleitz, French Development Agency, emphasized the need for pro nature businesses and mid-and long-term targets, as well as for working on the ground. He also advocated making voluntary commitments, including on agriculture and the need for using existing measurement metrics.
In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed: illegal logging and wildlife trade; enforcing compliance; establishing a clear target for biodiversity; changing mentalities; and engaging the youth and private sector.
Xavier Jayakumar, Minister of Water, Land, and Natural Resources, Malaysia, and current Chairman of the Like Minded Mega Diverse Countries (LMMC) Group, welcomed ministers and delegates observing that the meeting represented a significant milestone. He reflected on the Group’s success in influencing decision-making, highlighting the Nagoya Protocol as a notable achievement; as well as the adoption of the LMMC Carta to Achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 (conserving by 2020, 17% of terrestrial water areas and 10% of coastal and marine areas, through protected areas and other area-based conservation measures) at COP 13, in Cancun, Mexico. Jayakumar announced that the Sharm El Sheikh Declaration, focusing on digital sequence information, genetic resources, Achi target 11, and the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework would be presented during the course of the day. He also noted that the Declaration had been led by Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and South Africa, while the CBD Secretariat had been the lead organization. Congratulating delegates on its adoption, henoted that the Declaration would be submitted to the Secretariat and circulated as an information document for COP 14.
Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety, Germany, expressed gratitude as he received a certificate of Appreciation to acknowledge his country’s contribution as the largest donor to the LMMC and support to biodiversity conservation in LMMCs, including 500 million euros, per year, for forestry conservation.
Cristiana Paşca Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary, was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for the CBD Secretariat’s organizational support to the LMMC Group. Receiving the certificate, Paşca Palmer: reflected on her engagement with the CBD agenda since its adoption; expressed appreciation to the Secretariat for their hard work: and pledged continued commitment to work in the same spirit and support to the Group.
Melesse Maryo, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, delivering remarks on behalf of Gemedo Dalle, Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Ethiopia, after the appointment of Ethiopia as Chair of LMMCs for the 2019-2020 period expressed sincere gratitude to member countries for honoring Ethiopia through this appointment. He congratulated Malaysia for its stewardship of the Group during the last two years; and looked at the task ahead as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Observing that a significant amount of biological and cultural diversity has flourished and is still maintained within LMMC territories, he noted that coordinated efforts should be multifaceted and would have far-reaching impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. However, Maryo acknowledged limited success, when viewed in the light of challenges to the environment, including climate change, ecosystem degradation, invasive alien species, pollution, and emphasized the need for coordinated efforts by those countries that harbour the largest proportion of global biodiversity.
Representatives from Ethiopia then presented gifts to LMMC delegations.
Expressing continued commitment and support to the Group, Barbara Thomson, Deputy Minister, Environmental Affairs, South Africa, announced that her country had recently designated 21 Marine Protected Areas.
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