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Editor's Note: Collaborative Implementation 

Issue #167 | 29 April 2011

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By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

Synergies. Interagency collaboration. Integration. A number of stories in this issue of Linkages Update relate to these often discussed goals and how they can be implemented in practice.

The appointment of Jim Willis (US) as the Joint Executive Secretary of the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions offers a particularly visible example of an approach to increase collaboration among multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). His selection followed a multi-year process to examine options to enhance cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, which led to the February 2010 simultaneous extraordinary Conferences of the Parties (ExCOPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. This meeting produced the decision calling for the recruitment of a joint head of the three Conventions' Secretariats for a period of two years. Many will be watching Willis' experience in this role to develop lessons for how other MEAs might develop synergies. Our Earth Negotiations Bulletin team is reporting from the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which offers an early view into Willis' tenure.

Jumping to another issue cluster, the recently concluded 19th meeting of the Plants Committee (PC 19) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) contributes further examples of how synergies among MEAs can be used to promote implementation. IISD Reporting Services' Earth Negotiations Bulletin report from PC 19 indicates that the meeting “set the Convention on a path of increased collaboration across the global environmental governance landscape, in particular by launching intersessional working groups on the CBD Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and on climate change.” Delegates also discussed CITES participation in the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership and collaboration with the UN Environment Programme and biodiversity-related conventions on the definition of the content and modalities of the relationships between the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and other Conventions' scientific bodies.

Both of the recent guest articles for our knowledgebases also discuss integrative activities. Natarajan Ishwaran, Director, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, and Secretary, Man and the Biosphere Programme, UNESCO, writes about the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which has been developed by the Man and the Biosphere Programme. He suggests that the adoption of a new protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing will open a new era for international co-operation on biodiversity policy and practice to demonstrate that conservation and use of biodiversity are necessary conditions for sustainable development. Patricia O'Donovan, Director, International Training Centre of the ILO, reports on the first interagency Forum on Green Jobs, and indicates that “The Forum was developed as part of a larger ILO effort to assess and address the labour market implications of achieving environmental goals.”

Linkages Update will continue to follow and keep you informed of efforts to collaborate, integrate and find synergies among the work of different treaties, agencies and organizations, as well as any assessments of how such work is succeeding. And the search features on the knowledgebases from which Linkages Update draws its material will facilitate readers' efforts to identify and enhance collaboration in the design and implementation of sustainable development policy.