Plenary addressed Strategic Goal B on reducing direct pressures on biodiversity and promoting sustainable use, and Strategic Goal C on improving the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity. An informal session aimed to identify key building blocks for the meeting’s conclusions and recommendations convened in the evening, to be followed by two informal groups to address Strategic Goal A (biodiversity mainstreaming) and B, respectively.
STRATEGIC GOAL B: SUSTAINABLE USE
PANEL DISCUSSION: Yousef Al-Hafedh (Saudi Arabia) chaired the panel on Strategic Goal B. Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza (Brazil) presented on reducing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, highlighting that remote-sensing centers enable law enforcement, including early-detection systems, forest degradation mapping, and systems to detect logging. Emmanuel Bayani Ngoyi (Gabon) shared his country’s strategic and legal measures to reduce pressures from forestry, mining, agriculture and fishing activities. Jake Rice (Canada) shared experiences concerning Aichi Target 6 (sustainable fisheries), emphasizing the need to monitor fish catches, carry out surveys to assess trends, and report on existing policies and measures.
Linda Collette, Secretary of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), underscored the need for a more productive and less wasteful agricultural sector, taking advantage of natural biological processes and minimizing pesticide use. Gunn-Britt Retter, Saami Council, welcomed the adoption of the draft plan of action on customary sustainable use by the Article 8(j) Working Group, noting that its implementation is needed for Strategic Goal B and Target 18 (traditional knowledge).
In ensuing discussions, COSTA RICA called attention to measures to avoid “green deserts” and ensure the good state of ecosystems in reforested areas. GUATEMALA identified illegal livestock management as a major driver of deforestation and called for further sharing of lessons learned around protected areas (PAs). MEXICO highlighted the need to work with local communities to ensure law enforcement and avoid corruption.
STATEMENTS: The Secretariat introduced the document on Strategic Goal B (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/17/2/Add. 2). THAILAND underscored the importance of monitoring with regard to several targets. LITHUANIA urged focus on identifying gaps and priorities, and use of existing tools, rather than development of new ones. FINLAND called for strengthening implementation of relevant COP 11 decisions and, with BELGIUM, addressing land-use change in a more integrated way. UGANDA highlighted capacity building for monitoring and valuation, and inter-institutional coordination, in its NBSAP review process. BOLIVIA drew attention to its assessment of ecosystem functions, and monitoring systems drawing on biocultural local initiatives. NEW ZEALAND reported on public-private partnerships, development of biodiversity-offset mechanisms, voluntary schemes for industry, and promotion of research. SWITZERLAND called, with the UK, for improving the indicator system and, with NORWAY, for supporting voluntary peer review. NORWAY highlighted: the need for long-time data series and free and open access to all types of knowledge; and raising awareness through “citizen science.”
BRAZIL encouraged promoting available support tools and adjusting them to national circumstances, and increasing collaboration to harmonize the use of indicators across countries. She supported an interactive platform on the CBD website for exchanging parties’ experiences in Aichi Targets’ implementation. The UK urged exploiting growing accessibility of remote-sensing techniques. BELGIUM called for improving in situ observation, availability of indicators, and gathering systems and tools. COLOMBIA called on SBSTTA to promote more actively principles of open and collaborative science, and improve communication of research findings to societies.
On Target 5 (habitat loss), MEXICO expressed the need to strengthen national land-planning instruments and enforcement. JAPAN lamented unclear definition of natural habitat and limited monitoring tools on habitat degradation. CANADA supported development of small-scale monitoring tools and consideration of proposed monitoring guidelines. PACIFIC ISLANDS drew attention to gaps in monitoring habitat loss and in translating global marine spatial planning tools into national and regional contexts.
On Target 6, LITHUANIA recommended coherent action between biodiversity and fisheries stakeholders. MEXICO stressed the need for effective monitoring systems and a comprehensive approach to marine and coastal management. CANADA indicated the need to develop more cost-effective means of monitoring marine biodiversity.
On Target 7 (sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry), THAILAND called for action to achieve policy coherence. LITHUANIA suggested promoting traditional agricultural practices and reviewing existing guidance on sustainable agriculture. FINLAND and MEXICO drew attention to certification schemes. CANADA called for using a small number of globally consistent indicators, and cautioned against creating barriers to trade. PACIFIC ISLANDS urged recognition and consideration of traditional management systems. ETHIOPIA called for a policy tool to help balance the needs to increase productivity and conserve biodiversity. ARGENTINA stressed benefits from collaborating with production and environmental sectors, and ensuring benefits for local communities.
On Target 8 (pollution), MEXICO called for more work on understanding the correlation between specific ecosystem deterioration and pollutants. SWITZERLAND proposed consideration of soil protection-related standards. EGYPT emphasized water treatment and purification facilities. MALI stressed the need to evaluate the quality of tools adopted. SWEDEN noted that the effects of many pollutants and their combinations on biodiversity are unknown.
On Target 9 on invasive alien species (IAS), LITHUANIA suggested identifying insufficiencies in the current policy framework and developing relevant guidance. FINLAND stressed that Decision XI/28 (IAS) identifies concrete steps to achieve the Target. MEXICO called for moving from identification to management and control of IAS. JAPAN favored focusing on different sectors and cost effectiveness in IAS impact assessments. SWITZERLAND called for integrating the polluter-pays principle. CHINA highlighted lack of verification techniques and technologies, and requested that the Secretariat guide the development of support tools. Noting that existing guidance is not sufficient to prevent introduction and establishment of IAS, SWEDEN called for addressing gaps in the international regulatory framework. URUGUAY called for a step-by-step eradication process. BELGIUM called for guidance and tools for identifying IAS.
On Target 10 (ecosystems impacted by climate change), the EU called for urgent action on coral reefs. SWITZERLAND, supported by AUSTRIA and PERU, stressed that mountain ecosystems should be considered, noting their vulnerability to climate change. PACIFIC ISLANDS highlighted information gaps on ocean acidification.
STRATEGIC GOAL C: IMPROVING THE STATUS OF BIODIVERSITY
PANEL DISCUSSION: Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatu (Kiribati) chaired the panel discussion on Stategic Goal C. Stressing the difference between ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) and marine PAs, Patrick Halpin, Duke University, reported on scientific workshops informing the EBSA process. Piers Dunstan, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, explained next steps, including broader engagement of governments and local communities to access more data. He described possible use of EBSAs for identifying and mapping pressures and threats, prioritizing indicators, modeling causes and effects, and assessing risks and management options. Roxana Solis Ortiz (Peru) reported on her country’s experiences in planning PA networks, involving selection of priority zones, stakeholder engagement and studies.
Jane Smart (IUCN) reported on consolidating nationally identified key biodiversity areas of global significance to help achieve all Aichi Targets, but particularly Target 11 (protected areas). Regarding Target 12 (threatened species), she described the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species as “a wake-up call” and a useful measure of progress. Brad Fraleigh, outgoing CGRFA Chair, presented on CGRFA work relevant to Target 13 (genetic diversity of cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals, and their wild relatives), including indicators. Claudia Marcela Sanchez Medina (Colombia) presented on the IUCN’s Green List of Well-managed Protected Areas as a means to communicate success in PA management.
TUNISIA pointed out challenges in implementing the Red List due to its non-binding status. COSTA RICA drew attention to challenges in tracking and protecting genetic diversity, particularly due to fragmentation of habitats. The IIFB said indigenous peoples and local communities are custodians of lands and resources and should be included at all levels of PA management and governance, respecting their free PIC.
STATEMENTS: The Secretariat introduced the document on Strategic Goal C (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/17/2/Add.3). BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA recommended that the COP support improvement of national data on biodiversity. CHINA stressed the need to enhance capacity for PA management, and requested the Secretariat to provide more technical support and case studies for reference purposes. INDIA highlighted the importance of indigenous livestock breeds, and challenges regarding communication strategies and institutional capacities. The UK urged awareness of, and engagement with, efforts in other fora, such as the Ramsar Convention contributing to Target 11 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to Target 12. BELGIUM stressed the need to address direct and indirect pressures on species, and to better address illegal trade. SWITZERLAND raised concerns about terminology used in the Secretariat’s note under Target 11.
On Target 11, URUGUAY stressed the importance of South-South cooperation. BELGIUM called for further studies on developing guidelines and tools for land and water ecosystems management. ETHIOPIA called for policy tools integrating forest conservation and options for alternative livelihoods. CANADA expressed interest in reporting methods used by other parties. FINLAND called for better integration of indigenous and community conserved areas, improved law enforcement to safeguard PAs threatened by industrial activities, and research on interlinkages between PA management and climate change policies.
On Target 12, CANADA called for better understanding impacts of IAS and climate change, as well as the role of the ecosystem approach in recovery plans. JAPAN emphasized the usefulness of a gap analysis in his country’s conservation of threatened species. LITHUANIA noted the broad scope of Target 12 and encouraged data collection on, and effective action to reduce, pressures on affected species.
On Target 13, BELGIUM emphasized in situ conservation and called for continued development of tools for identifying species. MEXICO stressed the need to value genetic diversity and acknowledge that traditional production methods add value to agriculture. JAPAN lamented the lack of international mechanisms and global assessments. LITHUANIA called for decreasing market pressures. FINLAND highlighted serious implications for agriculture, food security and climate change adaptation from declining genetic diversity of domesticated species. FRANCE called for in situ data collection and participatory science.
IN THE CORRIDORS
On the second day of SBSTTA 17, participants expressed mixed feelings on how discussions are progressing under the new format. Some observed with ennui that today’s statements were out of sync with the panel presentations. Others felt that more interaction between delegations was needed to prepare the ground for the development of conclusions or recommendations, eying with hope the establishment of an informal group to identify priority issues. Meanwhile, many participants assessed positively cross-fertilization with the Article 8(j) Working Group, approving the inclusion of representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities in the expert panels and interventions from the floor on the contribution of traditional knowledge to the Aichi Targets’ implementation. Still, one seasoned participant commented: “If we really wish to address the drivers of biodiversity loss, we shouldn’t focus on success stories but on obstacles, gaps and continuing difficulties at the national level.”