Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
Volume 09 Number 693 | Tuesday, 12 December 2017
SBSTTA 21 Highlights
Monday, 11 December 2017 | Montreal, Canada
On Monday, SBSTTA plenary heard opening statements and addressed: scenarios for the 2050 vision for biodiversity and the links between the Aichi Targets and the SDGs; tools for evaluating the effectiveness of policy instruments for implementing the Strategic Biodiversity Plan; guidance for a more sustainable wild meat sector; and biodiversity and human health. A Friends of the Chair group on wild meat, facilitated by Prudence Galega (Cameroon), convened in the evening.
SBSTTA Chair Theresa Mundita Lim (the Philippines) opened the meeting, highlighting the need for: effective science-policy interfaces; transformational change; coordinated strategies; ecosystem-based solutions; and stakeholder empowerment. Recalling the upcoming 25th anniversary of the CBD entry into force in 2018, CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pașca Palmer underscored: the need to enhance awareness of biodiversity values in the wider global community; the role of COP 14 in accelerating progress for achieving the Aichi Targets and setting a post-2020 path; and engaging producers and consumers through biodiversity mainstreaming. Andreas Obrecht, on behalf of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Secretary Eric Solheim, underscored relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in early December, including on marine litter and microplastics.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates adopted the agenda and organization of work (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/21/1 and Add.1) without amendment. Delegates elected Eugenia Arguedas Montezuma (Costa Rica) as SBSTTA 21 rapporteur.
SCENARIOS FOR THE 2050 VISION FOR BIODIVERSITY
The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (CBD/SBSTTA/21/2 and Add.1). Paul Ledley, Paris-Sud and member of the IPBES Multi-disciplinary Expert Panel, presented on relevant scientific work, stressing that: trade-offs and synergies between the 2050 vision and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda should be addressed; continuation of current trends will lead to substantial degradation of biodiversity and ecosystems; transformational change is required to attain the 2050 vision, while also reaching broader socioeconomic objectives; and scenarios and models can help develop and implement a post-2020 framework.
Several countries supported the relevance of the 2050 vision for the SDGs. COLOMBIA noted the need to define drivers of biodiversity loss and link them to relevant sectors. MEXICO underscored: scenarios and modelling for biodiversity and ecosystem services in policy design; and a focus on underlying causes of biodiversity loss and reduction of pressures, including through mainstreaming. AUSTRIA and others supported scenarios as communication tools.
POLAND highlighted the Secretariat’s conclusions on scenarios for the 2050 vision as an input for the post-2020 framework, with FINLAND recommending “welcoming” them, and GERMANY, INDIA and others suggesting annexing them to the SBSTTA recommendation. FINLAND underscored: the ecosystem approach; with CHINA, integration with the SDGs and other biodiversity-related conventions; and, with INDIA, the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO 5). INDIA highlighted sufficient financial support for the post-2020 framework. UGANDA and others called for capacity building and institutional capacity to develop and use scenarios. CUBA called for technical and scientific cooperation, and resource mobilization to continue efforts to realize the Aichi Targets. MOROCCO proposed applying current scenarios to countries and working further on indicators. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA requested the development and implementation of plans for capacity building for nationally-relevant scenarios.
NORWAY recommended: building upon the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and IPBES scenarios; generating momentum towards an ambitious post-2020 framework; and, with DENMARK and AUSTRALIA, communicating success stories in realizing the Aichi Targets. BELGIUM called upon the Secretariat, and current and future COP presidencies to identify celebrity ambassadors. INDONESIA recommended building synergies with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. SWITZERLAND called for coordination with IPBES, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and others, and for shared indicators across biodiversity-related treaties, SDGs and the Paris Agreement. THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for a limited number of reasonable targets in a post-2020 framework.
JAPAN, supported by AUSTRALIA, suggested including also potential positive impacts from the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors. BRAZIL highlighted synergies with other environmental agreements. The Philippines, for the ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS (ASEAN), stated that the Aichi Targets and SDGs provide guidance for collective action to address biodiversity loss.
BOLIVIA suggested: including ecosystem functions and their relevance to living systems, in addition to ecosystem services; addressing climate change adaptation, along with mitigation; and acknowledging the contribution of indigenous peoples and local communities’ (IPLCs) collective actions in biodiversity conservation. PERU said that achieving the 2050 vision requires addressing broader socioeconomic goals and mainstreaming biodiversity, urging common approaches. The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) lamented lack of recognition and inclusion of traditional knowledge, recommending to urge the IPBES Expert Group on Models and Scenarios to ensure IPLC participation. IUCN called for the vision to be framed positively, succinctly and quantifiably; and for a new mission with science-based targets by 2030. The GLOBAL YOUTH BIODIVERSITY NETWORK (GYBN) requested transparent and participatory development of a long-term vision. The GLOBAL FOREST COALITION underscored local-level action and women’s role in conservation. WWF called for stronger measures to address current challenges and restore nature by 2050. The ETC GROUP recommended analyzing and assessing technological trends in relation to biodiversity.
EFFECTIVENESS OF POLICY MEASURES
The Secretariat introduced the relevant documentation (CBD/SBSTTA/21/7). MALDIVES observed that listed methodologies are resource-intensive and thus unsuitable for developing countries. Sudan, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for technical support, financial resources and, with CUBA, capacity building. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for more detailed information regarding the application of methodologies, costs, robustness and information generation.
SWITZERLAND and the EU suggested: requesting the Secretariat to continue compiling information and develop a toolkit; and taking into account information on evaluating effectiveness when considering the follow-up to the Strategic Plan at the next session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). BELGIUM recommended developing guidance, using information contained in the sixth national reports. BOLIVIA recommended that the Secretariat carry out case-studies on implementation of methodologies. CHINA requested the Secretariat to compile information on methodologies used by parties.
INDIA underscored information-sharing and mutual learning. NEW ZEALAND and FINLAND encouraged parties to share information on individual methodologies used through the Clearinghouse Mechanism. FINLAND proposed considering work on protected areas and indicators for sustainable forest management. COLOMBIA underscored synchronizing efforts with IPBES and other multilateral environmental agreements. SWITZERLAND supported voluntary peer review and recommended a compliance mechanism under the CBD, with the NETHERLANDS expressing readiness to discuss this. The IIFB recommended IPLCs’ full and effective participation in developing assessment methods and inclusion of community-based monitoring systems.
SUSTAINABLE WILD MEAT
The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (CBD/SBSTTA/21/3). John Fa, Center for International Forestry Research, presented on wild meat as a food security and cultural issue, and recommended as solutions to unsustainable practices: reviewing existing policies and legal frameworks; enhancing enforcement capacity; strengthening participation; reducing wild meat demand focusing on cities; and developing enabling conditions.
INDONESIA suggested taking note of the technical guidance to be applied in accordance with national legislation. MEXICO, supported by BRAZIL, noted that sustainable wildlife use should cover terrestrial and aquatic fauna and flora in tropical and temperate regions, and that the guidance would benefit from lessons learned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). POLAND stressed that the issue is pertinent also to developed countries.
INDIA drew attention to local communities’ needs and IPLCs’ customs and traditional practices, as opposed to recreational or luxury practices; recommended “taking note,” rather than “endorsing,” the guidance, considering it, with ARGENTINA, too prescriptive; and referred to consistency with national priorities. South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, noted the lack of alternative means for alleviating poverty; and, with CAMEROON, COLOMBIA and BRAZIL recommended further work on the guidance. CAMEROON stressed, with COLOMBIA and BOLIVIA, IPLCs’ involvement in the process, avoiding top-down approaches.
GERMANY welcomed the guidance and underscored the role of trade measures. ASEAN noted certification, community-based management and growing regulation of wildlife trade. BELGIUM suggested endorsing the guidance, and supported by the UK, FRANCE and others, proposed annexing it to the recommendation. BOLIVIA highlighted the distinction between commercial and non-commercial practices, stressing the need for mechanisms to deal with illegal trafficking. BRAZIL requested the Secretariat to identify terrestrial tropical and sup-tropical areas where application of the guidance should be prioritized. FRANCE cautioned against undesired effects of increasing the price of wild meat. BOTSWANA pointed to the need to balance wild meat demand with moratoria on harvesting endangered species.
ECUADOR and FAO urged recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, with the GLOBAL FOREST COALITION underscoring free prior informed consent. The IIFB called for protecting areas of wildlife abundance and strengthening indigenous institutions. GYBN suggested addressing gaps in the guidance, such as corruption, gender mainstreaming, and developing trust between IPLCs and law enforcement authorities.
BIODIVERSITY AND HUMAN HEALTH
The Secretariat introduced the documentation (CBD/SBSTTA/21/4). BELGIUM and NORWAY proposed requesting IPBES to carry out an assessment on biodiversity and health to help policy priority-setting, and inviting the World Health Organization (WHO) to mainstream biodiversity throughout its work.
In encouraging parties to promote dialogue among ministries and agencies, Indonesia, for ASEAN, suggested adding reference to “animal and wildlife health.” MEXICO noted the need to address plastic residues in the marine environment and pesticides. AUSTRALIA suggested reference to gender equality. INDIA underscored the need for a pluralist strategy for health systems, noting the role of traditional medicine.
JAPAN and FRANCE suggested annexing the guidance on integrating biodiversity considerations into One Health approaches to the recommendation. SWEDEN proposed, with FRANCE, “welcoming,” rather than “taking note of,” the guidance; and “urging,” rather than “encouraging,” parties to make use of it. FINLAND and SWEDEN pointed to the business case for nature-based solutions. The EU suggested strengthening the draft recommendation.
NORWAY stressed that biodiversity loss is a health risk multiplier. BOLIVIA requested reference to nutrition and to biodiversity loss contributing to chronic diseases. ECUADOR called for capacity building and deepening intersectoral dialogue. NEW ZEALAND highlighted antimicrobial resistance and the Liaison Group on Biodiversity and Human Health as a vehicle for collaboration.
The IIFB called for recognizing indigenous health systems and traditional knowledge related to health. The GLOBAL FOREST COALITION requested reference to IPLCs’ and women’s rights and consideration of IPLCs’ integrated knowledge. FAO suggested focusing not just on antibiotic resistance, but all antimicrobial resistance. The ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE recommended partnerships to mainstream biodiversity into the health sector.
IN THE CORRIDORS
SBSTTA 21 was off to a swift start on Monday, with a relatively short agenda but a mere three days to address complex issues such as guidance on sustainable wild meat, integrating biodiversity into One Health approaches, and biodiversity mainstreaming. “I expect some evening contact groups,” predicted a long-standing delegate, hinting at different levels of ambition among delegations with regard to mainstreaming biodiversity in sectors such as mining and infrastructure that have been quite removed from international biodiversity developments. Another participant pondered, “Biodiversity mainstreaming is certainly an area where we can test the desire, voiced several times in today’s plenary, for transformative change.”