Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
Volume 09 Number 694 | Wednesday, 13 December 2017
SBSTTA 21 Highlights
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 | Montreal, Canada
On Tuesday, SBSTTA plenary addressed: mainstreaming biodiversity in the energy, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing, processing, and health sectors; the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO 5); and new and emerging issues. Plenary also considered draft recommendations on: tools to evaluate the effectiveness of policy instruments for the implementation of the Strategic Biodiversity Plan; and scenarios for the 2050 vision for biodiversity. The Friends of the Chair group on wild meat reconvened in the evening. A Friends of the Chair group, facilitated by Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana), on new and emerging issues also met in the evening
SUSTAINABLE WILD MEAT
Prudence Galega (Cameroon) reported that the Friends of the Chair group on wild meat discussed on Monday evening the need to respect the COP 13 mandate to “elaborate technical guidance for better governance towards a more sustainable bushmeat sector” and suggested holding intersessional consultations with stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs).
The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (CBD/SBSTTA/21/5). Francis Ogwal (Uganda), Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), presented on challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming biodiversity into infrastructure, mining, energy, manufacturing and processing sectors, noting that they can negatively affect biodiversity unless fundamental change is affected through national planning processes and by identifying champions in the relevant sectors.
INDONESIA recommended involving all stakeholders, including NGOs, and considering means for implementation. GERMANY, supported by NORWAY and others, recommended assessing challenges and gaps for SBI consideration. BELGIUM underscored the importance of considering biodiversity mainstreaming also for the purposes of the post-2020 framework. JAPAN raised concerns regarding duplication of work in addressing the issue under SBSTTA and SBI.
MEXICO suggested: broadening the scope; taking into account new information; and, with ECUADOR, holding more extensive discussions through a panel or online fora. GUATEMALA, SENEGAL, and JAMAICA suggested sharing national experiences, with MOROCCO calling for assessing financial obstacles to mainstreaming. FRANCE recommended: requesting the Secretariat to assess mainstreaming obstacles, exploring links with other work under the CBD to avoid duplication; and, with NORWAY, referencing the UNEP work on green economy.
The Philippines, for ASEAN, emphasized tools and guidance to support biodiversity mainstreaming. NORWAY and the EU called for a programmatic approach towards mainstreaming. SOUTH AFRICA called for a programmatic, considered and practical approach, strengthening of institutional capacity, and inclusion of practical experiences and lessons learned. ETHIOPIA urged a more systematic approach. SENEGAL, JAMAICA, NIGER, and the GAMBIA favored developing guidelines on mainstreaming. SWEDEN highlighted the need for: effective regulatory frameworks, institutions and participatory processes with IPLCs, academia, civil society and the private sector, as well as standards and good-practice guidelines based on the ecosystem approach.
The UK, FINLAND, and GERMANY requested reference to the need for transformational change at all levels to achieve the Strategic Plan’s goals and the 2050 vision. FINLAND highlighted: national dialogues among all stakeholders, especially IPLCs and youth; development of national standards and legislation, including certification schemes, offset systems, payments for ecosystem services and education; and mainstreaming health aspects in an integrated fashion. COLOMBIA stressed holistic and coordinated work on ecosystem services. PERU emphasized the need to distinguish among sectors, impacts and mitigation factors. TOGO highlighted capacity building and communication among different stakeholders. JAMAICA noted the importance of environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility, and, with the MALDIVES, suggested including reference to sand mining, and the development of training tools. NIGER highlighted the need to involve local communities.
INDIA emphasized environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and practical examples on effectiveness, potential gaps and further steps for biodiversity mainstreaming. The EU noted EIAs, integrated management, and business platforms, and, with BRAZIL, suggested addressing biodiversity mainstreaming in the health sector in the recommendation. The NETHERLANDS noted the potential of EIAs and strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) in preventing adverse impacts on biodiversity and providing consultation. CHINA shared experiences on SEAs and EIAs. BRAZIL suggested reference to: the role of the private sector and financial institutions funding projects in these sectors; the use of best available information in EIAs; and mainstreaming actions in national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) to promote exchange of experiences. LAO PDR supported SEAs. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) called for sharing primary biodiversity data collected through EIAs.
CANADA favored inviting case studies for SBI 2 consideration, including information on IPLCs’ and stakeholders’ role, and organizing sector-specific discussions. CAMBODIA emphasized minimizing impacts. The IIFB, supported by NEW ZEALAND, requested inclusion of IPLCs’ role and community-based monitoring and knowledge systems in biodiversity mainstreaming. The CBD ALLIANCE and Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) urged references to perverse incentives, and impacts on IPLCs’ and women’s human rights.
FIFTH EDITION OF THE GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY OUTLOOK
The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (CBD/SBSTTA/21/6). Prudence Galega (Cameroon) and Adams Toussaint (Saint Lucia) presented on the results of two workshops, held prior to SBSTTA 21, on the preparation of the sixth national reports and the use of spatial data and tools for their preparation.
MEXICO, FINLAND and CANADA proposed involving IPBES, FAO and others. Singapore, for ASEAN, discussed relevant regional initiatives, including the publication of the ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook. MOROCCO emphasized the importance of updated data on biodiversity trends and threats. CANADA called for a transparent and inclusive process, allowing for public comments on a draft of GBO 5.
NEPAL stressed the need to include in GBO 5 best practices in conservation. JAPAN, with AUSTRALIA, noted that work should be conducted in a cost-effective manner, supporting a minimal cost estimate. South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, emphasized the need to use diverse data sources, including IPLCs, and address shortcomings, including resources and capacities.
INDIA suggested reference to the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook, climate change impacts and land use policy, and cooperation opportunities under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. DENMARK highlighted the GBO 5 mandate to provide a target-by-target analysis on progress and links to the SDGs, while the IPBES assessments provide the evidence base for analysis. The UK, supported by BELGIUM, proposed annexing the plan for preparation of GBO 5 to the draft recommendation, and taking into account SBSTTA 21 conclusions on scenarios in its preparation.
The NETHERLANDS deemed the IPBES global assessment a useful input to GBO 5. NEW ZEALAND noted that GBO 5 should draw upon extensive sources, calling for timely submissions of the sixth national reports to assist in its preparation. JAMAICA highlighted the importance of: accurate, verifiable, quantifiable and qualitative data including at the regional level; the status of biodiversity in island states; and spatial data.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA suggested identifying regional and subregional policy needs and spatial data. PERU recommended including information on obstacles encountered in achieving the targets. COLOMBIA highlighted: harmonization of global indicators, their methods and criteria, including on the SDGs; and contribution from other knowledge networks. The IIFB, supported by NEW ZEALAND, recommended including reference to the second edition of the Local Biodiversity Outlooks as a complementary product to GBO 5. GYBN and the GLOBAL FOREST COALITION emphasized the need to include IPLCs, women and youth in the review of the GBO 5 zero draft and its communication strategy.
NEW AND EMERGING ISSUES
The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (CBD/SBSTTA/21/8). JAPAN, NORWAY, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, the EU, KUWAIT, BRAZIL and others supported not including any new and emerging issues, noting that all four proposals submitted to the Secretariat do not meet the criteria contained in decision IX/29 (operations of the Convention). INDIA added that an intersessional process on digital sequence information is already in motion. MEXICO and BRAZIL said that the proposal on jurisdiction shopping and selection of non-genetic-material media for transmission, may be addressed at a later stage. BANGLADESH emphasized that refugees’ movements and subsequent pressures to biodiversity should be included as a new and emerging issue. The CBD ALLIANCE, supported by BOLIVIA, stressed that synthetic biology is an outstanding new and emerging issue included in the agenda, stressing that any recommendation should not impact issues already under discussion.
Regarding the process for identifying new and emerging issues, NEW ZEALAND, BELGIUM and INDIA emphasized the relevance of all criteria, urging Parties to accompany proposals with the information requested in Decision IX/29. JAPAN pointed to different views on the need of a proposal to fulfil all seven criteria, and recommended, with MEXICO, that the COP should consider distinguishing mandatory criteria, taking into account the need to reduce agenda items to improve the effectiveness of the subsidiary bodies’ work. NORWAY and the EU, queried by CANADA, called for flexibility in addressing new and emerging issues; and supported reaffirming the relevance of all seven criteria and noting that the extent to which each criterion applies is considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant information. BOLIVIA indicated that the criteria should not be restrictive, enabling the identification of new and emerging issues. AUSTRALIA called for robust assessments of proposals against all criteria. BRAZIL, BELGIUM, AUSTRIA and the UK opposed conducting a review of the criteria. A Friends of the Chair group was mandated to address the issue.
EFFECTIVENESS OF POLICY MEASURES
Delegates considered a draft recommendation. On the range of approaches for evaluating effectiveness, NEW ZEALAND supported the IIFB proposal to include community-based monitoring and IPLCs’ information systems. On sound evaluations, AUSTRALIA and the UK preferred referring to voluntary peer reviews. BRAZIL, AUSTRALIA and the UK suggested eliminating reference to compliance under the Convention, and instead referring to implementation. Delegates agreed to refer to “strengthening reviews, such as voluntary peer reviews of national reports and NBSAPs and options for a forward-looking approach to promote future implementation of the Convention.”
Delegates eventually agreed on requesting the development of a toolkit, for SBI 3 consideration, to assist governments, international organizations, IPLCs, business, and other stakeholders in implementing evaluations of the effectiveness of policy measures.
SCENARIOS FOR THE 2050 VISION FOR BIODIVERSITY
Delegates considered a draft recommendation. BRAZIL, opposed by GERMANY, preferred noting that “progress in the achievement of the Aichi Targets,” rather than the “reaching of the Aichi Targets,” would improve the starting position for the post-2020 framework and the prospects for realizing the 2050 vision. Delegates agreed to refer to the “achievement of the Aichi Targets.” BOLIVIA recommended including reference to participation of governments, IPLCs, and relevant stakeholders in the peer review of the Secretariat’s notes on scenarios for the 2050 vision. BRAZIL and BOLIVIA proposed recognizing the importance of IPLCs’ participation in relation to IPBES.
IN THE CORRIDORS
With SBSTTA continuing its work at a fast pace, some delegates felt that certain substantive discussions were rushed, with intergovernmental organizations, IPLCs, and NGOs bearing the brunt by being limited to one-minute interventions and being cut off even when raising issues about negative impacts on biodiversity and human rights. Other participants, however, pointed to the increasing number of references to ensuring participatory processes and integrating IPLCs’ knowledge systems across SBSTTA agenda items. With informal discussions continuing in the evening on wild meat – an item that SBSTTA is sharing with the Working Group on Article 8(j) starting on Wednesday, some wondered whether observer voices will have a better chance to be heard in the Working Group.