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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 09 Number 710 - Monday, 16 July 2018


Summary of the 22nd Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and 2nd Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity

2-13 July 2018 | Montreal, Canada


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The 22nd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 22) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from 2-7 July 2018, followed by the second meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 2) from 9-13 July 2018. Each meeting was attended by approximately 800 participants, including representatives of parties, other governments, international and non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), academia, and the private sector.

SBSTTA 22 and SBI 2 negotiated recommendations for consideration by the CBD Conference of the Parties at its fourteenth meeting (COP 14), as well as by the Conference of the Parties serving as the third Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 3) to the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) and the ninth Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 9) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which will convene in November 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

SBSTTA 22 highlights included the adoption of voluntary guidance on protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and guidance for avoiding unintentional introduction of invasive alien species, and prolonged debates on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, digital sequence information (DSI), and synthetic biology.

SBI 2 achievements included adoption of a recommendation on biodiversity mainstreaming, and progress in the integration of processes under the Convention and its Protocols, while controversies continued on a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol.

SBSTTA 22 adopted recommendations on:

  • DSI on genetic resources;
  • risk assessment and risk management of living modified organisms (LMOs);
  • synthetic biology;
  • updated scientific assessments of progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in particular targets on which the least progress has been made;
  • protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures;
  • marine and coastal biodiversity;
  • ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction;
  • invasive alien species;
  • conservation and sustainable use of pollinators; and
  • the second work programme of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

SBI 2 adopted recommendations on:

  • review of progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020;
  • assessment and review of the effectiveness of the Nagoya Protocol;
  • mainstreaming of biodiversity within and across sectors and other strategic actions to enhance implementation;
  • preparation for the follow up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020;
  • the need for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol;
  • specialized international ABS instruments under the Nagoya Protocol;
  • resource mobilization;
  • the financial mechanism;
  • capacity building, technical and scientific cooperation and technology transfer;
  • cooperation with other conventions, international organizations, and partnerships;
  • mechanisms for review of implementation;
  • national reporting, and assessment and review, under the Convention and its Protocols;
  • enhancing integration under the Convention and its Protocols with respect to ABS, biosafety, and Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and related provisions;
  • review of the effectiveness of the processes under the Convention and its Protocols; and
  • the trust fund for facilitating participation of the parties in the Convention process.

A Brief History of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992 and opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”). The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 196 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

Three protocols have been adopted under the Convention: the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (January 2000, Montreal, Canada); the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (October 2010, Nagoya, Japan); and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (October 2010, Nagoya).

The COP is the governing body of the Convention. It is assisted by SBSTTA, which is mandated, under CBD Article 25, to provide the COP with timely scientific, technical, and technological advice relating to the Convention’s implementation. SBI, established by COP 12, supports the COP in reviewing and enhancing implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.

Key Turning Points

COP 1: At its first meeting (November - December 1994, Nassau, the Bahamas), the COP set the general framework for the Convention’s implementation, by establishing the Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) and the SBSTTA, and by designating the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim financial mechanism.

EXCOP: Following six meetings of the Biosafety Working Group between 1996 and 1999, delegates at the first Extraordinary Meeting of the COP (ExCOP) (February 1999, Cartagena, Colombia) did not agree on a compromise package to finalize negotiations on a biosafety protocol, and the meeting was suspended. The resumed ExCOP (January 2000, Montreal, Canada) adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Protocol addresses the safe transfer, handling, and use of LMOs that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, taking into account human health, with a specific focus on transboundary movements.

COP 7: At its seventh meeting (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the COP adopted: the Akwé: Kon Guidelines for cultural, environmental and social impact assessments; the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for sustainable use; work programmes on mountain biodiversity, protected areas, and technology transfer and cooperation; and a decision to review implementation of the Convention, its Strategic Plan and progress towards achieving the 2010 target.

COP 10: At its tenth meeting (October 2010, Nagoya, Japan), the COP adopted as a package: the Nagoya Protocol; the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including the Aichi Targets aiming to inspire broad-based action by parties and stakeholders; and a decision on activities and indicators for the implementation of the Resource Mobilization Strategy.

COP 11: At its eleventh meeting (October 2012, Hyderabad, India), the COP adopted an interim target of doubling biodiversity-related international financial resource flows to developing countries by 2015, and at least maintaining this level until 2020, as well as a preliminary reporting framework for monitoring resource mobilization.

COP 12: At its twelfth meeting (October 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea), the COP conducted a mid-term review of progress towards the goals of the Strategic Plan and its Aichi Targets, and agreed on the Pyeongchang Roadmap.

COP 13: The thirteenth meeting of the COP (December 2016, Cancun, Mexico) was held concurrently with Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP 8 and Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 2. The meeting considered, inter alia: issues related to operations of the Convention, including integration among the Convention and its Protocols; progress towards implementation of the Strategic Plan and the achievement of the Aichi Targets, and related means of implementation; strategic actions to enhance the implementation of the Strategic Plan and achievement of the Aichi Targets, including with respect to mainstreaming biodiversity within and across sectors, particularly in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and forestry; and biodiversity and human health interlinkages. It also launched consideration of a series of items on emerging technologies, including synthetic biology, gene drives, and DSI on genetic resources.

SBSTTA 22 Report

SBSTTA Chair Theresa Mundita Lim (Philippines) opened SBSTTA 22 on Monday, 2 July, noting this meeting is special because this is the 25th anniversary of the Convention’s entry into force, and for the first time SBSTTA is considering work under the Convention, the Cartagena Protocol, and the Nagoya Protocol.

CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pașca Palmer highlighted that while significant progress has been made, biodiversity loss is continuing at alarming rates. She encouraged parties to accelerate efforts to implement national commitments, underscoring that many actions can still be undertaken over the next two years to get closer to meeting the Aichi Targets. Emphasizing the need to “build a strong case for biodiversity,” she called for scientists and practitioners to join forces to foster transformational approaches to address the root causes of ecosystem degradation.

Andreas Obrecht, on behalf of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Erik Solheim, said the sixth Global Environmental Outlook, to be released in early 2019, will provide important context for developing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Organizational Matters: Delegates adopted the agenda and organization of work (CBD/SBSTTA/22/1 and Add.1) without amendment. Delegates elected Samuel Dieme (Senegal) rapporteur.

Election of Officers: SBSTTA Chair Lim noted the need to elect five Bureau members from parties to the Convention and the two protocols or, if a Bureau member is not from a party to the protocols, an alternate. Delegates elected as new SBSTTA Bureau members: Marina von Weissenberg (Finland), with Norbert Bärlocher (Switzerland) as alternate; Hesiquio Benítez Díaz (Mexico), with Helena Jeffery-Brown (Antigua and Barbuda) as alternate; Larbi Sbaï (Morocco), with Moustafa Fouda (Egypt) as alternate; Bounkham Vorachit (Lao PDR), with Byoungyoon Lee (Republic of Korea) as alternate; and Sergiy Gubar (Ukraine), with Oleg Borodin (Belarus) as alternate.

Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources

On Monday, 2 July, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/2, INF/2, Add.1 and 2, INF/3 and INF/4).

During the plenary discussion, many supported extending the mandate of the relevant Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG), and that it should address terminology. Most delegates agreed that DSI is not the most appropriate term and some suggested new terms including “genetic information on genetic resources” (Brazil) or “digital data on genetic resources” (Guatemala).

A number of developed countries argued that DSI is not a genetic resource or cannot be equated to genetic resources, and thus falls outside the scope of the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol. Switzerland pointed out that DSI could be generated while utilizing a genetic resource and could therefore be included, if this utilization started with access to a genetic resource within the geographical and temporal scope of the Nagoya Protocol.

A number of developing countries highlighted that DSI originates from physical sources, thus falling within the scope of the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol. South Africa said the focus should be on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits, whether resources are accessed physically or digitally. Many developing countries highlighted the need for additional information on the possible impacts of DSI, as well as capacity building and technology transfer.

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) cautioned against introducing barriers to free and open access to data. Costa Rica noted that for non-commercial purposes, free access and use of DSI should be safeguarded, while commercial uses should ensure the flow of both monetary and non-monetary benefits. The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) called for regulating commercial uses of DSI. The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) suggested that the COP examine the potential implications of the use of DSI on the lands, territories, and means of subsistence of IPLCs.

A contact group, facilitated by Hendrik Segers (Belgium) and Hesiquio Benítez Díaz (Mexico), met on Monday and Wednesday evening. On Thursday, a Friends of the Co-Chairs group met throughout the day and produced a non-paper. This non-paper was presented to the contact group on Friday, and contained four bracketed paragraphs in the draft recommendation and an additional three bracketed paragraphs under the AHTEG’s terms of reference (ToR). During discussions, divergence in opinions surfaced, which resulted in numerous new proposals. The vast majority of these proposals remained bracketed. Eventually the entire text was bracketed and sent to plenary.

On Saturday in plenary, Benítez provided an overview of the group’s deliberations and introduced a conference room paper (CRP). Japan requested clarification on the status of DSI in relation to the criteria for new and emerging issues, contained in decision IX/29, noting that due process should be followed. The Secretariat noted that SBSTTA’s mandate was directly from decision XIII/16. He stressed the criteria on new and emerging issues do not limit the ability of the COP or the COP/MOPs to place items on the agenda. 

Mexico lamented that the Convention still fails, after 25 years, to properly address its third objective. She emphasized that the claim that DSI is intangible and therefore not subject to benefit-sharing obligations when used for commercial purposes jeopardizes the Convention.

Cameroon, for the African Group, expressed deep concern about the lack of progress, noting that an important reason for failure to protect biodiversity is that its custodians do not derive the proper benefits that would incentivize the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Brazil underscored that a pragmatic proposal was made to simplify measures of access for non-commercial research as a trade-off for fair and equitable benefit-sharing, lamenting resistance from some developed countries, noting that “science, the conservation of biodiversity, and the Convention all lose.”

The plenary agreed to forward the bracketed recommendations to the COP and COP/MOP for further discussion.

Final Recommendation: Consensus could not be reached and the recommendation is bracketed in its entirety. Additional brackets exist on a number of paragraphs. 

In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/CRP.10), SBSTTA recommends that the COP note that:

  • the term “DSI” may not be the most appropriate and it is used as a placeholder until an alternative term is agreed; and
  • the issue of DSI on genetic resources is being considered in a number of different international forums, requesting the Secretariat to continue to engage and collaborate with relevant ongoing processes.

Bracketed references address that:

  • access to DSI held in public databases is not subject to requirements for prior informed consent (PIC);
  • the creation of DSI requires initial access to a physical genetic resource, and that, therefore, a benefit arising from their utilization of DSI should be shared fairly and equitably and in a way that directly benefits IPLCs; and
  • some parties have implemented provisions that consider DSI as equivalent to genetic resource.

SBSTTA further recommends that the COP recognize:

  • the importance of DSI on genetic resources for conservation and sustainable use of its components;
  • that further capacity to use, generate, and analyze DSI on genetic resources is needed in many countries, encouraging capacity building and technology transfer; and
  • that the generation, use, and management of DSI is dynamic and subject to technological and scientific developments, noting that regular horizon scanning is needed for reviewing their potential implications for the objectives of the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol.

Bracketed references include:

  • that DSI includes information on nucleic acids and protein sequences, as well as information derived from biological and metabolic processes specific to the cells of the genetic resource;
  • that DSI on genetic resources has important and very positive effects on the conservation and sustainable use, as well as for protection of human, animal, and plant health, and for food security and safety;
  • that the use of DSI on genetic resources and public access to this information contributes to scientific research, that is essential for the characterization, conservation, and sustainable use of biodiversity and to food security, and it provides multiple benefits to society, which should be shared fairly and equitably;
  • the need to strike a balance between the interest in open and free access to DSI and the interest in fair and equitable sharing of benefits with countries and communities providing these genetic resources from which the information was generated; and
  • that DSI on genetic resources can facilitate misappropriation if it is used to bypass national access legislation and no alternative benefit-sharing measure is put in place.

In a series of bracketed clauses, SBSTTA recommends that the COP acknowledge that:

  • mutually agreed terms (MAT) can cover benefits arising from the commercial use of DSI on genetic resources;
  • benefits from the commercial use of the results of utilization of DSI on genetic resources arising from access shall be shared in a fair and equitable way; and
  • the use of DSI for non-commercial research and development should be subject to simplified measures according to domestic legislation, taking into account the need to address a change of intent for such research and highlighting that it is the sovereign right of a party on how they wish to create conditions to promote and encourage research.

SBSTTA further recommends that the COP invite:

  • parties and others to submit views and information to clarify the concept of DSI; and
  • parties to submit information on how they address DSI in their domestic legislation.

An invitation to parties and others to facilitate access and support the exchange and use of DSI remains bracketed, including additional bracketed options to: further the three objectives of the Convention; further the three objectives, including for protection of human, animal, and plant health and for food security; and for purposes of conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of its components.

SBSTTA recommends that the COP decide to establish an AHTEG or an open-ended working group, with bracketed options addressing the group’s ToR.

SBSTTA further recommends that the COP request the Secretariat, subject to the availability of financial resources to:

  • compile and synthesize the views and information submitted; and
  • convene a moderated open-ended online forum.

Additional bracketed requests to the Secretariat include:

  • commissioning a peer-reviewed study on ongoing developments in the field of traceability; and
  • commissioning a peer-reviewed study on benefit-sharing associated with DSI, including examining different forms of benefit-sharing for non-commercial and commercial uses, and how digitization of information in other sectors has impacted benefit-sharing.

Annexed to the document is the bracketed ToR for the second AHTEG on DSI on genetic resources.

SBSTTA recommends that the Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP: decide that the AHTEG to be formed under the COP decision will also serve the Nagoya Protocol; and requests SBSTTA to consider the AHTEG’s outcomes prior to COP/MOP 4.

Risk Assessment and Risk Management of Living Modified Organisms

On Monday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/3, INF/11 and INF/12).

In plenary, many parties highlighted the need for more research and guidance on the potential adverse effects of LMOs containing engineered gene drives before they can be released into the environment. Some specified further guidance on products of synthetic biology, living modified fish, soil dwelling organisms, and coexistence between LMOs and non-LMOs. South Africa pointed out that while there is merit in developing new guidance, it must be practical and respond to existing needs. Brazil stressed the guidance should be non-binding and should be elaborated according to scientific criteria.

Many parties supported establishing a new AHTEG to either produce new guidance or simplify existing guidance. Several raised the issue of additional guidance for living modified fish. Canada did not support developing additional guidance at this time. Some supported extending the online forum. Thailand and Malawi, among others, called for capacity building on risk assessment. IPLCs called for greater emphasis of the possible effects of LMOs on agriculture, human health, and IPLCs’ livelihoods.

A contact group, facilitated by Tim Strabala (New Zealand), was established.

On Saturday, Strabala reported on the group’s four meetings. He stressed that, on a paragraph taking note of the work of the AHTEG on synthetic biology, the group decided to wait for the outcome of deliberations of the Friends of the Chair group on synthetic biology and use the same text.

Plenary then discussed a CRP. The Secretariat noted that the consensus reached on synthetic biology recognizes that, as there could be potential adverse effects arising from organisms containing engineered gene drives, before these organisms are considered for release into the environment, research and analysis are needed, and specific guidance may be useful, to support case-by-case risk assessment. The CRP further noted the conclusions of the AHTEG on synthetic biology that, given the current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of IPLCs might be warranted when considering the possible release of organisms containing engineered gene drives that may impact their traditional knowledge, innovation, practices, livelihood, and use of land and water. With these, and some minor amendments, the recommendation was approved.

Final Recommendation:In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/CRP.8), SBSTTA recommends that the Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP note the availability of numerous guidance documents and other resources to support risk assessment, and recognize the gaps and needs identified by some parties, as well as the divergence of views among parties on whether additional guidance on specific topics of risk assessment is needed.

Regarding organisms containing engineered gene drives, SBSTTA recommends that the COP/MOP: recognize that, as there could be potential adverse effects arising from such organisms, before they are considered for release into the environment, research and analysis are needed, and specific guidance may be useful, to support case-by-case risk assessment; and note the conclusions of the AHTEG on synthetic biology that, the FPIC of IPLCs might be warranted.

SBSTTA further suggests that the COP/MOP:

  • decide to establish an AHTEG on risk assessment, composed of experts selected in accordance with the consolidated SBSTTA modus operandi, as well as to extend the online forum on risk assessment and risk management to assist the AHTEG, and invite parties and others to submit relevant information;
  • establish a process for the identification and prioritization of specific issues of risk assessment of LMOs for consideration by the COP/MOP for the development of further guidance;
  • call for international cooperation, knowledge sharing, and capacity building to support parties to assess the potential adverse effects to biodiversity from LMOs containing engineered gene drives, living modified fish, and LMOs produced through genome editing, with the latter remaining bracketed, and agree to consider at COP/MOP 10 whether additional guidance materials on risk assessment are needed on these topics;
  • request the Secretariat to commission a study to facilitate the process to address the potential adverse effects to biodiversity of the aforementioned LMOs, to collect and synthesize relevant information to facilitate the work of the online forum and the AHTEG, and to convene a face-to-face meeting of the AHTEG; and
  • request SBSTTA to make a recommendation as to whether additional guidance materials on risk assessment are needed on LMOs containing engineered gene drives, living modified fish, and LMOs produced through genome editing, with the latter being bracketed.

Annex I addresses the identification and prioritization of specific issues of risk assessment of LMOs that may warrant consideration. Annex II contains the AHTEG’s ToR.

Synthetic Biology

On Monday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/4, INF/17, and INF/18).

Many parties reaffirmed the need for a precautionary approach. A number of parties supported regular assessment of developments in the field of synthetic biology. Some argued that additional research is needed before any environmental release of organisms containing gene drives, while the Netherlands reiterated that introduction to the environment of organisms containing engineered gene drives should be preceded by adequate risk assessment on a case-by-case basis.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan noted the absence of consensus on whether synthetic biology is a new and emerging issue or whether it is an extension of modern biotechnology.

The Philippines invited parties to develop an international, legally binding definition. Canada considered that the working definition proposed by the AHTEG needs to be more focused. Moldova and Thailand suggested that the AHTEG consider relevant criteria for identifying organisms developed through synthetic biology that might not be regarded as LMOs. Some delegates called for determining which products of synthetic biology fall under the scope of the Biosafety Protocol and the Convention, and whether or not there is a need for a supplementary protocol.

Many parties supported extending the AHTEG’s mandate, while others opined that different options, like using only an online forum, should be considered.

Other issues raised included the need for capacity building, the potential adverse effects of synthetic biology on IPLCs, and the need for a moratorium on the release of synthetic biology organisms, components, and products.

On Thursday, the plenary considered a CRP. Some of the issues raised during the discussion included whether or not there is a need to conduct an analysis of the relationship between synthetic biology and the criteria for new and emerging issues, as set out in COP decision IX/29, paragraph 12, to be completed before any further work is done on this issue. When discussing the AHTEG’s ToR, delegates agreed to prioritize this item by moving it to the top of the AHTEG’s list of tasks annexed to the document.

Parties disagreed on whether the AHTEG, rather than SBSTTA, needed to conduct the analysis of the relationship between synthetic biology and the criteria for new and emerging issues.

Rwanda suggested establishing a process and modalities for regular horizon scanning, monitoring, and assessment of new developments in the field of synthetic biology, and a mechanism for regular reporting of the outcomes to the SBSTTA, COP, and COP/MOPs. The suggestion was bracketed.

On a paragraph calling on parties, taking into account the current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, to apply a precautionary approach in the development and release, including experimental releases, of organisms containing gene drives, Mexico, supported by others, suggested adding “in order to avoid significant and irreversible adverse effects to biodiversity.” Bolivia suggested taking into account human health and the value of biodiversity to IPLCs, and to “refrain from” developing and releasing organisms containing engineered gene drives.

Noting such activities fall under the Biosafety Protocol, Canada and Australia, opposed by Bolivia, Venezuela, and Japan, supported deleting language recognizing that research and analysis are needed before organisms containing engineered gene drives are considered for release into the environment. Brazil and Germany, opposed by Switzerland, Bolivia, Venezuela, France, Norway, Japan, and Rwanda, proposed that research and analysis are needed “when,” not “before,” considering releasing such organisms. Parties diverged on assessment of social, ethical, and transboundary implications, as well as the principle of “case-by-case risk assessment.”

On a paragraph noting that FPIC of IPLCs is needed when considering the possible release of organisms containing engineered gene drives that may impact their traditional knowledge and livelihoods, Brazil said the AHTEG’s conclusion is that FPIC “might be warranted” rather than “needed.” Sweden noted that both versions are contained in the current AHTEG’s report and Bolivia requested inclusion of both.

Regarding a paragraph calling on parties to continue to develop or implement, as appropriate, measures to prevent or minimize exposing the environment to organisms, components, and products of synthetic biology in contained use, as well as measures for their detection, identification, and monitoring, with special consideration to the centers of origin, there were divergent views on engineered gene drives, reference to centers of origin, and if the measures should, in accordance with national circumstances and relevant domestic legislation and policies, assist and manage risks associated with accidental release.

On sharing experiences on the detection, identification, and monitoring of experiences on organisms, components, and products of synthetic biology, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan stressed that components and products cannot be distinguished from each other. Sweden, Norway, Venezuela, and France called for retaining both components and products. After a lengthy debate, parties agreed to retain all three terms.

On the AHTEG’s ToR, discussions first focused on the task of undertaking a review of the state of knowledge on the impacts of current and near-future synthetic biology applications. There was disagreement on explicit reference to applications involving organisms containing engineered gene drives, duplication of work with the risk assessment AHTEG, and whether the review should cover positive impacts, in addition to negative ones. Parties did agree that the AHTEG would prepare a forward-looking report on early-stage synthetic biology applications with reference to the three objectives of the Convention.

A Friends of the Chair group was established to address outstanding issues.

On Friday evening, Natalhie Campos-Reales Pineda (Mexico), facilitator of the Friends of the Chair group, presented the outcomes of the group’s deliberations.

Delegates agreed that research and analysis are needed before considering releasing organisms containing engineered gene drives into the environment. Delegates also agreed to call on parties to continue to develop or implement measures to prevent or minimize exposing the environment to organisms, components, and products of synthetic biology in contained use, as well as measures for their detection, identification, and monitoring in accordance with domestic circumstances or internationally agreed guidelines, as appropriate, with special consideration to the centers of origin and genetic diversity.

No consensus was reached on a paragraph calling on parties to apply a precautionary approach to engineered gene drives, with Bolivia suggesting that parties should “refrain from” the release, including the experimental release, of such organisms. A proposal by Rwanda, to establish a process and modalities for regular horizon scanning, monitoring, and assessing of new developments in the field of synthetic biology, also remained bracketed.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/ SBSTTA/22/L.6), SBSTTA recommends that the COP welcome the outcomes of the AHTEG’s meeting and recognize:

  • that synthetic biology is rapidly developing and a cross-cutting issue, with potential benefits and potential adverse effects vis-à-vis the three CBD objectives;
  • the need to conduct an analysis of synthetic biology, against the criteria for new and emerging issues in decision IX/29;
  • that developments arising from research and development in the field of synthetic biology may pose challenges to the ability of some countries to assess the full range of application and potential impacts of synthetic biology;
  • the role of information and resources under the CBD clearing-house mechanism and the Biosafety clearing-house, and capacity-building initiatives in assisting those countries; and
  • that, as there could be potential adverse effects arising from organisms containing engineered gene drives, before these organisms are considered for release into the environment, research and analysis are needed, and specific guidance may be useful, to support case-by-case risk assessment.

SBSTTA further suggests that the COP call on:

  • parties and other governments, taking into account current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, to apply a precautionary approach, in accordance with the objectives of the Convention, with two bracketed options either “with regard to” or “and refrain from” the release, including experimental release of organisms containing engineered gene drives;
  • parties and others to continue to develop or implement, as appropriate, measures to prevent or minimize potential adverse effects arising from exposing the environment to organisms, components, and products of synthetic biology in contained use, including measures for detection, identification and monitoring, in accordance with domestic circumstances or internationally agreed guidelines, as appropriate, with special consideration to the centers of origin and genetic diversity; and
  • parties and others to continue to disseminate information and share experiences on scientific assessments of the potential benefits and potential adverse impacts of synthetic biology to biodiversity.

SBSTTA recommends that the COP:

  • decide to extend the AHTEG with renewed membership and the open-ended online forum;
  • emphasize the need for a coordinated, complementary, and non-duplicative approach on issues related to synthetic biology;
  • note that, given the current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, the FPIC of IPLCs might be warranted when considering possible environmental releases; and
  • agree that horizon scanning, monitoring, and assessing of developments in the field of synthetic biology is needed for reviewing new information regarding the potential positive and potential negative impacts of synthetic biology, with bracketed reference to developments resulting from genome editing.

SBSTTA recommends that the COP request the Secretariat to, inter alia:

  • convene moderated online discussions in the online forum;
  • update the technical series on synthetic biology;
  • explore ways to facilitate, promote, and support capacity building and knowledge sharing regarding synthetic biology, taking into account the needs of parties and IPLCs;
  • collaborate and convene discussions for sharing experiences on the detection, identification, and monitoring of organisms, components, and products of synthetic biology; and
  • ensure the full and effective participation of IPLCs in relevant discussions and decision making.

Annexed to the recommendation is the AHTEG’s ToR.

Updated Scientific Assessment of Progress towards Selected Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Options to Accelerate Progress

On Tuesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/5, INF/5, INF/10, INF/23, INF/26, INF/30, INF/31, INF/32, INF/34, and INF/35).

After presentations of the IPBES’ recently adopted regional assessments and the land degradation assessment, many delegates lamented the lack of progress on halting biodiversity loss, and called for parties to accelerate implementation efforts, especially on the least achieved targets. A number of developing countries stressed the need to improve access to financial and technological resources, capacity building and specific guidance on how to take up the findings of the IPBES assessments.

Finland proposed referring to the IPBES outcomes in the draft recommendation. China and the European Union (EU) suggested annexing the options for accelerating progress to the recommendation.

China, France, Belgium, and Finland called for greater coordination with other international processes, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

IIFB suggested taking note of information gaps related to socio-economic, and indigenous and local knowledge. GYBN proposed a short-term plan of action to enhance implementation.

A CRP was discussed Thursday morning. Parties agreed to express greater concern about insufficient progress towards the Aichi Targets and information gaps. Delegates debated whether the annex of possible options to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Aichi Targets should be considered by SBI or SBSTTA, and agreed on joint consideration.

A number of parties supported an additional paragraph requesting the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to consider the IPBES assessments, including the regional assessments and the land degradation and restoration assessment, in preparing the post-2020 biodiversity framework and the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook, and provide results for SBSTTA’s consideration prior to COP 15.

A drafting group was created to further address these matters.

On Saturday, Vincent Fleming (UK), facilitator of the drafting group, noted the revised CRP was the result of extensive negotiations and significant compromise.

The EU noted that Annex I, which contains only reference documents, should be replaced by a footnote. Following a proposal by Belgium, brackets around welcoming the possible options to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Aichi Targets were removed.

Cameroon proposed a new paragraph on Target 18 (traditional knowledge), to increase efforts in protection and respect for traditional knowledge and make use of information contained in local biodiversity outlooks on customary sustainable use of IPLCs to, inter alia, contribute to the reporting on progress in implementing the Aichi Targets. Bolivia suggested referencing “ecosystem functions and services” in different parts of the document. Mexico proposed reference to production and consumption patterns in relation to the consideration of direct and indirect impact of policies on biodiversity.

With these amendments, delegates adopted the revised CRP as the final recommendation.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/CRP.1/Rev.1), SBSTTA recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • welcome the IPBES regional assessments and the thematic assessment of land degradation and restoration;
  • welcome the review of updated scientific information, including its conclusions, information gaps, and possible options to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Aichi Targets;
  • welcome the additional indicators that have been identified and those that have updated data points;
  • encourage parties and invite other governments to make use of the IPBES assessments;
  • urge parties and invite others to take urgent action by 2020 on those Aichi Targets, or elements thereof, for which progress needs to be accelerated;
  • request the Secretariat to communicate through the UN system, including the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and relevant multilateral environmental agreements, that failing to achieve the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan jeopardizes the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, therefore, urgent action is required to achieve the Aichi Targets; and
  • request the Secretariat to use and analyze the review of scientific information and the outcomes of all IPBES products in the preparation of the post-2020 framework and provide the results for consideration by SBSTTA prior to COP 15.

Protected Areas and Other Measures for Enhanced Conservation and Management

On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/6, INF/6, and INF/7).

The EU, supported by Norway, called for more clarity on the guiding principles, adding, they should be applied flexibly and on a case-by-case basis. South Africa suggested “inviting” rather than “urging” parties to apply the guidance, since it is voluntary. Many said that protected areas and other measures for enhanced conservation and management (OECMs) should align with national circumstances and recognize the role of IPLCs. Finland and Germany called for additional clarity on the definition and better distinction between protected areas and OECMs. France and the UK proposed that the COP adopt the definition of OECMs and take note of the guidelines and criteria. Some added that cultural and spiritual values may not be applicable to all OECMs.

 Other issues raised in plenary include the importance of the voluntary guidelines to integrate protected areas and OECMs into a wider landscape and seascape, integration of socio-economic objectives in management of protected areas and OECMs; the importance of OECMs for the preservation of areas under the management of IPLCs and beyond national jurisdiction, and reflecting the recognition of IPLCs and women as “rightsholders, not mere stakeholders.”

A CRP was discussed on Friday morning.

On the definition of OECMs, Morocco called for considering socio-economic values, and Norway called for recognition of “other locally relevant values.”

Responding to a request by Canada, the reference to “national” OECMs was removed from the draft COP decision calling for the submission of data on OECMs to the World Database on Protected Areas, to clarify that data on OECMs identified by subnational governments and IPLCs should also be submitted.

Parties diverged on whether the guiding principles and criteria for identifying OECMs should apply across “all natural and semi-natural ecosystems,” “all ecosystems important for biodiversity,” or “all ecosystems.” Parties agreed to reference ecosystems both currently and potentially important for biodiversity in the chapeau of Annex III, coupled with an acknowledgement, in the guiding principles, that OECMs either have, or should have the objective to achieve, a significant biodiversity value.

Belgium, supported by others, suggested a new paragraph stressing that OECMs have an important and complementary role to protected areas in the conservation of biodiversity, and contribute to the coherence and connectivity of protected areas networks and to mainstreaming biodiversity into other uses in both land and sea, and across sectors.

On the list of criteria for OECM identification, Sweden proposed, and delegates agreed, to add a paragraph highlighting the importance of documenting OECMs in a transparent manner to provide for a relevant evaluation of their effectiveness, functionality, and relevance to Aichi Target 11 (protected areas).

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/L.2), SBSTTA recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • welcome the voluntary guidance on integration of protected areas and OECMs into the wider landscapes and seascapes and on mainstreaming these into sectors, as well as the voluntary guidance on governance and equity, contained in Annexes I and II to the decision;
  •  adopt the following definition of OECMs: “a geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio-economic, and other locally relevant values”;
  • welcome the scientific and technical advice on guiding principles, management approaches and identification of OECMs and their role in achieving Aichi Target 11, contained in Annex III to the draft decision, to be applied in a flexible way and on a case-by-case basis;
  • encourage parties and invite others, in collaboration with IPLCs: to apply the voluntary guidance contained in Annexes I and II; and to apply the scientific and technical advice on guiding principles and common characteristics, management approaches, and identification of OECMs contained in Annex III, including by identifying OECMs within their jurisdiction and submitting data on OECMs to the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) for inclusion in the World Database on Protected Areas;
  • encourage parties, and invite others, to take into account the considerations in achieving Aichi Target 11 in marine and coastal areas, as contained in Annex IV to the decision;
  • encourage parties, and invite others, to share case studies, best practices and examples of management approaches, governance types, and effectiveness related to OECMs, through the Convention’s clearing-house mechanism and other means;
  • invite the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UNEP-WCMC to expand the World Database on Protected Areas by providing a section on OECMs;
  • invite IUCN, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and other expert bodies to continue to assist parties to identify OECMs and to apply the guidance;
  • request the Secretariat, subject to available resources, and in collaboration with others, to provide capacity building, including training workshops, to enable the application of the guidance; and
  • urge parties to facilitate mainstreaming of protected areas and OECMs into key sectors.

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity

The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/7 and 7/Add.1, and 19 information documents) on Tuesday afternoon, including on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), addressing anthropogenic underwater noise and marine debris, and marine spatial planning.

Moustafa Fouda (Egypt), Chair of the informal advisory group on EBSAs, reported from the group’s first meeting. During the plenary discussion, Denmark, France, Brazil, Greece, the UK, and Jamaica stressed that the modification of existing EBSAs and the identification of new ones must respect the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of coastal states. Indonesia and others stressed the need for transparency in defining EBSAs. Japan, Sweden, Finland, and Jamaica called for further streamlining the options for EBSA modification and description, and for simplifying the process. Belgium supported a flexible and cost-effective modification procedure.

The Republic of Korea called for a peer-review system to improve the EBSA process. Denmark stressed that identification of areas against the EBSA criteria does not imply management requirements. Greece called for acknowledging the central role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the legal framework regulating activities in the ocean, and, with Jamaica, taking into account ongoing discussions in the marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations.

Brazil asked the Secretariat to circulate their proposal on distinct methodologies to be applied for the modification and identification of EBSAs according to whether they fall under jurisdiction of one state, within the jurisdiction of multiple states, beyond national jurisdiction, or both within and beyond national jurisdiction. Singapore supported the proposal that one or more relevant states can seek modification of existing EBSAs. India stressed the need to consult coastal states on transboundary EBSAs. IIFB suggested that IPLCs should be able to propose new EBSAs to the relevant state and the CBD Secretariat. In other comments, a number of developing countries called for further capacity building.

Many parties called for the recommendation to include references to previous decisions and work on other marine issues, inter alia, underwater noise, underwater mining, and biodiversity in cold water areas, and called for increased attention to the issue of marine debris, especially microplastics.

A contact group met on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

On Saturday SBSTTA Chair Lim introduced a CRP and contact group Chair Fouda (Egypt) reported on the group’s discussions.

While delegates agreed on a number of minor changes, the main text was left with two key bracketed elements. The first disagreement pertained to a proposed reference to the UNCLOS as “providing the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out,” in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 64/71. The UK, supported by Morocco and Greece, and opposed by Turkey, highlighted that this was consistent with previous CBD decisions.

Views further diverged over calling for collaboration and information sharing regarding the use of scientific information related to EBSAs “in the application of relevant area-based management tools,” with the UK, supported by Greece, Denmark, and Iceland, emphasizing that management implications are beyond the scope of EBSAs. Germany and Turkey opposed, stressing the relevance of sharing information generated in the EBSA process. 

In discussing the annex on options for modifying the description of EBSAs, divergences over the need to stress the scientific and technical nature of reasons to modify EBSAs were resolved. Agreement was found on the modalities for modifying EBSAs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, which are also to apply for areas within national jurisdiction if the coastal state wishes. Questions that could not be resolved, inter alia, relate to:

  • whether to highlight that modifications of EBSAs in areas beyond national jurisdiction should be made without prejudice to developments in the UN General Assembly process on BBNJ;
  • modifications to EBSAs within national jurisdiction, with disagreement relating to whether the updated EBSA description was to be submitted to SBSTTA and the COP for consideration; and
  • modifications to EBSAs within the national jurisdiction of multiple states, with parties diverging on referring to the “relevant” coastal states, the states “which exercise sovereignty,” “with sovereign rights” or “with jurisdiction over the area,” and whether this should be done “in consultation with other states concerned.”

Similar disagreement remained on which actors can initiate the description of new areas meeting the EBSA criteria.

On Saturday afternoon, delegates adopted the draft recommendation with a number of bracketed paragraphs.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/L.8), SBSTTA requests the Secretariat to prepare a draft revision, as necessary, of the ToR of the informal advisory group on EBSAs and submit the draft revision for consideration at COP 14.

SBSTTA recommends that the COP:

  • reiterate the central role of the UN General Assembly in addressing issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction;
  • request the Secretariat to include the summary reports of two regional workshops for describing EBSAs in the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and in the Baltic Sea, in the EBSA repository, and to submit them to the General Assembly;
  • urge parties to increase their efforts to: minimize and mitigate the impacts of marine debris, in particular plastic pollution; address the potential impacts of deep-seabed mining; and protect biodiversity in cold-water areas;
  • request the Secretariat, as relevant, to participate in the UN Environment Assembly’s Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter; and
  • request the Executive Secretary to continue facilitating capacity-building and partnership activities at the national, regional, and global level under specific themes within the framework of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative.

Brackets remain around recommendations that the COP:

  • recall that UNCLOS sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out;
  • “endorse” or “take note of” the set of options for modifying the description of EBSAs contained in the annex to the decision; and
  • call for information sharing on the use of scientific information related to EBSAs “in the application of relevant area-based management tools.”

The annexed options for modifying the description of EBSAs and the description of new areas include: reasons for modification of EBSA descriptions; modalities to undertake the description of new areas meeting the EBSA criteria; and key considerations for both modifications and new descriptions. It contains bracketed options on:

  • the actors that can propose modification of EBSA descriptions;
  • the modalities for the modification process for areas within national jurisdiction;
  • the actors that can initiate the description of new areas;
  • modalities for including the results of national exercises in the EBSA repository; and
  • references to either “indigenous and local” or “traditional” knowledge.

Biodiversity and Climate Change: Ecosystem-Based Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/8 and INF/1).

Many parties welcomed the proposed voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The Maldives, Sweden, and the EU supported adopting the voluntary guidelines, while Cambodia suggested “endorsing” them. Argentina underscored the voluntary character of the guidelines.

Many urged enhancing synergies between the CBD and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In this regard, Norway, France, and Germany suggested encouraging parties to take biodiversity concerns into account when updating their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the UNFCCC. Belgium, Mexico, India, Switzerland, and Peru suggested integrating biodiversity in national strategies on climate change. Germany, Canada, the UK, and IUCN called for integrating climate change concerns into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).

Several parties urged addressing the biodiversity-climate change nexus in preparing the post-2020 biodiversity framework. Many developing countries highlighted the need for capacity building, including for small island developing states (SIDS). Other issues raised in plenary included: endorsing the key messages of the IPBES land degradation assessment; the important role of women, youth, and IPLCs; and evidence that ecosystem-based approaches constitute effective and cost-efficient measures for climate adaptation and mitigation.

On Friday, delegates considered a CRP.

On IPLC participation in the design, implementation, and monitoring of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, New Zealand suggested the use of indigenous and traditional knowledge should be subject to the FPIC of indigenous peoples only “as appropriate to national policies, regulations, and circumstances.” Norway suggested such use should only be subject to “consultations in order to obtain” FPIC. Following lengthy deliberations, parties agreed to revert to the original text, which requires FPIC.

A debate relating to Brazil’s unease about encouraging the integration of ecosystem-based approaches when updating NDCs under the Paris Agreement was resolved with France, supported by Norway, Finland, and Cuba, pointing out that this was consistent with language agreed on in CBD decision XIII/4, whereby parties were encouraged to integrate ecosystem-based approaches “when developing” their NDCs.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/L.7), SBSTTA recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • adopt the voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, contained in the annex to the decision;
  • encourage parties and others, taking into account domestic priorities, circumstances, and capabilities, to make use of the voluntary guidelines;
  • encourage parties and others, when designing, implementing, and monitoring ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, to do so, inter alia: with the full and effective participation of IPLCs; ensuring the activities do not contribute to drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem damage and loss; and engaging broadly with civil society organizations and the private sector;
  • encourage parties to, inter alia: strengthen efforts to identify ecosystems vulnerable to climate change; and integrate climate change concerns into NBSAPs and biodiversity considerations into national policies, strategies, and plans on climate change; and
  • encourage parties and other governments to foster a coherent, integrated, and co-beneficial implementation of actions under the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda, other relevant international frameworks, and the CBD, and to integrate ecosystem-based approaches when updating their NDCs.

Two bracketed paragraphs request the Secretariat to: review new scientific and technical information on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, the role of ecosystems for climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction, and ecosystem restoration and sustainable land management, including by taking into account the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) special report on 1.5°C; prepare a report on potential implications of the above for the work of the CBD for consideration by SBSTTA prior to COP 15; and consider the linkages between biodiversity and climate change in the preparation of the post-2020 framework.

Invasive Alien Species

On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/9, INF/9, INF/22, INF/29, INF/38, and CBD/IAS/WS/2017/1/2).

Mexico, Norway, India, Canada, and Peru supported exploring the possibility of a global system of classification and labelling pertinent to invasive alien species (IAS), with Canada emphasizing it needs to be based on sound science. Mexico, Morocco, India, Guatemala, the UK, Costa Rica, and Peru called for consistent use of the terminology “invasive alien species” rather than “alien organisms.”

Pointing to the upcoming IPBES thematic assessment on IAS, Sweden considered the establishment of an AHTEG on this issue was premature and, supported by many others, proposed establishing an online forum. Others cautioned against an online forum, citing challenges with internet connectivity. The UK cautioned against duplication of work, noting some of the proposed tasks would be better addressed by IPBES.

Belgium highlighted the precautionary approach, noting that the most efficient way to control IAS is to prevent their introduction. Switzerland, Finland, Australia, and Canada emphasized the voluntary nature of the guidelines. Niger noted that binding guidelines may be developed in the future.

Other issues raised included determining the socio-economic repercussions of the introduction of IAS, especially on IPLCs; the need for capacity building and technology transfer; a lack of awareness of the risks associated with IAS; the need to promote coordination and exchange of information between institutions, including at the regional level; and the role of the private sector.

On Friday, SBSTTA addressed a CRP.

Canada called for highlighting the “voluntary” nature of the supplementary guidance for avoiding unintentional introductions of IAS. Bolivia urged removing references to “cost/benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis” to avoid restrictions on the methodological approaches discussed in the proposed online forum. Egypt questioned the need to convene additional fora on the issue. Sweden supported a sequential approach with exchange of information and experiences through an online forum, and then an AHTEG to take stock of these discussions. Parties agreed to establish an AHTEG, subject to the availability of resources.

Parties also agreed on a proposal to encourage further work on the classification by the IUCN of the impact of IAS on social, economic, and cultural values.

Delegates further addressed the ToR for the AHTEG on IAS, focusing on the nomination procedure for experts.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/L.4), SBSTTA recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • welcome decision 6/1 of the IPBES Plenary, in which it approved, among other things, the undertaking of a thematic assessment of IAS and their control;
  • welcome the supplementary voluntary guidance for avoiding unintentional introductions of IAS associated with trade in live species, contained in Annex I to the decision;
  • encourage parties and invite others to make use of the supplementary voluntary guidance;
  • decide to establish an AHTEG with the ToR contained in Annex II to the decision;
  • request the Secretariat to convene a moderated open online discussion forum to support the deliberations of the AHTEG;
  • request SBSTTA to consider the results of the online forum and the AHTEG prior to COP 15;
  • encourage parties and invite other governments to share information on national regulations relevant to IAS, as well as regional regulations and lists on IAS, through the clearing-house mechanism or other equivalent means;
  • encourage parties and others to cooperate with the business sector to address the issue of IAS;
  • urge parties and other governments to coordinate with the authorities of customs, border controls, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and other relevant competent bodies at the national and regional levels, to prevent unintentional introductions of IAS associated with trade in live species;
  • recognize that further work on the impacts of IAS on the social, economic, and cultural values of IPLCs is imperative and should be carried out in close cooperation with IPLCs; and
  • request the Secretariat, inter alia, to explore the possibility of developing a globally harmonized system of classification and labelling for consignments of living organisms that pose a hazard or risk to biodiversity related to IAS, and report on its progress to SBSTTA prior to COP 15.

Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators

On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBSTTA/22/10 and INF/19-21).

Many supported the updated Plan of Action 2018-2030 for the international initiative on the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators. Delegates emphasized the conservation of native pollinators in their natural environment, the decline in wild pollinators, and the importance of the IPBES assessment on pollination, pollinators, and food production.

Mexico and Peru suggested the development of good practice guidelines for: using chemicals in agricultural crops; promoting crop rotation; monitoring native pollinators; and, with Indonesia, environmental education programmes. Others called for additional multi-disciplinary research, national and local level data, awareness raising, the role of the private sector, and drivers of pollinator decline in addition to IAS, including climate change.

A CRP was discussed on Friday.

On urging parties to address the drivers of pollinator decline, Peru called for a reference to pesticide use. France cautioned against solely mentioning IAS, highlighting that research shows that pesticide use and land degradation are also important drivers. France proposed, and parties agreed, to add a reference to “other drivers of pollinator decline identified in Annex II.”

Regarding the updated plan of action 2018-2030 for the International Initiative on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators, a lengthy discussion took place on references to LMOs. On a reference to the importance of other direct drivers of pollinator loss, such as monoculture, use of pesticides, and some LMOs, with increasing evidence of both lethal and sub-lethal effects of pesticides on bees, Argentina, opposed by Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela, and France, requested deletion of the reference to LMOs, which was bracketed.

Costa Rica proposed, and delegates agreed to, a new paragraph promoting the development of methodologies to systematically monitor pollinators in natural ecosystems, especially in protected areas or sites of importance for conservation, and in productive ecosystems in such a way as to facilitate the provision of detailed visual maps at the local level and subsequent decision making.

On Annex II (summary of the review of the relevance of pollinators), Argentina pointed to inconsistencies between the summary and the longer version of the report, and, opposed by Bolivia, called for deleting the paragraph on the threats posed by genetically modified crops that carry traits for herbicide tolerance or insect resistance. The Chair asked for bilateral consultations to resolve the matter.

On Saturday, Bolivia proposed to add a preambular acknowledgement of the importance of pollinators to IPLCs. A proposal by Mexico on genetically modified crops carrying traits for herbicide tolerance or insect resistance was bracketed.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/L.5), SBSTTA recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • adopt the Plan of Action 2018-2030 for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators as contained in Annex I to the decision;
  • welcome, or take note of, the summary of information on the relevance of pollinators and pollination to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in all ecosystems beyond their role in agriculture and food production, contained in Annex II to the decision;
  • encourage parties and others to support and implement relevant activities of the International Initiative on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators;
  • urge parties and invite other governments to address the drivers of pollinator decline in all ecosystems;
  • encourage parties and invite other governments to integrate the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators and their habitats into land management and protected areas policies;
  • encourage parties and invite other governments to encourage the private sector, academic and research bodies, farmers, and other non-state actors to take actions to address pollinator decline; and
  • request the Secretariat to, inter alia, develop guidelines and best practices for implementing the Plan of Action, and consider the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators in preparations for the post-2020 framework.

Second Work Programme of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CBD/SBSTTA/22/11).

Anne Larigauderie, IPBES Executive Secretary, stressed the rolling nature of the second work programme, and discussed the two main workstreams: the strategic framework focusing on processes, institutional arrangements, integration of work, and resource mobilization; and potential topics to be addressed in future IPBES activities.

Many parties supported the draft recommendations, expressed readiness to produce suggestions for the second IPBES work programme, and highlighted the need to ensure that IPBES’ work informs the development of the post-2020 framework. There was also support for the rolling work programme to allow greater flexibility to respond to emerging policy needs, while providing a long-term structure that allows research organizations to effectively contribute to the process. Many stressed the need to streamline the extensive list of suggestions and focus requests on critical issues.

Mexico noted that the assessments’ findings need to be user-friendly to assist decision making. Switzerland proposed regular global assessment cycles of six to ten years.

A CRP was discussed on Friday evening.

In both the draft recommendation and the annex, which contains items that the CBD requests IPBES to consider in the context of its strategic framework and work programme towards 2030, the UK, Denmark, and others amended items to address concerns that the Convention should not be interfering with IPBES independence.

The recommendations were adopted on Saturday.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBSTTA/22/L.3), SBSTTA urges parties to respond to IPBES’ call for requests, inputs, and suggestions, and requests the Secretariat to transmit the list of elements, annexed to the recommendation to the IPBES Secretariat.

SBSTTA recommends that COP 14:

  • welcome the approval by IPBES to undertake three new assessments and its efforts to further enhance its cooperation with the IPCC;
  • agree that the strategic framework up to 2030 and elements of the IPBES rolling work programme should be relevant to the post-2020 framework, noting that they are expected to be relevant also to the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other biodiversity-related processes, and recognizing that the rolling nature of the work programme should allow for the ongoing exchange of information and further requests from the Convention;
  • recognize the benefits to the Convention of enhanced cooperation between IPBES and other relevant assessment activities undertaken by UN agencies and multilateral environmental agreements;
  • invite IPBES to consider the request contained in the annex as part of its strategic framework and work programme towards 2030, and to allow for additional inputs in the light of the development of the post-2020 framework; and
  • request SBSTTA to prepare for consideration by COP15 proposals for a further request to the work programme, and the Secretariat to develop modalities for the systematic consideration of all IPBES deliverables.

Annexed to the recommendation is the request for consideration by IPBES in the context of its strategic framework and work programme towards 2030. It includes an invitation to IPBES to take into account initial requests for its rolling work programme, including on:

  • understanding and assessing the behavioral, social, economic, institutional, technical, and technological determinants of transformational change;
  • developing a multi-disciplinary approach to understand the interactions of direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss; assessing issues at the nexus of biodiversity, food and water, agriculture and health and nutrition, forestry and fisheries and related policy options regarding sustainable production and consumption, pollution and urbanization, including implications for energy and climate;
  • undertaking methodological assessments on the effectiveness of various policy instruments, and policy and planning support to tools; and
  • assessing the potential positive and negative impacts of productive sectors.

Closure of the Meeting

On Saturday evening, 7 July, Rapporteur Samuel Dieme introduced the report of the meeting (CBD/SBSTTA/22/L.1), which was adopted with one minor amendment.

CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Paşca Palmer highlighted that the meeting demonstrated the urgent need to accelerate progress towards achieving the Aichi Targets. Drawing attention to recommendations on protected areas, ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and pollinators, she stressed the need to operationalize outcomes, engage new stakeholders, and develop transformative solutions.

SBSTTA Chair Lim urged participants to make the most of the 900 days left to implement the Strategic Plan and its Aichi Targets.

Maldives, for Asia/Pacific, stressed the need to fund developing country delegates, and accelerate implementation of the Aichi Targets and development of the post-2020 framework. Austria, for the EU, expressed readiness to step up actions to maximize efforts to achieve the Aichi Targets.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) noted the benefits of regional cooperation for, inter alia, implementation, monitoring, and capacity building.

Egypt, for the African Group, stressed that progress needs to continue in Sharm el Sheikh.

Mexico, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), highlighted the CBD is undergoing a learning process, inter alia, pointing to the mainstreaming of biodiversity across sectors and the development of the post-2020 framework. 

IIFB called on parties to continue supporting the full and effective participation of IPLCs in CBD meetings.

Third World Network lamented the meeting was a missed opportunity to move forward on DSI, and urged parties to make concrete progress on the issue at COP 14.

SBSTTA Chair Lim gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:43 pm.

SBI 2 Report

On Monday, 9 July, SBI 2 Chair Francis Ogwal (Uganda) opened the meeting and outlined the agenda. On behalf of the COP 13 Presidency, Jorge Carlos Hurtado Valdez, Vice-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico, drew attention to the country’s efforts to promote biodiversity mainstreaming, both at the national level and across international processes.

CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Paşca Palmer expressed appreciation to parties providing financial support, including facilitating participation of least developed countries (LDCs), SIDS, and IPLCs. She highlighted the entry into force of the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; and the successful seventh replenishment of the GEF, with US$1.3 billion programmed for biodiversity. She stressed that pathways for the future need to be systemic, inclusive, and transformative, and benefit human well-being, the economy, and the planet.

Jiří Hlaváček, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim, underscored the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity in various sectors. Roberta Bondar, Roberta Bondar Foundation, highlighted the relationship between human behavior, perspective, and commitment to achieve “what we ethically need to as life forms on the planet.”

Organizational Matters: Delegates adopted the agenda and organization of work (CBD/SBI/2/1/Rev.1 and Add.1), with an amendment to consider preparation for the follow up to the Strategic Plan after biodiversity mainstreaming; and elected Elena Makeyeva (Belarus) as the meeting’s rapporteur.

Review of Progress in the Implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan

This item was discussed in plenary on Monday, 9 July (CBD/SBI/2/2, 2/Add.1-3, INF/5, 10, and 11, and CBD/SBSTTA/22/INF/30). A CRP was considered on Wednesday.

Many supported the draft recommendations on the review of the NBSAPs and national reports, and the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action.

The EU emphasized the urgency of strengthening action for implementation. New Zealand, Venezuela, and Cameroon, for the African Group, noted with concern that commitment and activities need to be scaled up to achieve the Aichi Targets. Many stressed the importance of finance, technology transfer, and capacity building.

India lamented that the 2015 Aichi Targets 10 (coral reefs) and 17 (NBSAPs) have not been achieved. Malawi called for gender responsive actions and the full and effective participation of youth.

Switzerland suggested involving parties in the NBSAP analysis process. China highlighted that stocktaking exercises contribute to accelerating progress. Colombia urged focusing on bottlenecks impeding progress, and called for exchanging best practices.

UNEP-WCMC stressed the need for integrated and synergistic approaches to implementing biodiversity targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). GBIF invited parties to contribute to harnessing the power of big data to support the implementation of the Convention.

The IIFB lamented that many countries did not involve IPLC representatives in NBSAP development and, supported by Canada, called for considering local biodiversity outlooks in NBSAP revision.

GYBN urged parties to integrate gender as a cross-cutting issue and core activity in the post-2020 framework.

During discussion on the CRP, the Republic of Korea proposed that the Secretariat update the analysis of progress on the basis of the sixth national reports, for consideration by SBI 3. The EU suggested requesting the Secretariat to include a discussion on the linkages between gender and biodiversity, and the lessons learned from the implementation of the Gender Plan of Action, within the regional consultations on the post-2020 framework.

On Friday, the final recommendation was adopted without amendment.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.2), the SBI recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • recognize the efforts made by parties to translate the Aichi Targets into national commitments and actions, but note with concern the findings of the updated assessment of progress towards the achievement of the Targets;
  • note that some parties have integrated their NBSAPs into other national environmental and development strategies and that this can facilitate more effective resource mobilization and communication;
  • invite parties that have adopted their NBSAPs as whole-of-government policy instruments to share, including through the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention, their experiences, best practices, and challenges encountered;
  • urge parties to significantly accelerate efforts to implement the Strategic Plan;
  • invite parties to collaborate with IPLCs, civil society organizations, women’s groups, and other stakeholders to accelerate progress in implementation;
  • welcome the options to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Aichi Targets contained in the annex to SBSTTA recommendation XXII/4, and urge parties and invite others to make use of the options; and
  • encourage parties to submit the sixth national report in a timely manner, and request the Secretariat to continue to update the analysis of progress towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan on the basis of information contained in the sixth national reports.

On the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action, the SBI recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • emphasize the need to address gender considerations in the development of the post-2020 framework and in line with the gender targets of the SDGs;
  • encourage parties to develop and implement gender-responsive strategies and actions to support implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan; and
  • request the Secretariat, inter alia, to review the implementation of the Gender Plan of Action, to identify gaps, best practices, and lessons learned.

Assessment and Review of the Effectiveness of the Nagoya Protocol

The SBI plenary discussed the item on Monday, including draft recommendations, and a draft framework of indicators and reference points to measure progress (CBD/SBI/2/3, and INF/3, 4, 7, and 8).

Many supported the draft recommendations and said it is premature to assess the effectiveness of the Nagoya Protocol at this early stage of implementation. The EU noted that further efforts are needed to fully operationalize the Protocol, and stressed the need for mutual supportiveness with relevant instruments, such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). Ecuador, with many, highlighted needs for capacity building and institutional strengthening. Many called for continued GEF support.

Indonesia highlighted the importance of coordination among relevant sectors and regulations on ABS. Uruguay noted that Protocol implementation should reflect parties’ biodiversity, and cultural and socio-economic characteristics. Guatemala, and Antigua and Barbuda suggested that implementation of the Protocol provisions relevant to IPLCs should take into account their norms, collective actions, and customary rights.

Switzerland stressed the need to ensure legal certainty and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens, and to provide clear and regularly updated information to the ABS clearing-house.

Norway and others appreciated the indicators framework as a flexible tool that can be adapted as progress is made. South Africa said future assessments should cover, among other issues, compliance with mutually agreed terms (MAT), and scientific collaboration and technology transfer.

On Wednesday, plenary addressed a CRP. Delegates decided to assess relevant elements, including model contractual clauses and other tools to facilitate compliance, and a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism, at the second review. On a survey targeting ABS national focal points and users of genetic resources, Mexico suggested that providers of genetic resources be included. The recommendations were approved as amended. Delegates then approved, without amendments, two annexes containing the key findings of the first assessment and review of the Nagoya Protocol, and the draft framework of indicators and reference points to measure progress.

On Friday, the final recommendation was adopted.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.3), the SBI recommends that the Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP:

  • take note of the annexed key findings of the first assessment and review of the Protocol;
  • welcome the annexed framework of indicators and agree to use the reference points as a baseline;
  • urge parties to establish institutional structures and measures on ABS, and publish all mandatory information in the ABS clearing-house;
  • invite parties to establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate national coordination among different institutions and ministries of relevance to ABS, the full and effective participation of IPLCs, and the participation of relevant stakeholders in policy making; and
  • request the Secretariat, inter alia: to carry out a targeted survey of ABS national focal points and users and providers of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge on challenges related to the implementation of the Protocol; and seek feedback from users on the ABS clearing-house.

Two annexes address, respectively, the key findings of the first assessment and review of the Protocol, and a framework of indicators and reference points to measure progress.

Mainstreaming of Biodiversity within and across Sectors, and Other Strategic Actions to Enhance Implementation

On Monday, plenary heard a presentation by Jimmiel Mandima (African Wildlife Foundation) and Neville Ash (UNEP-WCMC) on cross-sectoral examples and lessons learned on mainstreaming biodiversity.

The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBI/2/4, 4/Add.1-5, and INF/31, 36, 37, and 39), including proposals for a long-term strategic approach and the establishment of an expert group on mainstreaming. Many delegates welcomed the recommendations and emphasized the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity to achieve the CBD objectives. Norway emphasized linking biodiversity mainstreaming efforts to the SDGs. Many stressed financial and capacity needs. Argentina urged building on the indicators developed in the context of the SDGs and, with the Maldives, stressed acknowledging different circumstances and national priorities in mainstreaming.

Many supported the establishment of an expert group, with New Zealand and Canada calling for clarifying its tasks and expediting its deliberations to report back at SBI 3. Switzerland expressed doubt about the need for a new group or new reporting requirements, noting merit in exchanging relevant experiences. The EU supported establishment of an informal advisory group. Birdlife International said the expert group should prepare voluntary guidance for various sectors.

Morocco and Canada proposed that the Secretariat compile national experiences. The EU and Mexico proposed identifying sustainable consumption and production patterns as pathways for mainstreaming. Uruguay and India highlighted impact assessment tools. Niger, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the Balkan sub-region of CEE, emphasized the role of education for behavioral change. Japan proposed the provision of incentives to promote public disclosure of corporate activities related to biodiversity.

China delineated how “ecological civilization,” the country’s long-term approach to development, contributes to biodiversity mainstreaming. India highlighted the potential for NBSAPs to function as mainstreaming tools if their development is conducted in an inclusive manner. Ethiopia called for including the finance sector.

Sudan emphasized the need to take into account the role of IPLCs in mainstreaming biodiversity. The IIFB called for procedural safeguards, including access to information and FPIC.

The Group of Leading Subnational Governments proposed mentioning their efforts in the sixth national reports and enhancing collaboration for biodiversity mainstreaming. FAO highlighted its biodiversity mainstreaming platform, launched at COP 13.

On Wednesday delegates addressed a CRP on this agenda item. In a paragraph emphasizing that mainstreaming of biodiversity is critical for implementation and that transformational change is required, parties diverged on whether to refer to the Strategic Plan’s 2050 Vision for Biodiversity. Deliberations continued in a Friends of the Chair group.

On Thursday discussions on the CRP resumed. There was broad agreement on acknowledging the work of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and specifically welcoming its work on fostering biodiversity-friendly practices in the energy sector. Mexico requested further highlighting linkages between biodiversity and the health sector. Venezuela proposed referring to ecosystem services “and functions.”

Following discussions and several amendments, delegates agreed to two suggestions by the EU: to provide, where appropriate and efficient, incentives to mainstream biodiversity in the energy and mining, infrastructure, and manufacturing and processing sectors in harmony with international obligations; and to promote and strengthen best practices on sustainable production and consumption implemented in the aforementioned sectors, and sectors that favor conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Reference to the health sector remained in brackets.

A lengthy discussion took place on whether to refer to “ecosystem values” or “the importance of ecosystems,” as well as on whether to refer to the “business and financial sectors” or “productive sectors.” The items remained in brackets.

Canada proposed, and delegates agreed, to request the Secretariat to undertake additional analysis to examine the role of IPLCs in mainstreaming biodiversity in relevant sectors.

On Friday, Friends of the Chair group facilitator Hayo Haanstra (Netherlands) reported that agreement was reached on a number of outstanding issues, including on:

  • moving references to the health sector into a dedicated draft decision on health and biodiversity for adoption by COP 14; and
  • streamlining the annex to split activities to be carried out by the Secretariat from those for which the activities of the Secretariat would be informed by the Informal Advisory Group on mainstreaming of biodiversity and the Bureau.

Brazil further reported agreement was found to refer to decision X/3 in which reference is made to the “intrinsic value, ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic values of biological diversity and its components.”

The recommendation was adopted as amended.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.21), the SBI:

  • emphasizes the important role of IPLCs, women, youth, local and subnational governments, and other relevant stakeholders, in promoting and implementing the mainstreaming of biodiversity in energy and mining, infrastructure, and manufacturing and processing sectors;
  • encourages parties to include in their sixth national reports information on actions on mainstreaming biodiversity, including efforts to engage and collaborate with IPLCs, and stakeholders such as women, youth, and local and subnational governments.

The SBI recommends that the COP welcome the work done by the CMS and its multi-stakeholder Energy Task Force to advance biodiversity-friendly practices in the energy sector. The SBI also recommends that the COP encourage parties, and other governments and relevant stakeholders, notably public and private entities engaged in the energy and mining, infrastructure, and manufacturing and processing sectors, as relevant, in accordance with their national capacities and circumstances, priorities, and regulations to:

  • include approaches to conserve, enhance, and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services in upstream decisions on investments in these sectors;
  • review legal frameworks, policies, and practices to foster the mainstreaming of biodiversity in these sectors, including safeguard measures such as consultations and monitoring and oversight measures, in order to obtain FPIC, with the full and effective participation of all relevant stakeholders; and
  • review and use, as appropriate, existing tools to promote biodiversity-related sustainable production and consumption in these sectors.

The SBI also recommends that the COP

  • decide to establish a long-term strategic approach for mainstreaming biodiversity;
  • decide to establish an Informal Advisory Group on Mainstreaming of Biodiversity, to advise the Secretariat and the Bureau on the further development of the proposal for a long-term approach to mainstreaming biodiversity, to be considered by SBI 3; and
  • request the Secretariat, and invite the World Health Organization to: develop integrated science-based indicators, metrics, and progress measurement tools on biodiversity and health; develop targeted messaging approaches on mainstreaming biodiversity for the health sector; and develop a draft global action plan to mainstream biodiversity and health linkages into national policies, strategies, programmes, and accounts.

The recommendation contains two annexes: a proposal for a long-term strategic approach to mainstreaming biodiversity; and the ToR for the Informal Advisory Group.

Preparation for the Follow up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity

This item was discussed in plenary on Tuesday (CBD/SBI/2/17, INF/26, INF/35, CBD/SBSTTA/21/INF/2/Rev.1, INF/3/Rev.1, INF/4/Rev.1, and INF/18/Rev.1).

Canada, also for Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Japan, called for a process based on transparency, fairness, and inclusiveness. He urged for expediting the first draft of the post-2020 framework, inviting technical inputs from experts, and developing a more concrete, practical, and effective roadmap. Switzerland emphasized integrating the other biodiversity-related conventions and all stakeholders to enhance synergies and support transformative change. Malawi, with many, stressed the need to actively engage IPLCs and all stakeholders. Jamaica called to engage non-traditional partners, including sectors driving biodiversity loss.

India noted that the process should be flexible to adapt to new circumstances, and build on the existing Strategic Plan by developing few, specific, measurable, and realistic targets. China said post-2020 goals should be limited and achievable. The EU called for launching a process to leverage voluntary biodiversity commitments, including from the private sector. New Zealand said NBSAPs should continue to play a crucial role. South Africa said there is merit in the UNFCCC approach of NDCs.

Mexico called for an inclusive process, leading to a coherent plan with broad sectoral participation, and called for either a high-level panel or an informal advisory group to facilitate strategic planning. Switzerland and Peru called for a high-level panel. Egypt called for identifying “champions,” pointing to the role of cities in shaping the post-2020 framework. The Republic of Korea urged establishing indicators for the post-2020 framework.

Norway, the EU, Seychelles, Morocco, and others said the framework should relate to the SDGs and make use of SDG-related indicators. Norway stressed that the process should: be innovative, flexible, and action-oriented; integrate the Protocols; and capitalize on the 2030 Agenda, building political momentum. Tajikistan, for CEE, supported convening a high-level event on biodiversity at the UN General Assembly. Palestine stressed the importance of education.

Maldives, for SIDS, lamented limited progress on implementation, including the Samoa Pathway. Morocco urged focusing on means of implementation, rather than on negotiating a new framework. Many called for strengthening regional consultation processes and regional workshops to exchange expertise. A Friends of the Chair group was established.

On Thursday, Prudence Galega (Cameroon), Chair of the Friends of the Chair group, reported on the group’s deliberations, noting the resulting CRP contains no brackets.

Following lengthy debate on whether to refer to biodiversity “initiatives” or “commitments,” delegates agreed to encourage parties and invite others to consider developing, prior to COP 15, as appropriate to the national context and on a voluntary basis, biodiversity commitments that may contribute to an effective post-2020 framework, commensurate with achieving the 2050 vision. Delegates further discussed developing a specific plan for the Nagoya Protocol as part of the post-2020 framework, as an analogy to the follow-up to the Strategic Plan for the Biosafety Protocol. The proposed paragraph was left in brackets.

During adoption on Friday, Argentina, with Cuba and South Africa, urged removing the brackets around the decision to develop a specific plan for the Nagoya Protocol as part of the post-2020 framework. Switzerland opposed, noting the Nagoya Protocol is not fully operational yet. The EU said no plan is required for the Nagoya Protocol, because it is integrated with the Aichi Targets and would therefore be addressed as part of the post-2020 framework. The decision was adopted with the text remaining in brackets.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.11), the SBI requests the Secretariat to, inter alia

  • invite further views from parties and others on the preparatory process for the development of the post-2020 framework;
  • update by COP 14 the proposed preparatory process; and
  • invite initial views from parties and others on the aspects of the scope and content of the post-2020 framework, including the scientific underpinning of the scale and scope of actions necessary to make progress towards the 2050 vision, and a possible structure for the post-2020 framework.

The SBI recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • adopt the preparatory process for the development of the post-2020 framework, and request the Secretariat to facilitate its implementation;
  • decide that the post-2020 framework should be accompanied by an inspirational and motivating 2030 mission as a stepping stone towards the 2050 Vision;
  • urge parties and others to actively engage and contribute to the process of developing a robust post-2020 framework in order to foster strong ownership of the framework;
  • urge parties and others to establish processes at the national, subnational, and local levels, to facilitate dialogues on the post-2020 framework and to make the results of these dialogues available through the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention and other appropriate means;
  • encourage parties and invite others to consider developing, prior to COP 15, as appropriate to the national context, and on a voluntary basis, biodiversity commitments that may contribute to an effective post-2020 framework, commensurate with achieving the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity;
  • invite the UN General Assembly to convene a high-level biodiversity summit at the level of Heads of State/Heads of Government in 2020 in order to raise the political visibility of biodiversity and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a contribution to the development of a robust post-2020 framework; and
  • request SBI 3 to review a draft of the post-2020 framework and to prepare a recommendation for consideration by the COP.
  • The SBI recommends that the Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP:
  • take note of the proposed preparatory process for the post-2020 framework; and
  • decide to develop a specific follow-up to the Strategic Plan for the Biosafety Protocol for the period 2011-2020 that is complementary to the post-2020 framework.

A recommendation that the Nagoya COP/MOP decide to develop a specific plan for the Nagoya Protocol as part of the post-2020 framework remains bracketed.

An annex to the recommendations contains considerations for the development of the post-2020 framework.

Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol

Plenary addressed the item on Tuesday (CBD/SBI/2/5). South Africa, for the African Group, stressed that enough views and information have been gathered to enable an informed decision, and urged discussing the modalities of the mechanism. Switzerland pointed to lack of information on cases where PIC cannot be obtained and transboundary situations, highlighting it is premature to determine the need for a global mechanism. Norway emphasized it is too early to discuss modalities and, with Mexico, called for an online forum to discuss the need for establishing a multilateral mechanism. The EU stressed that discussions on the need for and modalities of a multilateral mechanism should not reopen discussions on the temporal and geographical scope of the Nagoya Protocol.

Many underscored the Protocol’s bilateral approach as the default approach to ABS. Japan noted that transboundary situations should be addressed under Article 11 (transboundary cooperation), and cases where it is not possible to obtain PIC under Article 22 (capacity). Indonesia, Venezuela, and Morocco supported development of a mechanism for transboundary situations. Ecuador and Uruguay urged learning lessons from the ITPGRFA. A contact group was established.

On Thursday, contact group Co-Chairs Goute Voigt-Hanssen (Norway) and Alejandra Barrios (Mexico) reported back on the group’s deliberations, noting that consensus was not reached on a number of items.

South Africa, for the African Group, proposed text on: recognizing that the need for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism has been demonstrated, and moving ahead with elaborating its modalities to address fair and equitable benefit-sharing in transboundary situations or situations for which it is not possible to grant or obtain PIC; noting that benefits generated through the mechanism and shared with the custodians of biodiversity and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources is a valuable incentive for conservation and sustainable use; and noting that efforts towards the full and effective implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in its entirety should not be hindered. The proposals were bracketed.

Delegates addressed language in the recommendation that more information on specific cases for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism would assist parties in the consideration of Nagoya Protocol Article 10. Japan and others proposed that such cases should not include those covered under bilateral agreements. The African Group proposed that the information should include the development of relevant modalities. Both proposals were bracketed.

During adoption on Friday, following a proposal by Ecuador, delegates removed the brackets around recognizing the ongoing need for capacity building to support IPLCs in developing and implementing legislative, administrative, and policy measures on ABS. The recommendation was adopted as amended, with many remaining brackets.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation to the Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP (CBD/SBI/2/L.13), the SBI welcomes the information of relevance to Article 10 synthesized by the Secretariat through the interim national reports and the ABS clearing-house, and takes note of the information on developments in relevant international processes and organizations. The rest of the recommendation is largely bracketed, including recommendations that the COP/MOP:

  • acknowledge the work undertaken to explore the need for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism;
  • recognize the need to move ahead with elaborating its modalities;
  • note that benefits generated through such a mechanism are a valuable incentive for conservation and sustainable use;
  • decide that the need for a mechanism has been sufficiently demonstrated;
  • consider that more information on specific cases would assist parties in considering its modalities; and
  • request the Secretariat to convene online discussions on specific cases and possible modalities.

Specialized International ABS Instruments under Nagoya Protocol Article 4(4)

Plenary addressed the item on Tuesday, including recommendations and a study on criteria to identify a specialized international ABS instrument, and a possible process for its recognition (CBD/SBI/2/6 and INF/17). The EU and Ecuador said more time is needed for full consideration. Norway, Mexico, Switzerland, and the EU stressed there should be no hierarchy between the Nagoya Protocol and other international instruments. India and China supported the proposed criteria. South Africa, for the African Group, proposed that the criteria: reference provider countries and IPLCs; and apply legal certainty also on compliance. The EU stressed that the criteria should: allow responsiveness to new issues; not be adopted by the COP/MOP; and not be more stringent than what is required by Nagoya Protocol Article 4 (relationship with international agreements and instruments).

Switzerland noted that the legitimacy to recognize specialized instruments lies with parties, calling, with Ecuador, for consistency and mutual supportiveness. Japan proposed a study on how parties recognize specialized international ABS instruments in their national legislation.

The ITPGRFA emphasized the mutually supportive implementation and close collaboration between the Treaty, the Convention, and the Nagoya Protocol. The World Health Organization drew attention to the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness framework and its robust benefit-sharing system. A contact group was established.

On Thursday, contact group Co-Chairs Lactitia Tshitwamulomoni (South Africa) and Thomas Greiber (Germany), reported on the group’s deliberations, noting that consensus had been reached. Delegates approved the CRP without amendments.

On Friday, plenary adopted the final recommendation with a minor amendment.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.17), the SBI welcomes the study and recommends that the Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP:

  • recognize the need to strengthen coordination and mutual supportiveness among international instruments on ABS;
  • acknowledge that any criteria to identify a specialized international ABS instrument and any process for recognition of such an instrument is not intended to create a hierarchy between the Nagoya Protocol and other international instruments;
  • take note of the study and agree to reconsider the potential criteria at its fourth meeting;
  • invite parties and other governments to submit information on how specialized international ABS instruments are addressed in their domestic measures, and views on the potential criteria contained in the study;
  • request the Secretariat to continue to follow developments in relevant international forums, and synthesize relevant information for consideration by SBI 3;
  • decide to include a standing item on “cooperation with other international organizations” on the agenda for future meetings to take stock of developments in relevant international forums, including any information on specialized international ABS instruments recognized by another intergovernmental body and/or by a party or group of parties; and
  • invite parties to coordinate at the national level and implement ABS instruments in a mutually supportive manner.

An annex contains potential criteria for specialized international ABS instruments.

Resource Mobilization

On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBI/2/7 and Add.1, 19, 20, INF/9, and INF/15). Many requested continuous and extended support through the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN). The African Group stressed that financial reporting is a complex process requiring capacity building. Norway and Mexico urged recognition of the work of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on positive incentives for biodiversity finance. New Zealand stressed the need to eliminate subsidies harmful to biodiversity.

Mexico urged including more actors and new funding sources in resource mobilization efforts under the post-2020 framework, including from the financial sector. Canada stressed a more important role for the private sector in resource mobilization.

The IIFB called for the inclusion of IPLCs in the identification of funding needs, gaps, and priorities.

On Thursday, plenary approved three CRPs on this agenda item with minor amendments. The final recommendations were adopted on Friday.

Final Recommendations: In its recommendation on elements of methodological guidance for identifying, monitoring and assessing the contribution of IPLCs to the achievement of the Strategic Plan and the Aichi Targets (CBD/SBI/2/L.4), SBI recommends that the COP:

  • welcome the indicative, non-exhaustive list of elements of methodological guidance for identifying, monitoring, and assessing the contribution of IPLCs to the achievement of the objectives of the Strategic Plan and the Aichi Targets, contained in its annex; and
  • invite parties and others to consider using the guidance for assessing the contribution of IPLCs when reporting through the financial reporting mechanism.

In the final recommendation on taking the voluntary guidelines on safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms into account when selecting, designing, and implementing financing mechanisms and when developing instrument-specific safeguards (CBD/SBI/2/L.5), SBI recommends that the COP:

  • urge parties and others to continue using the Convention’s voluntary guidelines on safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms, making use, as appropriate, of the checklist contained in the annex to the recommendation;
  • invite parties and others to contribute views on experiences, opportunities, and options to advance the application of the Convention’s voluntary guidelines on safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms; and
  • request the Secretariat to include, for consideration as a possible element of work in the fully integrated programme of work on Article 8(j) and related provisions within the post-2020 framework, the development of a post-2020 specific safeguards framework on IPLCs under the Convention.

In the final recommendation on resource mobilization (CBD/SBI/2/L.6), SBI stresses the need for continued efforts for effective mobilization and utilization of resources for biodiversity from all sources; notes the limited number of new or updated financial reporting frameworks received in time for consideration by SBI 2; and recommends that the COP:

  • reiterate its invitation to parties to report, using the online financial reporting framework, on their further contribution in conjunction with their sixth national reports;
  • welcome the work of relevant organizations and initiatives, including the BIOFIN Initiative, to provide technical support and capacity building for interested developing country parties, in particular LDCs and SIDS, as well as countries with economies in transition, including IPLCs and other relevant stakeholders within those countries, on the identification of funding needs, gaps, and priorities, the development and implementation of national resource mobilization strategies, and on financial reporting;
  • urge parties and invite other governments and donors, in accordance with their capabilities, to provide financial resources for capacity building and technical assistance as well as to facilitate technology transfer;
  • note with concern the limited progress made in implementing Aichi Target 3 (incentives and subsidies) and the milestones for its implementation;
  • affirm that resource mobilization will be an integral part of the post-2020 framework, and decide to initiate preparations on this component at an early stage in the process of developing the framework; and
  • request the Secretariat to explore options and approaches for mobilizing additional resources from all sources.

Financial Mechanism

On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBI/2/8, 8/Add.1, and INF/25). Mark Zimsky, GEF, presented the GEF report. Many lauded the increased share of GEF funding for biodiversity.

Ethiopia, for the African Group, requested a review of the GEF mechanism for resource allocation, so that parties have direct access and utilize resources with the help of implementing agencies. The Maldives, for SIDS, with the EU, lamented that the fifth review of the financial mechanism was not conducted due to lack of funding. SIDS suggested using core funds, if necessary. The EU proposed to use, among other things, a compilation of parties’ views on the sixth overall performance study of the GEF as a basis for the fifth review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism to be performed by parties at COP 14. Egypt and Yemen suggested a proposal on funding arrangements for the post-2020 framework be considered by COP 14.

India called for exploring possibilities of funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for ecosystem-based climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The IIFB, with Saint Lucia, urged requesting the GEF to update its policy on safeguards and engagement with IPLCs.

On Thursday delegates discussed a CRP on this agenda item. The EU suggested inviting the GEF to “continue” rather than “expedite” its support for national implementation activities under the Strategic Plan. Canada suggested deleting several paragraphs, including inviting the UNFCCC to consider, in its guidance to the GCF, the voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

On Friday, the final recommendation was adopted without amendments.

Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.19), SBI: expresses regret that the fifth review of the financial mechanism was not implemented due to lack of funding; invites parties and others to submit views and other information on the sixth overall performance study and the summary of evaluation results of the GEF’s Independent Evaluation Office, to the Secretariat; and recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • invite parties, while utilizing GEF 7 allocations, to support the collective action and contributions of IPLCs towards achieving the Aichi Targets;
  • invite the GEF, in line with the consolidated guidance provided in decision XIII/21, to continue to provide support to all eligible parties for capacity building: on issues identified by the parties to facilitate further implementation of the Biosafety and Nagoya Protocols; and in the use of the ABS clearing-house; and
  • note the ongoing review and update of the GEF’s policy on safeguards and rules of engagement with indigenous peoples, against best practice criteria.

Capacity Building, Technical and Scientific Cooperation, and Technology Transfer

On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/SBI/2/9, INF/6, and INF/26). Antigua and Barbuda, for SIDS, Belarus, for CEE, and Cameroon, for the African Group, stressed that the items under discussion are critical for implementation. Many drew attention to the Bio-Bridge Initiative as an efficient tool to promote and catalyze technical and scientific cooperation. Australia and others said resources provided must be appropriate to national circumstances. Japan pointed to capacity-building support provided through the Japan Biodiversity Fund.

Many welcomed the proposal to establish an informal advisory committee on technical and scientific cooperation. Venezuela urged inclusion of an IPLC representative. New Zealand said that establishing the body requires further consideration. The EU and Norway preferred using the existing informal advisory committee to the Clearing-House Mechanism.

The IIFB, supported by many, proposed a second online forum on achieving Aichi Target 18 (traditional knowledge). GYBN, with many, proposed acknowledging women and youth in the recommendations.

On Thursday, regarding a paragraph requesting the Secretariat to further promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, Egypt, with Palestine and Tunisia, proposed adding a specific reference to training on DNA technologies for identification, including through the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). The Republic of Korea opposed. The EU supported referring to DNA technologies for identification, but not the GTI. Parties eventually agreed to Egypt’s proposal.

On Friday, Morocco, with Cameroon, proposed to add reference to the Bio-Bridge Initiative. Another amendment, proposed by Peru and Mexico, added reference to “centers of origin and genetic diversification” in the preamble.

The recommendation was adopted as amended.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.9), SBI: takes note of the progress report on the implementation of the short-term action plan (2017-2020) to enhance and support capacity building; and welcomes the elements for the preparation of a long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020, as well as the ToR for the study to provide an information base for the preparation of the framework. SBI invites parties and others to provide the Secretariat with information relevant to the study and requests the Secretariat to further review the draft ToR for an informal advisory committee on technical and scientific cooperation for consideration at COP 15.

The document includes three recommendations for the Convention and its Protocols.

On capacity building, SBI recommends that the COP request the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to:

  • commission a study to provide an information base for the preparation of the long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020;
  • include in the independent evaluation of the impacts, outcomes and effectiveness of the short-term action plan (2017-2020), monitoring and evaluation of the outcomes and effectiveness of ongoing capacity-building activities;
  • organize regional and stakeholder-specific consultative workshops and online discussions; and
  • submit a draft long-term strategic framework for capacity building to SBI 3 and COP 15.

Regarding technical and scientific cooperation, SBI recommends that the COP:

  • invite parties and others to register as providers of technical assistance through the clearing-house mechanism, and to communicate to the Secretariat the priority themes, geographic coverage and types of services they are able to offer;
  • decide to consider establishing at COP 15 an informal advisory committee on technical and scientific cooperation; and
  • request the Secretariat to further promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, in particular training on DNA technologies, and provide a progress report for consideration by SBI 3 and COP 15.

On the clearing-house mechanism, SBI recommends that the COP invite parties and others that do not have national clearing-house mechanisms, or wish to redesign existing ones, to use the Bioland tool.

SBI recommends that the COP request the Secretariat to:

  • continue to support parties to establish, sustain, and further develop their national clearing-house mechanisms;
  • continue to implement the work programme for the clearing-house mechanism in support of the Strategic Plan and the 2030 Agenda;
  • contribute to the development and testing of the Data and Reporting Tool in collaboration with the InforMEA Initiative; and
  • seek advice from the Informal Advisory Committee to the clearing-house mechanism on matters relating to technical and scientific cooperation.

SBI recommends that the Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP:

  • welcome the ToR for the study to provide an information base for the preparation of a long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020, and request that aspects relevant to the Nagoya Protocol be considered;
  • invite parties and others to provide the Secretariat with relevant views and suggestions, and to participate in the consultative workshops and online discussion forums on the draft long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020;
  • request the Informal Advisory Committee on capacity building for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol to contribute to the development of the draft long-term strategic framework; and
  • request the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to submit a draft long-term strategic framework for consideration by SBI 3 and Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 4.

SBI recommends that the Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP:

  • welcome the ToR for the study to provide an information base for the preparation of a long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020, and request that aspects relevant to the Biosafety Protocol be considered;
  • invite parties and others to provide the Secretariat with relevant views and suggestions, and to participate in the consultative workshops and online discussion forums on the draft long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020;
  • request the Liaison Group on capacity building for biosafety to contribute to the development of the draft long-term strategic framework; and
  • request the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to submit a draft long-term strategic framework for consideration by SBI 3 and Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP 10.

The document contains two annexes and one appendix. Annex I includes the elements of the process for the preparation of a long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020, including the scope of the process and an indicative schedule of activities. The ToR for a study to provide an information base for the preparation of the framework is contained in the appendix to Annex I.

Annex II contains the draft ToR of the informal advisory committee on technical and scientific cooperation.

Cooperation with other Conventions, International Organizations, and Partnerships

On Wednesday the Secretariat introduced relevant documents (CBD/SBI/2/10, 10/Add.1 and Add.2, INF/12-14, 18-20, 24, 28, 29, 34, and CBD/WG8J/10/INF/9). Hesiquio Benítez Díaz (Mexico), Chair of the informal advisory group on synergies among biodiversity-related conventions, reported on the group’s work programme and methodology for prioritization of actions, and party-friendly advice.

Australia, with others, noted that cooperation activities need to take into account national circumstances and avoid duplication of work. The EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina supported the continuation of the informal advisory group’s work to provide advice on optimizing synergies. Canada expressed concerns regarding the group’s mandate.

The IIFB proposed requesting the development of options to strengthen collaboration with IPLCs, youth, women, academia, and local authorities.

Belarus, for CEE, proposed exploring cooperation with agreements focusing on biodiversity in the Antarctic. Mexico and Peru suggested cooperation with international instruments on agriculture, mining, and infrastructure. Saint Lucia, for SIDS, suggested integrating the SAMOA Pathway into other biodiversity-related conventions. Tonga, for Pacific island countries, urged strengthening support for data collection and the development of core indicators in accordance with national priorities.

FAO highlighted the Global Soil Partnership and efforts to streamline forest-related reporting. The CMS emphasized its multi-stakeholder platform on reconciling renewable energy developments with conservation of migratory species.

On Thursday, delegates discussed a CRP and agreed to include a reference to the Ramsar Convention. The final recommendation was adopted on Friday.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.20), SBI takes note of the progress report on implementation of the options for enhancing synergies at the national level and the road map for enhancing synergies among the biodiversity-related conventions at the international level during the period 2017 to 2020; and recommends that the COP:

  • invite parties and others to consider possible new areas and approaches to advance the implementation of biodiversity commitments through enhanced cooperation as part of the post-2020 framework and take into account lessons learned from existing cooperation;
  • request the informal advisory group on synergies to continue to work during the forthcoming intersessional period to: monitor the implementation of the road map on synergies until COP 15; provide the Secretariat with advice on ways to optimize synergies among the biodiversity-related conventions in the development of the post-2020 framework; and prepare a report for consideration by SBI 3;
  • request the Secretariat to organize a workshop in early 2019 to facilitate discussions among parties to the various biodiversity-related conventions;
  • request the Secretariat to further coordinate the “Caring for Coasts” initiative with the CMS Secretariat and other relevant partners;
  • invite the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions to consider ways and means to strengthen cooperation among the conventions in order to support their implementation by SIDS, inter alia, in the context of the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway;
  • request the Secretariat to explore the possibility of cooperation with the conventions of the Antarctic Treaty System relevant to biodiversity;
  • invite the FAO to consider preparing a report on the state of knowledge on soil biodiversity and to make it available for consideration by SBSTTA prior to COP 15;
  • request the Secretariat to consult with UNESCO with a view to preparing options for possible elements of work aimed at a rapprochement of nature and culture in the post-2020 framework, for consideration by the Working Group on Article 8(j) at its eleventh meeting and by SBI 3;
  • request the Secretariat to continue liaising with the World Trade Organization (WTO), undertaking technical collaboration on issues of joint interest, and following up on pending requests for observer status in relevant WTO committees;
  • request the Secretariat to enhance synergies and further strengthen cooperation with all relevant international and regional organizations and conventions working on marine litter and microplastics and with the work undertaken by UNEP in this area; and
  • request the Secretariat to invite and mobilize the executive bodies of initiatives that have been established under the framework of the Strategic Plan, such as the Satoyama Initiative, to continue building synergies in their implementation and contribute to the discussion on the post-2020 framework.

Mechanisms for Review of Implementation

This item was discussed in plenary on Wednesday (CBD/SBI/2/11, INF/27, and INF/32).

A draft recommendation was considered on Thursday. Many supported the draft recommendation, including a process to explore options to enhance review mechanisms.

India noted that national reports must continue to be the primary review mechanism. Jordan and the EU said that the options need to be further developed for a collaborative, facilitative review process. Argentina and Cuba stressed that new mechanisms and indicators should be accompanied by capacity building and financial resources.

India, Norway, the EU, and Switzerland highlighted the effectiveness of the voluntary peer review of national-level implementation. Norway and New Zealand proposed to fully establish the process as part of the review mechanism. South Africa noted that participating in the peer review requires capacity building and resource availability. GYBN, also for the Global Forest Coalition and the ICCA Consortium, called for a stronger compliance mechanism, and inclusion of IPLCs, women, and youth in the peer-review teams.

On Friday, the recommendation was adopted without amendment.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.8), the SBI recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • acknowledge that the voluntary peer-review process seeks to help parties improve their individual and collective capacities to more effectively implement the Convention;
  • welcome the progress made in the development of a voluntary peer-review mechanism, and the positive result from the pilot phase; and
  • decide to add the voluntary peer review as an element of the multidimensional review approach under the Convention and request the Secretariat to facilitate its operationalization.

The SBI also recommends that the COP request the Secretariat to, inter alia:

  • further develop, for consideration at SBI 3, options to enhance review mechanisms with a view to strengthening the implementation of the Convention, including an analysis of strengths and weaknesses and an indication of possible costs, benefits, and burdens for parties, other stakeholders and the Secretariat;
  • prepare for and organize the testing of a party-led review process through an open-ended forum at SBI 3;
  • invite parties to submit, on a voluntary basis, review reports for testing the open-ended forum at SBI 3; and
  • further consult in order to explore possible modalities for applying approaches to enhancing the review of implementation in the process for the development of the post-2020 framework.

National Reporting, and Assessment and Review, under the Convention and its Protocols

This item was discussed in plenary on Wednesday (CBD/SBI/2/12, 13, and INF/22). CRPs were considered on Thursday.

National Reporting under the Convention and its Protocols: On aligning national reporting under the Convention and its Protocols, many supported the synchronization of reporting cycles. Norway, Tajikistan, for CEE, and South Africa stressed that the Convention and its Protocols are distinct legal instruments with distinct obligations. Canada urged to clarify that the value of aligning cycles is in reducing the burden on parties. The CEE and Jordan stressed capacity-building and funding needs. The EU recalled the importance of taking into account the ongoing reporting process under the 2030 Agenda. Mexico suggested moving the deadline for synchronized reporting to 2024. Switzerland called for requesting the Secretariat to “identify concrete actions” for increasing synergies in national reporting among the biodiversity-related conventions and the Rio Conventions.

GBIF and the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Information Network emphasized making better use of available spatio-temporal data. The IIFB proposed preparing national reports through consultative processes, including IPLCs.

The final recommendation was adopted on Friday with minor amendments.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.16), the SBI recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • decide to commence with synchronized reporting cycles for the Convention, the Biosafety Protocol, and the Nagoya Protocol in 2023, and invite the Biosafety and Nagoya Protocols’ COP/MOPs to undertake the preparatory measures necessary for the realization of such synchronized reporting approaches and cycles;
  • encourage parties to explore possible synergies at the national level, involving all relevant biodiversity-related reporting processes, to enhance the alignment and consistency of information and data in national reports; and
  • requests the Secretariat, inter alia, to: assess the cost implications of the synchronized reporting cycles; identify concrete actions to advance synergies on reporting; and continue to contribute to the monitoring process for the 2030 Agenda and to explore synergies with the related reporting systems and tools for the SDGs.

A proposal that the list of requests for activities by the Secretariat be subject to the availability of resources remains in brackets.

The SBI recommends that the Biosafety and Nagoya Protocols’ COP/MOPs, inter alia, agree to have a synchronized national reporting cycle commencing in 2023.

Monitoring and Reporting (Article 33 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety): On Thursday, plenary approved a CRP without amendments.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.18), the SBI, inter alia, invites parties to the Biosafety Protocol to provide specific comments on the draft format for the fourth national report under the Cartagena Protocol.

The SBI recommends that the COP/MOP, inter alia:

  • adopt the reporting format, to be annexed to the decision, and request parties to use it for the fourth national report on the implementation of the Biosafety Protocol; and
  • invite parties to prepare their reports through a consultative process involving all relevant national stakeholders, including IPLCs, as appropriate.

Assessment and Review (Article 35 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety): On Thursday, delegates approved a CRP with an amendment on the sources of information to consider for facilitating the Protocol’s fourth assessment and review.

During adoption on Friday, plenary discussed a request for the Secretariat to submit implementation-related information to the Compliance Committee, focusing on the role of the Compliance Committee in assessment and review. They agreed that information should be submitted “as appropriate.” Jamaica stressed that the Compliance Committee should respond to capacity-building issues raised before it, and the document was adopted as amended.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.10), the SBI recommends that the COP/MOP, inter alia:

  • reiterate its invitation to parties, for the remaining period of the Strategic Plan for the Biosafety Protocol for 2011-2020, to consider prioritizing the operational objectives relating to the development of biosafety legislation, risk assessment, detection, and identification of LMOs, and public awareness in view of their critical importance in facilitating the implementation of the Protocol;
  • decide that the fourth assessment and review of the Biosafety Protocol will be combined with the final evaluation of the Strategic Plan for the Biosafety Protocol for the period 2011-2020;
  • request the Secretariat to: continue making improvements to the online national report analyzer tool to facilitate the compilation, aggregation, and analysis of the data in the fourth national reports and other sources against related baseline data that was obtained during the second national reporting cycle; and analyze and synthesize information on the implementation of the Protocol, to facilitate the fourth assessment and review of the Protocol in conjunction with the final evaluation of the Strategic Plan;
  • request the Liaison Group on Capacity-Building and the Compliance Committee to contribute to the fourth assessment and review of the Biosafety Protocol and the final evaluation of the Strategic Plan; and
  • request SBI 3 to consider the information provided and conclusions reached by the Liaison Group and the Compliance Committee, and to submit its findings and recommendations to Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP 10.

Enhancing Integration under the Convention and its Protocols with respect to Provisions related to ABS, Biosafety, and Article 8(j)

On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced relevant documents (CBD/SBI/2/14, 15, and 21), referring to integrating provisions related to ABS, biosafety, and Article 8(j).

On Article 8(j), delegates debated three options: establishing a subsidiary body on Article 8(j); continuing the Working Group on Article 8(j) with an updated mandate; and integrating the enhanced participation mechanisms used by the Working Group on Article 8(j) for the participation of IPLCs, when addressing matters of direct relevance to IPLCs in the Convention’s subsidiary bodies.

Guatemala, Canada, Ecuador, and the IIFB supported the Working Group on Article 8(j) becoming a permanent specialized or expert advisory subsidiary body. Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina opposed. Brazil said the Working Group’s mandate should be renewed and enhanced. New Zealand and South Africa supported integrating the work programme on Article 8(j) into the work of the Convention, with Argentina adding that such integration should be limited to traditional knowledge. Canada supported applying the enhanced participation processes used in the Article 8(j) Working Group to other subsidiary bodies. Colombia said more information on the financial implications of each option is needed.

On ABS, many supported the draft recommendations. The EU noted its commitment to support, through capacity building, developing countries in the process of ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.

Many supported the draft recommendations on integrated approaches to issues at the interface between the biosafety-related CBD provisions and the Biosafety Protocol. Malawi requested that links between the Biosafety and Nagoya Protocols be highlighted. Colombia suggested referring to the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress.

On Thursday, plenary addressed a CRP on integration of Article 8(j), which reflected parties’ earlier statements. With no agreement found on the proposed changes, they reverted to original text approved by the Working Group on Article 8(j) at its tenth meeting.

On Friday, plenary discussed a request to the Secretariat to facilitate an online forum for an exchange of views and information on a number of issues. Mexico requested reinsertion of possible objectives to be considered to achieve an effective integration in the work of the subsidiary bodies on matters of direct relevance to IPLCs, and to enable full and effective participation of IPLCs in the work of the Convention, and the recommendation was adopted as amended. A recommendation on enhancing integration with respect to biosafety and ABS was adopted without amendments.

Final Recommendations: In the recommendation on integration of Article 8(j) and provisions related to IPLCs (CBD/SBI/2/L.12), the SBI recommends that the COP, among other issues:

  • invite parties and others to submit views on possible institutional arrangements and their modus operandi for the implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions, for consideration by the Working Group on Article 8(j) at its 11th meeting;
  • request the Secretariat to prepare a projection of the financial and governance implications of possible institutional arrangements for the biennium 2021-2022 for consideration at SBI 3; and
  • request the Working Group on Article 8(j) to develop, at its 11th meeting, proposals for possible future work, including proposals for a second phase of work on the Plan of Action on Customary Sustainable Use, as well as institutional arrangements and their modus operandi for consideration by SBI 3.

In the recommendation on enhancing integration with respect to biosafety and ABS (CBD/SBI/2/L.14), the SBI recommends that the COP:

  • remind CBD parties that are not Biosafety Protocol parties of their biosafety-related obligations under the Convention;
  • encourage Biosafety Protocol parties to develop and implement national action plans for mainstreaming biosafety into national legal and policy instruments;
  • consider the addition of biosafety considerations to the post-2020 framework and national reporting format under the Convention;
  • request the Secretariat to continue efforts to integrate biosafety across the Secretariat’s programmes of work, and support parties in efforts to integrate biosafety across various sectors at the national level;
  • request the Secretariat to enhance awareness about the Nagoya Protocol and enhance its integration in various sectors, and continue efforts to integrate ABS across the work of the Secretariat and support parties in efforts to integrate ABS across various sectors at the national level; and
  • urge parties to the Convention that are not yet parties to the Nagoya Protocol to report on ABS implementation in their sixth national reports.

Review of the Effectiveness of the Processes under the Convention and its Protocols

This item was discussed in plenary on Wednesday (CBD/SBI/2/16 and Add.1, and INF/1 and 2).

The EU, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, called for seeking parties’ views on the proposed procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest, for consideration by COP 14. Argentina highlighted that many scientists considered for participation in expert groups are employed by state-funded research institutions, and cautioned against considering this a conflict of interest. New Zealand suggested requesting nominated experts to disclose how they propose to manage any potential conflicts of interest. Delegates highlighted the sensitive nature of conflicts of interest, and debated whether the Executive Secretary or the Bureau should have the primary responsibility for their management.

ECOROPA urged parties to agree on a procedure to manage conflicts of interest in 2018, so as not to jeopardize the development of the post-2020 framework.

A draft recommendation was considered on Thursday and on Friday, the final recommendation was adopted.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.15), the SBI, inter alia, requests the Secretariat to: invite parties and others to submit their views on the proposed procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest in expert groups as contained in the annex to the proposed decision; revise, as necessary, the proposed procedure, on the basis of the views; and submit it for consideration at COP 14.

The SBI recommends that the COP, the Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP, and the Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP, inter alia:

  • note with satisfaction that holding concurrent meetings of the COP and the COP/MOPs has allowed for increased integration among the Convention and its Protocols, and improved consultations, coordination and synergies among the respective focal points;
  • reiterate the importance of ensuring the full and effective participation of representatives of developing country parties, in particular LDCs and SIDS, and parties with economies in transition, in the concurrent meetings;
  • approve the procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest contained in the annex to the decision; and
  • request the Secretariat to ensure the implementation of the conflict of interest management procedure with respect to the work of the technical expert groups, in consultation with the SBSTTA Bureau or the COP, as appropriate.

The annex to the decision contains a procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest.

Trust Fund for Facilitating Participation of Parties in the Convention Process: Allocation of Resources and Possibilities of Engaging the Private Sector

On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CBD/SBI/2/18). Many supported the draft recommendations, including keeping under review the experiences of other processes in engaging the private sector to contribute to funding developing country delegates’ participation. South Africa, for the African Group, expressed concern that the declining contributions to the trust fund will affect participation. Cuba, for SIDS, expressed concern about the uncertain status of SIDS’ participation at COP 14. Jamaica proposed keeping under review other conventions’ practices with regard to supporting participation. Norway announced their contribution of one million Norwegian Kroner to the trust fund to facilitate participation at COP 14.

SIDS stressed support from the private sector should only come from entities that fully subscribe to the Convention’s objectives, and should not result in conflicts of interest. Ecuador said conditions governing private sector engagement should be established first.

Final Recommendation: In the recommendation (CBD/SBI/2/L.7), SBI notes that current trends in the level of funding and participation could have implications for the operations and legitimacy of the Convention and its Protocols, and recommends that the COP:

  • invite developed country parties and other parties in a position to do so, including in the context of South-South cooperation, to increase their contributions to the Trust Fund in order to enable the full and effective participation of representatives of developing country parties, in particular LDCs and SIDS, as well as parties with economies in transition;
  • take note of the various existing guidelines for the engagement of the private sector with the UN system; and
  • request the Secretariat to: keep under review the experience of other conventions and UN processes with respect to funding of the participation of eligible developing country parties, and engaging the private sector to contribute to funds for the participation of delegates from developing countries in their meetings; and inform the COP Bureau of further developments in this respect.

Closure of the Meeting

On Friday, 13 July, following adoption of the meeting’s recommendations, plenary adopted the meeting’s report (CBD/SBI/2/L.1), as introduced by rapporteur Elena Makeyeva.

In closing remarks, CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pașca Palmer called to embrace a diversity of perspectives, and urged parties to carry the spirit of collaboration and constructive participation to COP 14.

Canada, also for Japan, United States, Australia, and New Zealand (JUSCANZ), noted progress on, inter alia, mainstreaming, the roadmap towards the post-2020 framework, and the integration of Article 8(j). Tajikistan, for CEE, highlighted outcomes on, inter alia, mainstreaming, national reporting, and resource mobilization. Palau, for Asia-Pacific, emphasized the importance of mainstreaming, resource mobilization, and capacity building. The EU said the post-2020 framework should be ambitious, and the review mechanism should be strengthened. Argentina, for GRULAC, said the post-2020 framework should be both ambitious and realistic, taking into account national circumstances and priorities. Namibia, for the African Group, noted concern about insufficient progress on the Strategic Plan and the achievement of the Aichi Targets, and called to accelerate progress.

The IIFB thanked the governments that supported the participation of IPLC representatives, and welcomed the initiatives aimed at ensuring the full and effective participation of indigenous women. Egypt congratulated delegates for progress made at SBI 2. Plenary viewed a video message from Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt, who emphasized that COP 14 will feature a dedicated ministerial segment on biodiversity in Africa

SBI 2 Chair Ogwal stressed it is our responsibility to ensure we live in harmony with other forms of life on Earth, and quoted Michael Jackson in reminding delegates that “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Ogwal gaveled the meeting to a close at 1:05 pm.

A Brief Analysis of the Meetings

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

“We need to build a strong case for biodiversity and work hard to achieve the transformational change required at all levels.” These remarks, made by CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Paşca Palmer, set the stage for the dense, two-week SBSTTA and SBI deliberations. The Convention is at a crucial stage: not only has it reached maturity, with 25 years since its entry into force, it also finds itself approaching a crossroad. With less than two years before 2020, the biodiversity community needs to assess progress towards the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its Aichi Targets, and document achievements and shortcomings. This assessment will inform the development of the post-2020 framework, with a view to realizing the Strategic Plan’s 2050 vision of “Living in harmony with nature,” where “by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet, and delivering benefits essential for all people.” This brief analysis will assess the key outcomes of the two meetings, focusing on the steps required for the Convention to maintain and increase its relevance beyond 2020.

A Glance from the Past

This is not the first time the Convention has engaged in strategic planning. In 2002, parties agreed to concerted efforts to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional, and national levels, to contribute to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth. This target had significant high-level political support as it was endorsed by the UN General Assembly and was incorporated in the Millennium Development Goals. However, parties did not reach the 2010 target, in large part because it was not accompanied by the necessary means of implementation, including finance, scientific and technical cooperation, and technology transfer. Agreeing on a target without providing the means for its achievement was insufficient to create a convincing narrative for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

As a result, the current Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 with its Aichi Targets did include means of implementation. Despite this inclusion, progress to date on most targets has been limited and does not leave much room for optimism on their achievement. Reality shows that setting a list of targets on paper, even if some of them address finance and cooperation, does not ensure successful implementation. Policy making is complex, particularly when it requires tackling the root causes of biodiversity loss. That said, describing the picture solely as “failure” runs the risk “of concealing the efforts of thousands on the ground, whose collective work has allowed for unprecedented progress on a number of issues,” as one participant put it.

Starting from the Strategic Plan’s rationale, which recognizes the insufficient integration of biodiversity issues into broader policies, the 2016 Cancun Biodiversity Conference placed significant emphasis on the biodiversity mainstreaming agenda. As the Convention moves towards conceptualizing the post-2020 biodiversity framework, many argue that unless biodiversity-related policies reach the productive sectors that rely on, use, and impact biodiversity, such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, infrastructure, and mining, the root causes of biodiversity loss will remain unabated.

Moving the Agenda Forward

The SBI agenda incorporated these considerations by addressing mainstreaming as a vital tool for achieving the goals of the Convention and promoting implementation on the ground. Many delegates thus highlighted the recommendation on mainstreaming as an important outcome of the meeting. They noted that accelerating progress on the issue will not only allow for incorporating biodiversity-related concerns into activities that previously disregarded those concerns, but will also go a long way towards raising public awareness. Others remained skeptical, calling for caution before potentially introducing power asymmetries into the Convention, given the strength of the energy and mining, infrastructure, and manufacturing and processing sectors.

SBSTTA delegates had their share in celebrating success, particularly with regard to protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). OECMs, loosely defined as areas governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for biodiversity conservation and other locally-relevant values, were hailed as a concept providing recognition to a variety of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ conservation efforts. Such efforts had previously remained invisible, as they lacked the formal status of protected areas. The voluntary guidance on the integration of protected areas and OECMs into wider landscapes and seascapes has the potential to legitimize such efforts at the national and international level, and ensure their visibility and connectivity with formally-established protected areas.

Marine and coastal biodiversity also attracted considerable attention during the SBSTTA meeting. While some participants highlighted that the final recommendation leaves much bracketed text regarding the modalities for modifying EBSA descriptions, others hailed that SBSTTA succeeded in spelling out and consolidating the diverging options. As one seasoned delegate noted, “At this stage, disagreement touches upon inherently political questions, especially with regard to questions of national sovereignty and the law of the sea,” emphasizing that “the COP, not SBSTTA, is the natural place to address them.”

Persisting Obstacles

In addition to traditional drivers of biodiversity loss, emerging technologies and their impact on biodiversity have historically found a place on the CBD agenda, with controversies raging over the years on living modified organisms, genetic use restriction technologies, biofuels, and geoengineering. Over the past few years, synthetic biology and the use of digital sequence information on genetic resources have been at the center of these debates.

While the recommendation on synthetic biology contains little bracketed text, disagreements did arise during the meeting. Some delegates argued that the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) should not be renewed, and that the SBSTTA should consider other options, such as using only an online forum. This was met with concern, if not astonishment, by other delegates. These delegates stressed that the pace of scientific and technological developments in the field of synthetic biology urgently requires a governance framework. The Convention is in a unique position to address such issues, they noted, due to its experience with biosafety and emerging technologies in general. Most agreed that efforts should intensify, and the final recommendation extends the AHTEG’s mandate with renewed membership, providing the opportunity for continued deliberations.

Differing views were also expressed on gene drives, which have been controversial in the past. The final recommendation calls on parties to apply a precautionary approach, given current uncertainties, and recognizes that before these organisms are considered for release into the environment, research and analysis are needed, and specific guidance may be useful, to support case-by-case risk assessment.

If disagreements on synthetic biology were largely resolved, deliberations on digital sequence information were, according to a veteran, “rather disturbing.” A recommendation with several sets of brackets was forwarded to COP 14, but fundamental differences arose on whether the topic falls under the scope of the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol, resulting in some commenting that the progress achieved at COP 13 in Cancun was under threat. Many stressed, once again, that access to digital sequence information, combined with scientific developments particularly on synthetic biology, risks making the Nagoya Protocol obsolete by “dematerializing” genetic resources. This means that the digital information content of the genetic resource could be extracted and exchanged in its own right, detached from the physical exchange of the genetic resource itself. While acknowledging the difficulties of regulating digital sequence information, many called for a practical approach focusing on ensuring fair and equitable benefit-sharing, to avoid widening current asymmetries between providers and users of genetic resources. Nevertheless, positions remained as diverse as ever. At least, as one participant put it, the bracketed text “rightly reflects all the options the table.”

A Dive into the Future – The Convention as a Continuum

With four months until COP 14 in Egypt, the agendas of the Convention and its Protocols are as packed as ever. Indeed, most present at SBSTTA and SBI agreed that both COPs 14 and 15 will be instrumental for setting the future path of the Convention. Discussing the steps for this path, some delegates called for rethinking target-setting, focusing on “fewer, sexier targets,” while others supported taking advantage of potential synergies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Others highlighted the need to properly take into account lessons learned, “to avoid repeating any mistakes.” Most agreed that creating efficient mechanisms for effective implementation will be critical for the success of any future plan. In that respect, capacity building, resource mobilization, and review mechanisms were recurring themes in Montreal. Yet as others reminded, controversial issues, like digital sequence information, will also have to be resolved in time for COP 15 in Beijing.

Some participants called for a “Paris moment” for biodiversity, pointing to the significant public, political, and media attention attracted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. While some highlighted that climate change policy “is not so successful either,” most agreed that a crucial problem is that biodiversity, encompassing everything from genetic resources to habitats and landscapes, is an issue that most people find even harder to grasp than climate change. As one seasoned delegate noted, for the post-2020 framework to have relevance, the biodiversity community will have to convincingly convey the message that all forms of life, and the interactions among them, “are vital to the world as we know it.”

Parties to the Convention and its Protocols will have to do even more over the next two years. “They will have to keep in mind the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, and ensure that the post-2020 framework forms a detailed roadmap towards it,” a participant commented. In this context, a senior delegate shared an unexpected take-home message: “What we really need to understand is that, in here, we are all friends, not foes.” Underscoring the divergence not only in national positions, but also in personal beliefs and even worldviews, he added, “We are all essentially here to do the same thing, to protect the basis of life on Earth.”

Upcoming Meetings

CITES AC30, PC24, and joint AC-PC: The thirtieth meeting of the CITES Animals Committee and the twenty-fourth meeting of the CITES Plants Committee will meet for their separate meetings as well as a joint session.  dates: 16-26 July 2018  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: CITES Secretariat phone: +41-22- 917-81-39/40  fax: +41-22-797-34-17  email: info@cites.org  www: https://cites.org/eng/com/ac/index.php  and https://cites.org/eng/com/pc/index.php

First Session of the Intergovernmental Conference on BBNJ: The first session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) follows an organizational session (held in April 2018) and will begin work based on the elements of a draft text of an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine BBNJ under UNCLOS, which was developed by the preparatory committee. dates: 4-17 September 2018  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS)  phone: +1-212-963-3962  email: doalos@un.org  www: https://www.un.org/bbnj/

67th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC 67): IWC 67 will convene in Brazil to discuss aboriginal subsistence whaling, cetacean status and health, unintended anthropogenic impacts, scientific permits, conservation management plans, whale watching, and other whale conservation and management issues.  dates: 10-14 September 2018  location: Florianopolis, Brazil  contact: IWC Secretariat  phone: +44-1223-233-971  fax: +44-1223-232-876  www: https://iwc.int/iwc67

CITES SC70: The seventieth meeting of the CITES Standing Committee will take place in Sochi, Russia.  dates: 1-5 October 2018  location: Sochi, Russia  contact: CITES Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-81-39/40  fax: +41-22-797-34-17  email: info@cites.org  www: https://cites.org/eng/com/sc/index.php

48th Session of the IPCC: The IPCC’s 48th session will meet to approve the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC. dates: 1-5 October 2018  location: Incheon, Republic of Korea  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int  www: http://www.ipcc.ch

EUROBATS MOP8: The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS) will hold its eighth session of the Meeting of the Parties. dates: 8-10 October 2018  location: Monte Carlo, Monaco  contact: UNEP/EUROBATS Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2421  fax: +49-228-815-2445  email: eurobats@eurobats.org  www: http://www.eurobats.org/

2nd Arctic Biodiversity Congress: The second Arctic Biodiversity Congress builds on the outcomes of the first Congress, held in Trondheim, Norway, in 2014, with the aims, among other things, of: assessing the Arctic in the context of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the SDGs; and facilitating interdisciplinary discussion, action, and status updates on the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment recommendations and implementation actions.  dates: 9-12 October 2018  location: Rovaniemi, Finland  contact: CAFF International Secretariat  phone: +354-462-3350  email: caff@caff.is  www: www.arcticbiodiversity.is/congress

Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference: London 2018: The Government of the UK will host this conference, which will bring together global leaders to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction.  dates: 11-12 October 2018  location: London, UK   www: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/london-conference-on-the-illegal-wildlife-trade-2018/about

Ramsar COP13: The 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands will convene under the theme “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future.”  dates: 21-29 October 2018  location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates  contact: Ramsar Secretariat  phone: +41-22-999-01-70  email: ramsar@ramsar.org  www: http://www.ramsar.org/

73rd Session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (MEPC 73): At its last session, the MEPC agreed to include a new output to address the issue of marine plastic litter from shipping in the context of SDG 14 (Life below Water). Member States and international organizations were invited to submit concrete proposals to MEPC 73 on the development of an action plan. dates: 22-26 October 2018  location: London, United Kingdom  contact: IMO Secretariat  phone: +44-20-7735-7611 email: info@imo.org  www: http://www.imo.org/

African Biodiversity Summit: The Government of Egypt, in collaboration with the CBD Secretariat, the African Union, the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, and other partners, will convene an African Biodiversity Summit to be held prior to the UN Biodiversity Conference. date: 13 November 2018  location: Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/doc/notifications/2018/ntf-2018-055-african-biodiversity-summit-en.pdf

2018 UN Biodiversity Conference: The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the 9th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (CBD COP 14, Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 9, and Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 3) are expected to address a series of issues related to implementation of the Convention and its Protocols. A High Level Segment will be held from 14-15 November.  dates: 17-29 November 2018  location: Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2018

For additional upcoming events, see http://sdg.iisd.org/

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