IISD Reporting Services IISD
Home > COP 14
Home > COP 14

Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 09 Number 725 | Sunday, 2 December 2018


Summary of the UN Biodiversity Conference

13-29 Novemeber 2018 | Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt


Languages: EN (HTML/PDF) FR (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt at: http://enb.iisd.org/biodiv/cop14/enb/

The UN Biodiversity Conference was held from 13-29 November 2018, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, under the theme “Investing in biodiversity for people and planet.” It was attended by approximately 3,800 participants representing parties, other governments, international and non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities, academia, and the private sector.

The UN Biodiversity Conference included:

  • the African Ministerial Summit on Biodiversity (13 November);
  • the High-level Segment of the Conference (14-15 November);
  • the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 17-29 November);
  • the ninth meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CP COP/MOP 9, 17-29 November);
  • the third meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization (NP COP/MOP 3, 17-29 November 2018); and
  • parallel meetings, side-events, and the Rio Conventions Pavilion.

The Conference adopted a number of decisions on a series of strategic, administrative, financial, and ecosystem-related issues of relevance to the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols. These included 37 decisions under the CBD COP; 16 decisions under the Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP; and 16 decisions under the Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP. Among the highlights, the Conference set up an intersessional open-ended working group (OEWG) on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework; established an intersessional process, including an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) to continue work on digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources under the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol; adopted the Rutzolijirisaxik voluntary guidelines for repatriation of traditional knowledge; and extended the online forum and AHTEG on synthetic biology.

A Brief History of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity 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.

The COP is the governing body of the Convention, and there are currently three bodies meeting intersessionally: the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA); the Working Group on Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and related provisions; and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI).

Key Turning Points

Three protocols have been adopted under the Convention. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (January 2000, Montreal, Canada) addresses the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) that may have adverse effects on biodiversity, taking into account human health, with a specific focus on transboundary movements. It entered into force on 11 September 2003 and currently has 171 parties.

The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (October 2010, Nagoya, Japan) provides for international rules and procedures on liability and redress for damage to biodiversity resulting from LMOs. It entered into force on 5 March 2018 and currently has 42 parties.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization (ABS, October 2010, Nagoya) sets out an international framework for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and technologies, and by appropriate funding, thereby contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. It entered into force on 12 October 2014 and currently has 114 parties.

Other major decisions have included:

  • the Jakarta Mandate on marine and coastal biodiversity (COP 2, November 1995, Jakarta, Indonesia);
  • the work programmes on agricultural and forest biodiversity (COP 3, November 1996, Buenos Aires, Argentina);
  • the Global Taxonomy Initiative (COP 4, May 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia);
  • work programmes on Article 8(j), dry and sub-humid lands, and incentive measures (COP 5, May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya);
  • the Bonn Guidelines on ABS and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (COP 6, April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands);
  • work programmes on mountain biodiversity, protected areas, and technology transfer, the Akwé: Kon Guidelines for cultural, environmental, and social impact assessments, and the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for sustainable use (COP 7, February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia);
  • a work programme on island biodiversity (COP 8, March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil);
  • a resource mobilization strategy, and scientific criteria and guidance for marine areas in need of protection (COP 9, May 2008, Bonn, Germany);
  • the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including the Aichi Targets, and a decision on activities and indicators for the implementation of the resource mobilization strategy (COP 10, October 2010, Nagoya, Japan); and
  • an interim target of doubling biodiversity-related international financial resource flows to developing countries by 2015, and at least maintaining this level until 2020, coupled with targets aiming to improve the robustness of baseline information (COP 11, October 2012, Hyderabad, India).

COP 12 (October 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea) adopted a package of decisions on resource mobilization, capacity building, scientific and technical cooperation linking biodiversity and poverty eradication, and monitoring implementation of the Strategic Plan, named the “Pyeongchang Roadmap.” The meeting further adopted a plan of action on customary sustainable use of biodiversity; decided to use the terminology “indigenous peoples and local communities”; and agreed on ways to integrate the work under the Convention and its Protocols, including holding concurrent meetings.

COP 13 (December 2016, Cancún, Mexico) considered: 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.

2018 UN Biodiversity Conference Report

High-level Segment

The High-level Segment of the UN Biodiversity Conference was held from 14-15 November 2018, under the theme “Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet.” The High-level Segment included: statements from Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, ministers, and other high-level officials; panel discussions on the importance of investing in biodiversity for people and planet, and the post-2020 framework and 2050 vision; and round tables on mainstreaming biodiversity in the infrastructure, manufacturing and processing, energy and mining, and health sectors. Participants adopted the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration on Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet. For further information on the High-level Segment, and for a summary of the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration, please see: http://enb.iisd.org/vol09/enb09713e.html; and http://enb.iisd.org/vol09/enb09714e.html.

Opening Plenary

On Saturday, 17 November, Amb. José Octavio Tripp Villanueva (Mexico), on behalf of the COP 13 Presidency, noted the important intersessional work of the subsidiary bodies, other relevant UN bodies, and a wide range of stakeholders, and emphasized that “now is the time” to invest in biodiversity for people and planet. COP 14 President Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt, underscored that nature and humanity are indivisible, and urged participants to work towards the objectives of the CBD and come up with an inspirational post-2020 framework for the dignity and survival of future generations.

CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pașca Palmer said that successes achieved since the CBD’s adoption have not been sufficient to halt biodiversity loss and presented two stark choices: staying on the current path with cascading consequences, or choosing a path of conservation, restoration, and transformation. She expressed optimism, pointing to the outcomes of the preceding African Biodiversity Summit and High-level Segment, and urged delegates to be bold and wise in their decision making.

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly, via video, highlighted the international community’s responsibility to reverse current trends regarding species extinction. She underscored the need for collective action to preserve biodiversity, mitigate climate change, and ensure sustainability of consumption patterns and current development without jeopardizing the rights of future generations.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stressed Egypt’s constitutional protection for nature and natural resources. Pointing out that the CBD did not manage to fully mobilize the international community to effectively preserve biodiversity due to lack of mainstreaming, he called for integration of CBD objectives across all sectors.

Following a National Geographic video about how time is running out to “save the planet,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, via video, stated that protecting nature also contributes to peace and security. She highlighted the importance of nature-based interventions, which can provide solutions to climate change while simultaneously protecting biodiversity.

Corli Pretorius, Deputy Director, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), encouraged delegates to use the upcoming fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly as a platform to emphasize the urgency of the biodiversity agenda.

Argentina, for the Latin American and Caribbean Group, requested developed countries to increase the availability of financial resources for access to, and transfer of, technology; emphasized the importance of creating “a space within the Convention where traditional knowledge, and cultural and traditional expressions are respected”; and stressed that scientific knowledge, evidence, and innovation set the foundations for decision making.

The European Union (EU) underscored the need for: transformational change in consumption and production patterns respecting planetary boundaries; effective mainstreaming of biodiversity at all levels; and providing opportunities for work with the private sector and all stakeholders under the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Canada, also on behalf of New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, highlighted the importance of a robust post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and an effective, practical, inclusive roadmap to COP 15 in Beijing.

Belarus, for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, drew attention to the need for practical measures in the areas of intensive mining, industrial activity, and relevant infrastructure; and welcomed efforts to integrate biosafety- and ABS-related issues under the Convention.

Rwanda, on behalf of the African Group, cited the recently concluded Africa Biodiversity Summit and the Pan-African Action Agenda on Ecosystem Restoration for Increased Resilience as a demonstration of where the region stands, and where it wants to go.

The Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network drew attention to the loss of indigenous languages and expressed concern over the continued expansion of extractive industries, which are amplifying degradation of sacred grounds. The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) pointed to the current challenging times for biodiversity and dangers for indigenous land defenders, noting the need for informed solutions for a global strategy on biodiversity.

The CBD Alliance emphasized that “doing the same thing and expecting a different result would be madness,” adding that “a pledge-based system would not do it.” He advocated for concrete, time-bound targets, and stressed that the big polluters should not influence policy but be held accountable for the damage they cause. The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) emphasized that the world moves towards ecological collapse, along with the continued marginalization of vulnerable groups, such as youth, women, and indigenous peoples, who are key actors in the implementation of any biodiversity policy.

Malaysia, on behalf of the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC), outlined the progress of their countries in achieving the Aichi Targets, including increasing coverage of both terrestrial and marine protected areas. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) outlined its recent reports that show both the alarming rates of biodiversity loss and that “action can make a difference,” and noted the upcoming publication of an IPBES global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services, prepared on request by the CBD.

Organizational matters and reports: On Saturday, 17 November, plenary adopted: the COP 14 agenda (CBD/COP/14/1 and 1/Add.1/Rev.1); the CP COP/MOP 9 agenda (CBD/CP/MOP/9/1 and 1/Add.1/Rev.1); the NP COP/MOP 3 agenda (CBD/NP/MOP/3/1 and 1/Add.1/Rev.1); and the organization of work, including the establishment of two Working Groups (CBD/COP/14/1/Add.2). Plenary elected Hayo Haanstra (the Netherlands) as Chair of Working Group I; Clarissa Nina (Brazil) as Chair of Working Group II; Meng Monyrak (Cambodia) as Rapporteur; and Elena Makeyeva (Belarus) to examine and report on credentials.

COP 14 President Fouad recalled that COPs 15 and 16 will be held in China and Turkey, respectively, and invited the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region to indicate interest in hosting COP 17.

Plenary took note of the reports of intersessional meetings, including the: tenth meeting of the Article 8(j) Working Group (CBD/WG8J/10/11); 21st and 22nd sessions of SBSTTA (CBD/SBSTTA/21/10 and 22/12); and second meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (CBD/SBI/2/22).

On Thursday, 22 November, plenary elected Hesiquio Benítez Díaz (Mexico) as SBSTTA Chair. Plenary then approved regional nominations for the COP Bureau, including: Melesse Maryo (Ethiopia); Eric Okoree (Ghana); Elvana Ramaj (Albania); Teona Karchava (Georgia); Helena Jeffery Brown (Antigua and Barbuda); Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (Costa Rica); Gabriele Obermayr (Austria); Rosemary Paterson (New Zealand); Sujata Arora (India); and Leina Al-Awakhi (Kuwait).

On Sunday, 25 November, plenary elected Charlotta Sörqvist (Sweden) as SBI Chair.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary heard a report on credentials; elected the members of the compliance committees of the Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols; heard reports from Working Group I (WG I) and Working Group II (WG II) Chairs; and appointed Basile van Havre (Canada) and Francis Ogwal (Uganda) as Co-Chairs of the Open-ended Working Group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

This report summarizes discussions and decisions under each agenda item covered by CBD COP 14, Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 9, and Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 3. All recommendations of intersessional bodies were included in the compilation of draft decisions (CBD/COP/14/2; CBD/CP/MOP/9/1/Add.2; and CBD/NP/MOP/3/1/Add.2).

CBD COP 14

Administration and budget: This item was first considered in plenary on Saturday, 17 November. Executive Secretary Pașca Palmer presented her reports on the administration of the Convention and Protocols, and budgetary matters (CBD/COP/14/3 and 4), including three budget scenarios based on 4%, 2%, and 0% growth. Expressing concern that the proposed budget was not provided until ten days before the meeting, Japan requested the Secretariat respect the 90-day rule for submission of documents, and questioned the request for nine additional Secretariat staff members. Plenary then established a budget contact group, chaired by Spencer Thomas (Grenada). They reached consensus on a 2% increase to the core budget, taking into account inflation but not providing for any additional Secretariat posts.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the integrated programme of work and budget for the Convention and its Protocols. Pledges to the Special Voluntary Trust Fund to facilitate participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition were made by: Norway (USD 50,000); the EU (USD 200,000); Germany (EUR 200,000) for 2019, expressing hope to make a similar contribution in 2020; Finland (EUR 50,000); South Africa (USD 50,000); and Canada (CAD 19,000).

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.37), the COP, inter alia: shares all costs for Secretariat services among the Convention, the Cartagena and the Nagoya Protocols, respectively, in a ratio of 74:15:11 for the biennium 2019-2020; and approves a core programme budget for the Convention of USD 14,022,190 for 2019 and USD 14,722,420 for 2020, representing 74% of the integrated budget of USD 18,948,900 and USD 19,895,200 respectively, for 2019 and 2020. The COP also notes that the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress entered into force in May 2018 and acknowledges that its programme of work will not require core funding and that any funds needed to support the activities of the Secretariat regarding the Supplementary Protocol, for the biennium 2019-2020, will be provided by its parties.

Review of progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan: Assessment and review towards selected Aichi Targets: This item (CBD/COP/14/5) was first addressed by WG I on Sunday, 18 November. Many developing countries called for drastic resource mobilization, including capacity building, financial support, and technology transfer. The African Group suggested that Aichi Target 16 (Nagoya Protocol) be included in the list of targets for accelerated action, and underscored regional approaches. Switzerland called for a focus on ecosystems beyond forests. Mexico highlighted the importance of centers of origin for implementation of Aichi Target 13 (genetic diversity).

The IIFB noted that many countries have not engaged indigenous peoples in national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs). The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlighted the global country-driven assessment of the “State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” report. UN Women called for developing guidance on gender-specific indicators. The CBD Women’s Caucus expressed concern that national gender-related targets are lower than those stipulated in the Aichi Targets.

On Wednesday, 21 November, delegates addressed a Conference Room Paper (CRP) on assessment of progress towards selected Aichi Targets. Delegates discussed language on inviting parties to work with relevant stakeholders, and agreed to add references to strengthening collaboration, and to working with the private sector. After consulting informally, delegates agreed to replace language on mobilizing additional resources with reference to achieving resource mobilization targets. With these and other minor amendments the CRP was approved. On Thursday, 22 November, the COP adopted the final decision. 

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.2), the COP urges parties to, inter alia, significantly accelerate their efforts to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and to consider undertaking national assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services. The COP requests the Secretariat to:

  • communicate through the UN system, including the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and relevant multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), that failing to achieve the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 jeopardizes the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda);
  • subject to the availability of resources, use and analyze all IPBES products in the preparation of the post-2020 framework and to provide the results of those considerations to SBSTTA before COP 15; and
  • in consultation with parties, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), analyze the status of adoption of NBSAPs by eligible parties. 

Gender Plan of Action: Delegates considered this issue and approved a CRP on the Gender Plan of Action without discussion on Wednesday, 21 November. On Thursday, 22 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.3), the COP requests the Secretariat, subject to availability of resources, to: undertake a review of the implementation of the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action, to identify gaps, best practices, and lessons learned; organize regional workshops on the linkages between gender and biodiversity; and include discussions on the linkages between gender and biodiversity in regional consultations for the post-2020 framework.

Resource mobilization and the financial mechanism: Safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms: This item was introduced in WG I on Monday, 19 November, with the Secretariat outlining the SBI recommendations on safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms.

On Wednesday, 21 November, delegates reviewed a CRP. Following an EU proposal, they added reference to GEF’s new gender implementation strategy.

On Thursday, 22 November, delegates in WG I decided not to re-open the annexed checklist of safeguards, and approved the CRP with no further amendments.

Delegates considered a draft decision in plenary on Sunday, 25 November. Brazil raised concerns regarding a reference to the importance of indigenous peoples and local communities’ (IPLCs) tenure over traditional territories, and adoption was postponed to allow for further consultations.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary considered the final draft decision. Brazil stressed the need to rephrase a paragraph referencing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, proposing the deletion of references to “land and waters” of IPLCs, and holistic, solid safeguards “backed by transparent accountability and constant vigilance.” Bolivia and Costa Rica strongly opposed deleting reference to “land and waters.” President Fouad invited Brazil to work on alternative phrasing and suspended deliberations.

In the afternoon plenary, Brazil presented her proposed language, including on recognizing the importance “for some parties” of the tenure of IPLCs over land and waters, and that holistic, solid safeguards are required for those parties. The EU asked for more time to consult internally, and later proposed adding “according to national legislation,” alongside reference to recognizing the importance of tenure over traditional territories. The decision was adopted with these and other minor amendments.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/COP/14/L.5), the COP, inter alia:

  • recognizes the importance of IPLC tenure over traditional territories, in line with international obligations such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in accordance with national legislation;
  • recognizes the importance, for some parties, of IPLC tenure over land and waters, and therefore also the need for holistic solid safeguards backed by transparent accountability and constant vigilance;
  • welcomes the GEF’s process to upgrade its environmental and social safeguards, as well as its new gender implementation strategy; and
  • requests the Article 8(j) Working Group to consider developing a post-2020 specific safeguards framework on IPLCs.

Methodological guidance concerning IPLCs’ contributions: This item was introduced in WG I on Monday, 19 November, with the Secretariat outlining the methodological guidance concerning the contributions of IPLCs.

On Thursday, 22 November, delegates addressed a CRP. On the annexed list of elements of methodological guidance, delegates discussed an element on making forms of geospatial analysis accessible to communities, “with their direct involvement.” The Philippines suggested an additional element regarding considering, as appropriate, capacity building and technology transfer to ensure that new information, including science and technology, contributes to IPLC empowerment, resilience, and self-sufficiency. The CRP was approved with these and other minor amendments.

On Sunday, 25 November, the COP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/COP/14/L.6), the COP, inter alia:

  • takes note of the annexed methodological guidance;
  • recognizes the importance of the holistic collective actions of IPLCs in achieving the Aichi Targets and the objectives of the Strategic Plan;
  • encourages parties and other governments to consider using the methodological guidance, as well as make use of the guiding principles on assessing the contribution of collective action of IPLCs; and
  • invites IPBES to take the guidance into account.

The annex contains methodological guidance for identifying, monitoring, and assessing the contribution of IPLCs to achieving the objectives of the Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets. The list includes, inter alia, elements to:

  • recognize and fully include traditional knowledge, including ensuring conditions for effective dialogue among knowledge systems; 
  • seek to contribute to the recognition of rights, particularly land tenure and access to customary resources;
  • consider the use of geospatial analysis for area-based assessment, with the direct involvement of the relevant communities, in a way that combines such tools with traditional knowledge, and makes them accessible to the communities; and
  • consider capacity building to ensure new information contributes to the empowerment, resilience and self-sufficiency of IPLCs.

Financial mechanism: This item was first considered by WG I on Monday, 19 November. The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents, including an updated analysis of information provided through the financial reporting framework (CBD/COP/14/6). The GEF introduced its report (CBD/COP/14/7) outlining GEF-6 and 7 activities. The Secretariat introduced an SBI recommendation and a report on preparations for GEF-8, including a draft decision (CBD/COP/14/8). Canada, Japan, the EU, Norway, Switzerland, and New Zealand opposed elements of the decision not discussed at SBI 2, including establishing a standing committee on finance as part of the post-2020 framework. Norway and Colombia recommended the Secretariat work closely with the GEF. A contact group was established, which met throughout the meeting.

On Wednesday, 28 November, WG I addressed a CRP resulting from contact group deliberations, containing bracketed text. On contracting a team of experts to assess the funding necessary to implement the Convention from 2022 to 2026, Japan suggested, and delegates agreed, to add “subject to the availability of resources,” pending the outcome of budget discussions. The CRP was approved with this amendment.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/COP/14/L.35), the COP, inter alia:

  • invites the GEF to continue providing all eligible parties with capacity-building assistance, including on the implementation of both Protocols, the use of the ABS Clearing-house, and the detection and identification of LMOs;
  • adopts the terms of reference for an assessment of the amount of funds needed for the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols during GEF-8, and invites relevant parties to submit to the Secretariat their estimated funding and investment needs for this period;
  • requests the SBI to prepare proposals for programme priorities for GEF-8, aligned with the draft post-2020 framework, for consideration by COP 15; and
  • encourages the Secretariat to work closely with the GEF, and other relevant agencies, in the transition to the post-2020 framework, taking into account the need for greater synergies between the GEF and other financial mechanisms.

Resource mobilization: This agenda item was first considered by WG I on Monday, 19 November. The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents, including a SBSTTA recommendation. Many highlighted domestic efforts to mobilize funding and the support of the UNDP Biodiversity Finance (BIOFIN) Initiative. Many developing countries expressed concern about limited progress in implementing past decisions on doubling biodiversity-related financial resource flows.

On Wednesday, 21 November, delegates in WG I discussed a CRP at length, and debated, among other issues:

  • inviting parties, other governments, and donors to provide financial resources for capacity building, or urging developed country parties to provide financial resources in accordance with CBD Article 20 (financial resources);
  • a proposal by Brazil to recognize the importance of resource mobilization from all sources, rather than national resource mobilization;
  • a paragraph on the resource mobilization component of the post-2020 framework; and
  • a request to the Secretariat to explore options for mobilizing additional resources to support parties in implementing the post-2020 framework.

Outstanding items were forwarded to the contact group on the financial mechanism.

On Wednesday, 28 November, WG I addressed a revised CRP, including bracketed language regarding: whether to invite parties, developed countries, or parties in accordance with their capabilities to provide financial resources; a reference to the importance of developing resource mobilization strategies “at all levels”; and alternatives on the task of an expert panel to estimate the resources needed for different scenarios of the post-2020 framework’s implementation, or to provide elements of such an estimation to the working group on the post-2020 process, or a high-level panel. Kenya indicated that all contact group members, except one party, preferred the first alternative. Switzerland, supported by Liechtenstein, noted that such a task is beyond the capacities of a small expert panel. Informal consultations continued into the night.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary considered the final draft decision, addressing bracketed text on language regarding capacity building and technical assistance. Delegates debated whether to invite parties to provide financial resources “according to their capabilities” or “according to national circumstances, priorities and capabilities,” and then agreed to delete both references, so the paragraph invites “parties and other governments and donors in a position to do so.” The decision was adopted.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.33), the COP:

  • urges parties to report, using the online reporting framework, on their contribution to resource mobilization targets, as part of their sixth national reports;
  • welcomes the work of, among others, BIOFIN;
  • invites parties, other governments, and donors in a position to do so, to provide financial resources for capacity building, technical assistance, and technology transfer; and
  • encourages parties to intensify their efforts towards the achievement of Aichi Target 3 (harmful subsidies).

It further requests the Secretariat, subject to the availably of financial resources, to contract a panel of three to five experts to contribute to the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework, including:

  • evaluate the structure, content, and effectiveness of the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, and indicate gaps in meeting the targets;
  • estimate the resources needed for different scenarios of the implementation of the post-2020 biodiversity framework;
  • contribute to a draft mobilization component of the post-2020 biodiversity framework;
  • consider ways to strengthen engagement with a wider range of financial and private institutions; and
  • consider ways to mainstream biodiversity into national economic budgets and development plans.

Capacity building and technical and scientific cooperation: This item was first addressed by WG I on Monday, 19 November, based on an SBI recommendation. The EU emphasized the need for open-source tools. The African Group and others urged additional financial support to allow for adequate capacity building. Many stressed that the long-term strategic framework should be in full alignment with the post-2020 framework. Cameroon highlighted capacity building that involves: regional dialogues; a wide range of stakeholders; and training in biosafety and biosecurity. India called for going beyond traditional approaches to include capacity building at the system-level. Norway requested the Secretariat to seek synergies with other processes. Guatemala prioritized capacity building on taxonomy. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility proposed recognizing the importance of taxonomy for the post-2020 framework, and requesting a process to review the Global Taxonomy Initiative work programme. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) pointed to a survey highlighting three priority areas for capacity building, including: fund-raising; cooperation with stakeholders; and networking and communication.

During consideration of a CRP, delegates debated whether to include specific language on developing countries’ technical and scientific needs, and finally agreed to recall the relevant COP decision and invite developing countries to “identify and communicate” their technical and scientific needs and priorities to the Secretariat.

Morocco, supported by many, proposed new language taking note of the key needs and priorities identified by the Bio-Bridge Initiative. Delegates agreed, and further requested the Secretariat to “facilitate” parties in cooperative initiatives to respond to the identified needs.

On promoting cooperation on certain issues, Argentina, opposed by Colombia, Gabon, and Mexico, proposed deleting reference to ecosystem valuation. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to refer to values of biodiversity, and ecosystem functions and services, in line with IPBES work. Delegates agreed to an EU proposal to “take note of,” rather than “welcome,” the initiative to establish an alliance for biodiversity knowledge. Following debate, they retained SBI-approved language stating they “decide to consider establishing” an informal advisory committee on technical and scientific cooperation at COP 15.

Parties agreed on language requesting the Secretariat to initiate a technical and scientific cooperation review of the Global Taxonomy Initiative, and to include the Bio-Bridge and Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiatives in the review, subject to the availability of resources, for SBSTTA and SBI consideration. After consulting informally on the annexed indicative schedule of activities, the CRP was approved, containing new text, which remained bracketed, on an African regional consultation regarding a draft long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020, to be held prior to SBSTTA in 2019, subject to the availability of funds.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary was informed that the brackets had been lifted and the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.12), the COP requests the Secretariat to, inter alia:

  • submit a draft long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020 aligned with the draft post-2020 framework and the 2030 Agenda for consideration by SBI 3 and by COP 15; and
  • identify synergies and areas of cooperation with the Rio Conventions and biodiversity-related conventions in order to support joint capacity-building activities for consideration in the development of the post-2020 framework.

The COP further decides to consider establishing, at COP 15, an informal advisory committee on technical and scientific cooperation.

The COP requests the Secretariat to, subject to the availability of resources:

  • further promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, in countries and regions within the context of the Global Taxonomy Initiative, as well as promote cooperation through the Bio-Bridge Initiative; and
  • prepare proposals for an inclusive process to review and renew technical and scientific cooperation programmes, including the Bio-Bridge Initiative, the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative and the Global Taxonomy Initiative, in order to support the development of the post-2020 framework.

Knowledge management and communication: Knowledge management:This item was first addressed in WG I on Monday, 19 November, when the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CBD/COP/14/11), including proposed joint modalities for the clearing-houses of the Convention and the Protocols. Guatemala urged support to optimize countries’ national reports. The IIFB urged parties to strengthen communication mechanisms to achieve the full and meaningful participation of IPLCs. A CRP was approved with a minor amendment on Sunday, 25 November. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.15), the COP endorses the joint modalities of operation for the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) of the Convention, the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) and the ABS Clearing-House. The COP invites: parties and others that do not have national clearing-house mechanisms and those wishing to redesign existing ones to use the Bioland tool. The COP requests the Secretariat to, inter alia: continue to implement the work programme for the CHM; and develop, in consultation with the informal advisory committees to the CHM, the BCH and the ABS Clearing-House, a knowledge management component as a part of the preparatory process for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Communication: With regard to cooperation with others for the development of communication material, delegates accepted a proposal by Canada to add reference to IUCN and its Nature for All initiative, and a suggestion by the EU to involve the Informal Advisory Committee on Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA). The CRP was approved as amended on Sunday, 25 November. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.16), the COP requests the Secretariat to continue the implementation of the framework for a global communications strategy; and develop, in collaboration with the IPBES, relevant MEAs, and other relevant organizations, and in consultation with the Informal Advisory Committee on CEPA, themes and background material around which parties and others can organize communication and public awareness campaigns in the coming biennium on the current state of biodiversity and the discussions towards the preparation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Mechanisms for national reporting, assessment and review: On Tuesday, 20 November, the Secretariat introduced three draft decisions based on SBI and SBSTTA recommendations to WG I, on: the process for aligning national reporting, assessment, and review; tools to evaluate the effectiveness of policy instruments for Strategic Plan implementation; and review mechanisms.

Process for aligning national reporting, assessment and review: This item was first considered on Tuesday, 20 November, on the basis of an SBI recommendation. On Thursday, 22 November, WG I approved a CRP on the item. On Sunday, 25 November, plenary adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.7), the COP decides to commence synchronized reporting cycles for the Convention and the Protocols in 2023, and requests the Secretariat to, among other actions:

  • assess the cost implications of the synchronized reporting cycles in order to inform the GEF;
  • identify, in consultations with related convention secretariats among others, concrete actions to advance synergies on reporting; and
  • evaluate the use by parties of online reporting tools for the sixth national report and national reports under the Protocols.

Tools to evaluate the effectiveness of policy instruments for Strategic Plan implementation: This item was first considered on Tuesday, 20 November, on the basis of a SBSTTA recommendation. On Thursday, 22 November, WG I approved a CRP with minor amendments. Plenary adopted the final decision on Sunday, 25 November.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.8), the COP requests parties and others to share, as appropriate, information on the methodologies used in evaluations of the effectiveness of measures taken to implement the Convention, including case studies and lessons learned. The COP further requests the Secretariat to develop a toolkit to assist parties and others in the implementation of evaluations of the effectiveness of measures, for SBI 3 consideration.

Review mechanisms: This item was first considered on Tuesday, 20 November, on the basis of an SBI recommendation. The EU supported a voluntary peer review and a periodic open review process. India supported national reports as the primary mechanism for review, and stressed that any review mechanism must be party-led. On Sunday, 25 November, WG Iconsidered a CRP, with the EU, supported by Norway, proposing national reports be “a core element” rather than “the primary mechanism,” for review, and that they form part of “the multidimensional review approach.” Delegates agreed, and with other minor amendments, approved the CRP. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.13), the COP acknowledges that the voluntary peer-review process seeks to help parties improve their individual and collective capacities to implement the Convention more effectively, and decides to include this process as an element of the multidimensional review approach. It requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources to, inter alia:

  • further develop options to enhance review mechanisms, including an analysis of strengths and weaknesses and an indication of possible costs, benefits, and burdens, for SBI 3 consideration; and
  • prepare for, and organize, the testing of a party-led review process through an open-ended forum at SBI 3.

Enhancing integration under the Convention and its Protocols with respect to ABS, biosafety, and Article 8(j): Integration with respect to ABS and biosafety: On Wednesday, 21 November, the Secretariat introduced the SBI recommendation to WG I. India pointed out that CBD parties who have not ratified the Nagoya Protocol still have ABS responsibilities under the Convention. Indonesia urged sharing of best practices regarding enhancing integration.

On Wednesday, 28 November, WG I discussed a CRP. Delegates debated a paragraph on capacity building, and agreed to delete reference to developing countries and refer to general capacity-building needs. Delegates further agreed to welcome the efforts made by parties in implementing the Nagoya Protocol, as well as efforts towards its ratification, and the CRP was approved as amended. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.32), the COP encourages parties to develop and implement national action plans for mainstreaming biosafety into national legal and policy instruments, and to report on progress in their national reports, and invites technical and financial support to address capacity-building needs. The COP also encourages parties to consider further integration of ABS into other areas of work under the Convention as part of discussions on the post-2020 framework.

Integration with respect to Article 8(j): On Tuesday, 20 November, the Secretariat introduced the SBI and Article 8(j) Working Group recommendations to WG II. Many stressed the importance of effective IPLC participation. On new institutional arrangements for work under Article 8(j), the EU urged: continuity with past work; a focus on implementation; and efficient use of financial resources. The IIFB, with Brazil and Bolivia, warned that new institutional arrangements for the Article 8(j) Working Group cannot be finalized before agreement on the post-2020 framework, requiring an additional meeting after COP 15.

On Tuesday, 27 November, delegates addressed a CRP. On paragraphs noting the need to take into account recent developments, including the 2030 Agenda, to achieve a more holistic and integrated work programme, the EU asked for reference to the Paris Agreement. The CRP was approved with this and other minor amendments. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.25), the COP decides to complete the current work programme on Article 8(j) no later than COP 15, and to consider the development of a fully integrated work programme within the post-2020 biodiversity framework, to allow for the full and effective participation of IPLCs in the work of the Convention, taking into account the ongoing and postponed tasks of parties, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and gaps identified. It invites parties and others to submit views on possible institutional arrangements, such as establishing a subsidiary body on Article 8(j), continuing the Working Group on Article 8(j), or applying the enhanced participation mechanisms used by the Article 8(j) Working Group when addressing matters of direct relevance to IPLCs in the subsidiary bodies. It also requests the Working Group on Article 8(j) at its 11th meeting to develop 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, for SBI 3 consideration.

Cooperation with conventions, international organizations, and initiatives: This item was first considered in WG I on Wednesday, 21 November. The Secretariat introduced the SBI recommendation and the report of the informal advisory group on synergies among biodiversity-related conventions. El Salvador, the EU, the African Group, and many others, proposed designating 2021-2030 as the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. Delegates underscored the importance of synergies and cooperation with the Rio Conventions, biodiversity-related conventions and other MEAs, and relevant organizations, especially with regard to the post-2020 framework. Georgia called for national-level coordination between MEA focal points, and Guatemala for high-impact projects with multiple benefits. Several international organizations expressed their willingness to strengthen cooperation and collaboration with the CBD.

During consideration of a CRP, the EU proposed, and delegates agreed, to include reference to the OEWG on the post-2020 process.

Regarding a paragraph on cooperation with the FAO, Mexico suggested reference to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator regarding the “proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture.” Following discussion, delegates decided to refer generally to FAO work on indicators.

On cooperation with inter-agency and coordination networks, South Africa proposed, and delegates eventually accepted, new language noting with appreciation the efforts of the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation in reviewing the progress in implementing the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and its contribution to the Strategic Plan. A reference to further engaging with the Partnership on its contribution to the post-2020 framework was bracketed pending discussions on the post-2020 framework.

On continued engagement with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, following proposals by Bolivia and Uganda, delegates accepted a reference to “alternative approaches that contribute to mitigation and adaptation for restoration.” After a lengthy debate over revising language on inviting and mobilizing the executive bodies of initiatives established under the framework of the Strategic Plan to continuing building synergies, parties agreed to retain the original formulation. The CRP was approved as amended with bracketed references to the post-2020 framework on Monday, 26 November.

During plenary on Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision with a minor amendment, having removed brackets around references to the OEWG on the post-2020 framework and the availability of resources.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.21), the COP urges 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 to take into account lessons learned from existing cooperation for developing the post-2020 framework.

The COP requests the Secretariat to share the results of the work of the informal advisory group with relevant organizations and other initiatives and invites the UN General Assembly to designate the decade 2021-2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Review of effectiveness of processes under the Convention and its Protocols: On Wednesday, 21 November, the Secretariat introduced the SBI recommendation on review of experience in holding concurrent meetings of the Convention and its Protocols, and on procedures for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest in expert groups.

Review of experience in holding concurrent meetings: The EU, the African Group, and others stressed that holding concurrent meetings leads to better integration between the Convention and its Protocols, and better coordination of national positions, but results in a heavy agenda and multiple contact groups, causing problems for small delegations. Many stressed the need to ensure adequate participation of developing countries, including in intersessional meetings.

On Sunday, 25 November, delegates approved a CRP. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.18), the COP reiterates the importance of ensuring the full and effective participation of developing countries, including by making funding available, and requests the Secretariat to further develop the preliminary review of the experience in concurrent meetings for SBI 3 consideration.

Conflicts of interest in expert groups: This item was first introduced on Wednesday, 21 November, on the basis of an SBI recommendation. Delegates underscored the need to define what constitutes conflict. Canada requested involving national focal points in the process and, with Honduras, providing for an appeal mechanism. Several civil society organizations cautioned against allowing commercial interests to unduly influence decision making. The Public Research and Regulation Initiative highlighted that the general bias of some parties against LMO use is in conflict with CBD provisions. A Friends of the Chair group was established.

On Wednesday, 28 November, following a report from the Friends of the Chair group, delegates approved a CRP with minor amendments. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.29), the COP approves the procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest contained in the annex, and requests the Secretariat to prepare a report on its implementation, for SBI consideration.

The procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest includes sections on: their purpose and scope; requirements; implementation; and an interest disclosure form.

Second work programme of IPBES: This item was first considered by WG II on Tuesday, 20 November. The Secretariat introduced a SBSTTA recommendation, and IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie noted 80 submissions with requests for future IPBES reports on various topics. Many acknowledged the successful implementation of IPBES’ first work programme and supported the SBSTTA recommendation regarding the second work programme. The African Group called for national and sub-national assessments, and technical papers in collaboration between IPBES and SBSTTA. The EU, Tanzania, and Cambodia emphasized that the IPBES work programme should be relevant to, and support, the post-2020 framework. Norway underscored IPBES capacity-building functions. India requested assessing the usefulness of IPBES assessments for policy-makers. WWF, with Ghana and Gabon, called for collaboration between IPBES and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

On Monday, 26 November, WG II addressed a CRP and approved the operative paragraphs with a minor amendment. A lengthy discussion took place regarding the annexed requests for consideration by IPBES in the context of its strategic framework and work programme towards 2030. The EU suggested, and delegates agreed, to remove reference to the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources with regard to the characterization and quantification of successful approaches and cases of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Venezuela, supported by Bolivia and Brazil, and opposed by Colombia, the EU, Gabon, and Mexico, requested assessing topics related to technological development, which could have positive or negative impacts on achieving the three CBD objectives and the livelihoods and traditional knowledge of IPLCs, including synthetic biology and the use of DSI on genetic resources. The proposal was eventually withdrawn. The CRP was approved as amended.

On Thursday, 29 November, delegates adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/COP/14/L.22), the COP:

  • notes IPBES work is expected to be relevant to the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement;
  • welcomes the efforts of IPBES to further enhance its cooperation with the IPCC; and
  • agrees that elements of IPBES work should be relevant to the post-2020 framework, help support its implementation, assess progress, and allow for ongoing exchange of information and requests from the Convention.

The COP further invites IPBES to:

  • take into account the need for a gender equality and women’s empowerment perspective;
  • take into account the knowledge and data gaps identified in the first work programme;
  • assess the behavioral, social, economic, institutional, technical, and technological determinants of transformational change, and how these may be used to achieve the 2050 vision; and
  • develop a multidisciplinary approach to understand the interactions of the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss.

Long-term strategic directions to the 2050 vision, approaches to living in harmony with nature, and preparation for the post-2020 framework: Scenarios for the 2050 vision: This issue was first considered in plenary on Tuesday, 20 November. The Secretariat introduced relevant SBSTTA and SBI recommendations, including on scenarios for the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity “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.”

In the afternoon, plenary held an interactive dialogue on approaches to living in harmony with nature. For further information see: http://enb.iisd.org/vol09/enb09718e.html

On Sunday, 25 November, delegates addressed, in plenary, a CRP on scenarios for the 2050 vision for biodiversity. Delegates debated text regarding: whether to take note, welcome, or endorse SBSTTA’s conclusions regarding scenarios for the 2050 vision for biodiversity; whether to analyze the potential of benefit-sharing to “promote” or “contribute to” biodiversity conservation and sustainable use; and reference to technology developments relating to DSI, synthetic biology, and LMOs.

Informal consultations continued, and delegates further discussed the CRP in plenary on Wednesday, 28 November. Mexico reported on small group deliberations, noting agreement to: “welcome” SBSTTA conclusions regarding scenarios for a 2050 vision; “take note of” information in Secretariat and information documents; retain the original formulation on scenario analyses on fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources; and a revised formulation regarding “technology developments, such as advances in data analytics, DSI on genetic resources, new kinds of LMOs and synthetic biology, and potential positive or negative impacts on the three objectives of the Convention, as well as on lifestyles and traditional knowledge of IPLCs.” The CRP was approved without further amendments.

On Thursday, 29 November, delegates considered the final draft decision in plenary. In a paragraph inviting the scientific community to take into account the potential positive and negative impacts of productive sectors on biodiversity, Argentina, supported by Brazil, proposed deleting specific reference to “agriculture, forestry, and fisheries,” and instead refer to all productive sectors. The EU, Morocco, Norway, and Bolivia opposed. President Fouad suggested, and delegates agreed, to take note of Argentina’s preferred wording in the report of the meeting, and adopt the decision without amendment.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/COP/14/L.30), the COP welcomes the SBSTTA conclusions regarding scenarios for the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, annexed to the decision. It further invites the scientific and other relevant communities working on scenarios, to take into account, inter alia:

  • the underlying drivers and systemic and structural issues related to biodiversity loss;
  • the contributions of the collective action of IPLCs;
  • scenario analyses on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources;
  • the potential positive and negative impacts of productive sectors on biodiversity, such as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries;
  • technology developments, such as in data analytics, DSI, LMOs, and synthetic biology, and their potential positive or negative impacts on the achievement of the three objectives of the Convention; and
  • the importance of enhancing communication and increasing awareness about the multiple values of biodiversity.

Process for the post-2020 framework: This issue was first considered in plenary on Tuesday, 20 November. The Secretariat introduced relevant SBSTTA and SBI recommendations, including proposals for a comprehensive and participatory process for the preparation of the post-2020 framework.

Many called for focus on process, rather than discussing the substantive elements of the framework. The African Group stressed, inter alia, that the post-2020 framework should promote country-led actions and synergies. He suggested, supported by Brazil and Argentina, that the post-2020 framework “shall contain an agreed solution for fairly and equitably sharing the benefits arising from DSI on genetic resources.” With Cuba, on behalf of Small Island Developing States, and many others, he urged focus on capacity building, technology transfer, and financial resources for implementation. Many called for a flexible, inclusive, and gender-responsive, party-led process, aligned with the Rio Conventions and the 2030 Agenda, and supported voluntary commitments.

Costa Rica urged addressing the root causes of environmental degradation, including unsustainable consumption and production patterns, and called for generating 1% of the global gross domestic product for conservation. Nepal urged a community-based approach. India stressed poverty eradication and transformative change. Kenya called for combating species extinction through the management of key biodiversity areas and awareness on the intrinsic value of species. Bosnia and Herzegovina highlighted the need for quality education and partnerships with education institutions and UNESCO.

The EU called for ambitious, realistic, measurable, and time-bound targets. The LMMC said scientific knowledge is paramount to setting ambitious targets, and China stressed scientific community involvement.

Plenary then heard from several international, civil society, and IPLC organizations. Many stressed the need for involvement of women and IPLCs throughout the post-2020 process; said the post-2020 framework should incorporate lessons learned from failures under the current Strategic Plan; and underscored cooperation among the biodiversity-related conventions and other international organizations. Norway announced financial support to facilitate the process for the post-2020 framework, including a pledge of USD 350,000 for regional workshops in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific.

A contact group was established and met throughout the meeting, focusing on resource and logistical requirements related to the post-2020 process and communication and outreach.

On Wednesday, 28 November, plenary addressed a CRP developed by the contact group. Debate focused on the relationship between paragraphs on the development of voluntary biodiversity commitments that contribute to an effective post-2020 framework, and on the establishment of a process for considering benefit-sharing from DSI on genetic resources. The LMMC emphasized that the provisions need to be considered as a package. Switzerland, Canada, and Japan opposed. Brazil said she will not accept text on biodiversity commitments until text addressing DSI is accepted.

Switzerland stated that DSI is outside the scope of the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol, and opposed establishing a process for considering benefit-sharing from DSI use, noting the issue can be addressed by the envisaged working group on the post-2020 framework. The LMMC stated that use of DSI without benefit-sharing would result in misappropriation of genetic resources and would not be in line with the Convention’s objectives.

The EU proposed language requesting the Secretariat to provide an overview of relevant COP 14 decisions to the Working Group Co-Chairs, and the COP and SBSTTA Bureaus. Regarding documentation that will provide the basis for further discussion, delegates agreed to include: reference to measurable and time-bound targets; a separate entry on the potential role and modalities of voluntary commitments; references to the Paris Agreement adopted under the UNFCCC, and the need to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss and achieve transformational change, with regard to the scientific underpinning of actions necessary for progress; and reference to production and consumption patterns, with regard to global trends that may impact biodiversity and ecosystems.

Plenary decided to revisit outstanding paragraphs following the conclusion of deliberations on DSI.

On Thursday, 29 November, delegates considered the final draft decision in plenary, addressing paragraphs that were contingent on decisions elsewhere. The Secretariat outlined the new, compromise language on the development of voluntary biodiversity commitments that contribute to an effective post-2020 framework, and on the establishment of a process for considering benefit-sharing from DSI. Delegates agreed to refer to the DSI decision adopted under the COP. Delegates adopted the decision. The UK announced a voluntary contribution of GBP 265,000 to facilitate the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework, and a further GBP 150,000 towards the special Voluntary Trust Fund to facilitate participation in the process.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/COP/14/CRP.4) the COP adopts the preparatory process for the development of the post-2020 framework and decides to establish an open-ended intersessional working group to support the framework’s preparation, including consideration of DSI.

The COP urges parties and invites others to:

  • actively engage and contribute to the process of developing a robust post-2020 framework;
  • facilitate dialogues on the post-2020 framework and make the results available through the CHM;
  • consider the advice to enable a gender-responsive and gender-balanced procedure in their processes on the post-2020 framework; and
  • provide timely financial contributions and other support to the process, including by offering to host global, regional, sectoral, or thematic consultations.

The COP further requests:

  • the Secretariat to support the OEWG and the Co-Chairs, set up a high-level panel, and bring the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework to the attention of the UN General Assembly;
  • SBSTTA 23 and 24 to contribute to the development of the post-2020 framework;
  • the Article 8(j) Working Group at its eleventh meeting to provide recommendations concerning the potential role of traditional knowledge, customary sustainable use, and the contribution of the collective actions of IPLCs to the post-2020 framework;
  • SBI 3 to contribute to the development of the post-2020 framework and to complement it with elements related to means of support and review implementation; and
  • the Co-Chairs of the OEWG to provide further guidance on the elements of work to develop the post-2020 framework to be undertaken by the subsidiary bodies, and to integrate the outcomes of those meetings along with other considerations into its draft framework.

Annexed to the decision is the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework, including sections on: the overarching principles guiding the process; organization of work; the consultation process; documentation; key information sources; communication and outreach; and resource and logistical requirements.

Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO): This item was first considered in plenary on Sunday, 25 November, when delegates discussed a CRP on GBO-5. South Africa suggested, and delegates agreed, to acknowledge the contribution made by the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation in implementing and reviewing progress on the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, and request the Secretariat to consider the report and other assessments on plant conservation among the sources of information for the compilation of GBO-5. Regarding an invitation for financial contributions for GBO-5, the EU proposed, and delegates agreed, to include an assessment of the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. The CRP was approved as amended.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/COP/14/L.17), the COP requests the Secretariat to prepare GBO-5, and regarding the preparation of the report, the COP:

  • notes the importance of the sixth national reports;
  • highlights that IPBES assessments provide an important evidence base;
  • requests the Secretariat to continue collaborating with other biodiversity-related conventions, and other relevant processes and organizations, and notify relevant partners and potential contributors about the preparation time table; and
  • urges parties to make available, in an open manner, accurate and reliable biodiversity-related data.

Digital sequence information on genetic resources: On Sunday, 18 November, the Secretariat introduced the SBSTTA recommendation to WG I. The African Group, the LMMC, the African Union, and the IIFB said that DSI falls within the scope of the Convention and its Protocols, and benefit sharing should arise from its use. Japan and Switzerland noted that ABS obligations refer only to tangible genetic resources. Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Belarus stressed the need to agree on the definition and scope of DSI before carrying out further work. The EU noted that public and open-access databases are an important form of benefit-sharing. New Zealand stressed that access to, and use of, DSI is important for scientific research, and conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The Republic of Korea stressed the need for unrestricted access to DSI in public databases. The World Health Organization (WHO) stressed pathogen-related DSI as a global public health good, and urged its rapid and broad sharing to facilitate disease prevention. A contact group was established, which met throughout the meeting.

Contact group deliberations focused on the linkages of DSI with the objectives of the Convention, its contribution to scientific research, benefit-sharing from commercial and non-commercial use of DSI, capacity-building needs, and establishment of an intersessional process, including submission of information, and the mandate and tasks of an AHTEG.

On Thursday, 29 November, in plenary, the EU reported on the outcome of informal consultations on language reflecting the divergence of views on benefit-sharing from DSI. He noted that “parties commit to work towards resolving this divergence” through the process established, with the aim of strengthening the fulfilment of the third objective of the Convention and Article 15(7), without prejudice to the circumstances to which this article applies. The COP then adopted its decision as amended.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.36), the COP recognizes that access to and use of DSI contributes to scientific research, and that further capacity to access, use, generate, and analyze DSI is needed in many countries. It notes that some parties have adopted domestic measures that regulate the access to and use of DSI as part of their ABS frameworks, and that there is a divergence of views among parties regarding benefit-sharing from the use of DSI. The COP further decides to establish a science and policy-based process, which involves:

  • inviting governments, IPLCs, and others to submit their views and information to clarify the concept, including relevant terminology and scope, and if and how domestic ABS measures consider DSI, and on benefit-sharing arrangements from commercial and non-commercial use of DSI;
  • inviting governments, IPLCs, and others to submit information on capacity-building needs; and
  • establishing an extended AHTEG, including participation of IPLCs.

The COP requests the Secretariat to synthesize submissions, and commission studies on:

  • the concept and scope of DSI, ongoing developments in the field of traceability, public and, to the extent possible, private databases of DSI; and
  • how domestic ABS measures address benefit-sharing arising from commercial and non-commercial use of DSI.

The AHTEG is to consider the synthesis of views, develop options for operational terms and their implications to provide conceptual clarity, identify key areas for capacity building, and submit the outcomes for the consideration of the working group on the post-2020 framework.

Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge): Rutzolijirisaxik Voluntary Guidelines for Traditional Knowledge Repatriation: This item was first considered in WG II on Tuesday, 20 November, on the basis of the recommendations of the Article 8(j) Working Group. The IIFB, supported by many, looked forward to the guidelines’ adoption.

On Thursday, 22 November, delegates reviewed and approved a CRP.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision. The Republic of Korea put on record that the Korean people hold traditional knowledge, including for medicinal and other purposes and, while not objecting to the guidelines, they cannot fully apply them, especially provisions on publicly available traditional knowledge and benefit sharing. Switzerland also stated for the record that the guidelines go beyond their legal system especially in regard to retroactivity of provisions, which would lead to legal uncertainty and that they will not be able to apply them.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.14), the COP adopts the Rutzolijirisaxik Voluntary Guidelines for the repatriation of traditional knowledge of IPLCs relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. It invites parties and others to, inter alia: use the guidelines, as appropriate, in their efforts to repatriate and restore traditional knowledge to the original knowledge holders, and, where applicable, to facilitate the equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use, in particular through mutually agreed terms; and to report on experiences gained. It further invites the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to take into account the guidelines; and requests the Secretariat, in collaboration with relevant organizations, to support and facilitate efforts made towards the use of the guidelines.

The annexed Rutzolijirisaxik Voluntary Guidelines contain sections on: objectives; purpose; scope; guiding principles for repatriation; good practices and actions undertaken at various levels, including through community-to-community exchanges, to repatriate, receive, and restore traditional knowledge relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; special considerations; and mechanisms that may aid in the repatriation of traditional knowledge.

Glossary: This item was first considered in WG II on Tuesday, 20 November, on the basis of the recommendations of the Article 8(j) Working Group, containing some bracketed text. The IIFB urged parties to “adopt” rather than “take note of” the glossary, and remove the bracketed reference to the need for accordance with national legislation.

A CRP was discussed on Thursday, 22 November. Noting the many years of work that went into the document, many delegates preferred adopting it. Argentina and Colombia opposed, unless the definition of traditional biological resources was accompanied by reference to “in accordance with national legislation, as appropriate,” which was accepted.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.10), the COP adoptsthe annexed voluntary glossary of key terms and concepts within the context of Article 8(j) and related provisions, and encourages parties and others, with the full and effective participation of IPLCs, to disseminate and make use of it. The annexed voluntary glossary contains sections on terms and concepts derived from the text of the CBD or decisions made under the Convention and from outputs of the Article 8(j) work programme, developed by the Working Group, and others.

Other matters related to Article 8(j): This item was first considered in WG II on Tuesday, 20 November, on the basis of the recommendations of the Article 8(j) Working Group, and considered a CRP on Thursday, 22 November. Regarding an invitation to parties to mainstream traditional knowledge into the implementation of all relevant SDGs with the full and effective participation of IPLCs, Brazil, supported by Bolivia and Guatemala, suggested adding reference to IPLCs’ prior informed consent (PIC), free PIC, or approval and involvement. New Zealand, with Iran, proposed including “as appropriate, and consistent with national legislation and circumstances.” The IIFB, supported by the EU, suggested further adding “in accordance with international obligations.” These additions were included.

On Sunday, 25 November, the COP adopted its decision. 

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.9), the COP: recognizes the important contribution that traditional knowledge and customary use of biodiversity by IPLCs can make to the achievement of most SDGs; decides on the topic of the in-depth dialogue at Article 8(j) Working Group 11 to be the contribution of IPLC traditional knowledge and cultural diversity to the post-2020 biodiversity framework. The COP invites parties, when implementing the 2030 Agenda, to mainstream traditional knowledge with full and effective IPLC participation and with their PIC.

Sustainable Wildlife Management: This item was addressed in WG II on Tuesday 20 November, on the basis of a SBSTTA recommendation. On Thursday, 22 November, WG II addressed a CRP. Following informal discussions, delegates agreed to welcome the voluntary guidance for a sustainable wild meat sector, contained in an annex, with a caveat recognizing that it does not necessarily apply to all parties. Delegates agreed, following an initial proposal by Uruguay to take into account relevant traditional use by IPLCs to safeguard their livelihoods without adversely affecting them. On a paragraph encouraging parties to undertake cross-sectoral dialogues and joint trainings on sustainable wildlife management across a number of relevant sectors, delegates agreed to add the sectors of food processing and trade, and subject activities to national circumstances.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.11), the COP welcomes the voluntary guidance for a sustainable wild meat sector, contained in an annex, recognizing that it does not necessarily apply to all parties, with the aim of, inter alia, promoting the sustainability of supply at the source and managing the demand along the entire value chain. Further, the COP invites parties to, inter alia, provide, on a voluntary basis, best practices from their existing national programmes that promote sustainable wildlife management, while contributing to poverty reduction, food security, and employment generation, in line with the SDGs and sustainable use of biodiversity. The COP requests the Secretariat, in consultation with interested parties and others to, inter alia: further evaluate multidisciplinary approaches to combining better knowledge of the use of and trade in wildlife, taking into account the knowledge, innovations, and practices of IPLCs and livelihood alternatives for the customary sustainable use of wildlife.

The annexed voluntary guidance includes sections on: the context regarding wild meat, food security, and livelihoods; their scope, goal and objective; and technical guidance for achieving a sustainable wild meat sector, including provisions on:

  • managing and improving the sustainability of wild meat supply at the source;
  • reducing demand for unsustainably managed and/or illegal wild meat in cities and towns; and
  • creating the enabling conditions for a legal, regulated and sustainable wild meat sector.

Biodiversity and climate change: This item was first addressed by WG II on Monday, 19 November, based on a SBSTTA recommendation, which included bracketed language. Delegates supported removing brackets around a request to the Secretariat to review relevant new scientific and technical information, including the special IPCC 1.5°C report. IIFB, with GYBN, Bolivia, and Mexico, proposed also considering indigenous knowledge.

Many supported retaining a bracketed reference to considering the linkages between biodiversity and climate change in the preparation of the post-2020 framework. Colombia and Malaysia requested reference to synergies between IPBES and IPCC. Brazil called for deleting the paragraph since it prejudges the outcome of the post-2020 framework. Many welcomed the proposed voluntary guidelines. The African Group supported applying ecosystem approaches to climate change and disaster risk reduction, urging their prioritization in the post-2020 framework. Mexico, Ecuador, the Philippines, and Peru requested strengthening language on protected areas and their role in mitigating climate change impacts.

Following a lengthy debate on Sunday, 25 November, and discussions in a Friends of a Chair group, delegates agreed to note that ecosystem destruction, degradation, and fragmentation would “reduce their capacity to store carbon and lead to increases in greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the resilience and stability of ecosystems, and make climate change increasingly challenging.”

A contact group was established and reached agreement to add references to, inter alia:

  • strengthening ecosystem integrity for the conservation of natural ecosystems, with regard to the list of ecosystem-based approaches;
  • showing how the achievement of the SDGs, the Strategic Plan, and the Paris Agreement depend on the environment in all its diversity and complexity, with regard to the provision welcoming the IPBES assessment on land degradation and restoration; and
  • facilitating access to technology, when appropriate, to the provision on capacity building.

Delegates also agreed to consistently refer to “climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction” throughout the document. Turkey asked to “note with concern” the special IPCC report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C. Delegates agreed, and further asked for “consultation” with the IPCC when the Secretariat reviews new relevant scientific and technical information.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.23), the COP expresses deep concern that: failing to hold temperature increase well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels would place many species and ecosystems under very high risk; and escalating destruction, degradation, and fragmentation of ecosystems would reduce their capacity to store carbon and lead to increases in greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the resilience and stability of ecosystems, and make the climate change crisis ever more challenging. The COP further notes with concern the findings of the IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The COP adopts the annexed voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The COP encourages parties and others to, inter alia:conduct activities based on ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and ensure that they do not contribute to drivers of biodiversity loss or ecosystem degradation; and foster a coherent, integrated, and co-beneficial implementation of the actions under the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda, the CBD, including the Strategic Plan and the post-2020 framework, and other relevant international frameworks.

The COP requests the Secretariat, subject to availability of funds, inter alia, in consultation with the IPCC, to review new scientific and technical information, including by taking into account traditional knowledge and the special IPCC report, and to report to SBSTTA 15. It further requests the Secretariat to consider the linkages and interdependencies between biodiversity and climate change in the preparation of the post-2020 framework, and to liaise with the secretariats of relevant MEAs to promote synergies and coordinate activities related to climate change adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction.

The annexed voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction contain sections, among others, on: principles and safeguards; overarching considerations for ecosystem-based adaptation and ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction design and implementation; and a stepwise approach.

Biodiversity mainstreaming: Health and Biodiversity: This item, based on SBSTTA and SBI recommendations, was first addressed in WG II on Monday, 19 November. Via video, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, warned that successes in protecting human health could be in vain if environmental degradation continues, pointing to “undeniable links” between health and biodiversity. WG II addressed a CRP on Wednesday, 21 November. Delegates agreed to add references to “other holistic approaches” alongside the “One Health” approach. Following an initial proposal by Guatemala, delegates agreed to encourage parties to “make efforts to review, adjust, and improve biodiversity health linkages, in the environmental assessments of other relevant projects.”

On Thursday, 22 November, the COP adopted its decision with minor amendments.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.4), the COP welcomes, inter alia, the consideration of the interlinkages between human health and biodiversity by the World Health Assembly and the Guidance on integrating biodiversity considerations into One Health approaches, among other holistic approaches. The COP encourages parties and others to, inter alia, provide, where appropriate, effective incentives to mainstream biodiversity in the health sector, consistent with international obligations. Further, it invites the WHO to, inter alia, support implementation of this decision and collaborate with other members of the Inter-agency Liaison Group on Biodiversity and Health.

Mainstreaming of Biodiversity in the Energy and Mining, Infrastructure, Manufacturing and Processing Sectors:This item, based on SBSTTA and SBI recommendations, was first addressed in WG II on Monday, 19 November. Many supported the draft decision, the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration, and the establishment of an informal advisory group on biodiversity mainstreaming. Kenya called for international guidance on the mainstreaming and harmonization of biodiversity safeguards.

A CRP was then discussed on Monday, 26 November. Chair Nina convened a Friends of the Chair group to work on language regarding reviewing and updating legal frameworks, policies, and practices to promote biodiversity mainstreaming, including through consultations to obtain the free PIC of IPLCs, in accordance with applicable international agreements. Delegates agreed to “promote the full and effective participation of other relevant sectors, IPLCs, academia, women, youth, and other relevant stakeholders and, where applicable, through consultations with IPLCs with a view to obtain free PIC, consistent with international agreements and consistent with national policies, regulations, and circumstances,” when reviewing legal and policy frameworks on biodiversity mainstreaming.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision with minor amendments.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.20), the COP notes, inter alia, the importance of reviewing the effectiveness of, and identifying obstacles and challenges to, mainstreaming biodiversity, including the need for capacity building, technology transfer, mobilization and provision of financial resources; and the importance of enabling business initiatives to support biodiversity mainstreaming. Further, the COP encourages parties and invites others to, inter alia:

  • include approaches to conserve, enhance, and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services in upstream decisions on investments in these sectors;
  • apply the mitigation hierarchy when planning and designing new projects and plans; and
  • review and, as appropriate, update legal frameworks, policies, and practices to promote the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the energy and mining, infrastructure, and manufacturing and processing sectors.

The COP also calls on businesses to use the revised typology of actions for reporting on biodiversity-related business actions and associated guidance prepared by the Secretariat. Further, the COP invites multilateral development banks, insurance companies, the business sector, financial institutions, and other sources of financial investment to increase and improve, as appropriate, the implementation of best practices for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and social and environmental safeguards on decisions regarding investments in these sectors.

Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators: The item, based on a SBSTTA recommendation, was first discussed in WG II on Tuesday, 20 November. On Tuesday, 27 November, delegates discussed a CRP including Annex I on an updated plan of action 2018-2030 for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators, and Annex II on the summary of a review of 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.

On Annex I, Honduras, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, and Paraguay, opposed by Uruguay and Bolivia, requested deleting reference to LMOs in a provision on main drivers of pollinator loss. Following informal consultations on references to LMOs throughout the document, delegates agreed to: delete reference to LMOs from the list of main drivers of pollinator loss in Annex I; and maintain references in Annex II.

Delegates further agreed to state, in Annex II, that: LMOs that may affect non-target organisms should be subjected to a case-by-case risk assessment with regard to bees as well as domesticated and wild pollinators; risk assessment should consider different developmental stages and the potential of both lethal and sub-lethal effects, among other relevant aspects; and recent reviews showed no direct negative effects of LMOs on honey bees and domesticated and wild pollinators, but nevertheless, further scientific research on potential effects of LMOs on pollinators is of interest. Quoting the IPBES report, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela requested mentioning in the report of the meeting that they disagree with the idea that there is no scientific evidence that LMOs affect pollinators, since many national assessments do not adequately consider sub-lethal effects, and that lack of data cannot be considered lack of evidence. Following informal consultations on whether to “welcome” or “take note of” Annex II, delegates agreed to take note of it with appreciation.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted its decision, as amended.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.28), the COP urges parties and invites other governments to address the drivers of wild and managed pollinators’ decline in all ecosystems. Further, the COP encourages parties and other governments to, inter alia, encourage farmers, beekeepers, land managers, urban communities, IPLCs and other stakeholders to adopt pollinator-friendly practices and address direct and indirect drivers of pollinator decline at the field and local level. It also invites the FAO to facilitate the implementation of the Plan of Action.

The annexed updated Plan of Action 2018-2030 for the International Initiative on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators includes an introduction, and sections on: objectives, purpose and scope; context and overall rationale; and elements regarding:

  • enabling policies and strategies;
  • field-level implementation;
  • civil society and private sector engagement; and
  • monitoring, research and assessment.

Annex II includes a summary of the review of 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.

Spatial planning, protected areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs): This item, based on the relevant SBSTTA recommendation, was first introduced on Tuesday, 20 November, in WG II. After debate on a CRP on Monday, 26 November, a Friends of the Chair group was established to present text on regional OECM initiatives. A lengthy debate took place on whether to re-open the annexed voluntary guidance on the integration of protected areas and OECMs into wider land- and seascapes. Following agreement to re-open it, delegates agreed to references on, inter alia:

  • the lack of adequate human, financial, and administrative resources that are slowing progress on protected area integration and mainstreaming;
  • species that may shift their range in response to climate change impacts, regarding a paragraph on key species for which fragmentation is a key issue;
  • the multiple values of ecosystem functions and services rather than just their economic value; and
  • the sectors of fisheries, forestry, mining, and tourism, in a paragraph on the sectors responsible for habitat fragmentation.

Following informal consultations on a proposal from IPLCs, delegates agreed to state that, in accordance with national legislation and circumstances, management approaches should consider:

  • any destabilization of relationships between IPLCs and wildlife in protected areas;
  • existing IPLC governance and equity systems with respect to transboundary protected areas and conservation corridors; and
  • any conflict of overlapping OECMs with existing indigenous and community conserved areas and IPLC governance systems, taking into account free PIC.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision with minor amendments.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.19), the COP encourages parties and invites 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 OECMs contained in Annex III. Further, the COP urges parties to facilitate mainstreaming of protected areas and OECMs into key sectors.

The voluntary guidance on the integration of protected areas and OECMs into wider land- and seascapes and mainstreaming across sectors to contribute, inter alia, to the SDGs, includes sections on: context; suggested steps for enhancing and supporting integration; and suggested steps for enhancing and supporting mainstreaming.

The voluntary guidance on effective governance models for management of protected areas, including equity, taking into account work being undertaken under Article 8(j) and related provisions, includes sections on: context; governance diversity; and effective and equitable governance models.

The scientific and technical advice on other effective area-based conservation measures includes: guiding principles and common characteristics; criteria for identification; and further considerations.

A final annex on considerations in achieving Aichi Target 11 (protected areas) in marine and coastal areas includes sections on: unique aspects of the marine environment with relevance to area-based conservation/management measures; main types of area-based conservation measures in marine and coastal areas; and approaches for accelerating progress towards Aichi Target 11 in marine and coastal areas.

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity: Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas: This item, based on the relevant SBSTTA recommendation and containing options for modification of descriptions of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), was first introduced to WG II on Tuesday, 20 November.

Delegates debated bracketed references to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the legal framework for all activities in the sea, with the EU, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Palau for Pacific Island Countries, supporting, and Turkey, Venezuela, and Colombia opposing.

The EU indicated readiness to support modalities for modification of EBSAs in areas beyond national jurisdiction as long as they are in accordance with UNCLOS; while noting, with the Maldives, that those within national jurisdiction are subject to the decisions of the respective state. Brazil called for distinguishing between areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, while Switzerland called for uniform modalities. Canada stressed that their EBSAs are based on peer-reviewed science and do not require further peer review for inclusion in the repository. The Republic of Korea emphasized that the spirit of EBSAs is “multilateral and collaborative,” not unilateral. Argentina and Brazil suggested noting that the documents shall not prejudice positions of countries involved in disputed areas. South Africa and Egypt supported linking EBSAs to the application of area-based management tools.

Delegates further debated options on actors that can propose modification of EBSA descriptions, and initiate the description of new areas meeting the EBSA criteria.

Morocco, New Zealand, Côte d’Ivoire, India, and Iceland reaffirmed UNCLOS as the legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas. Senegal and Uruguay opposed. Many called for capacity building, including through the Sustainable Ocean Initiative, and for collaboration with a range of international and regional initiatives and organizations. Seychelles and others underscored plastic pollution as a challenge.

Saudi Arabia and Chile requested retaining reference to using scientific information related to EBSAs when applying relevant area-based management tools. Chile suggested adding “with a view to conservation.” China emphasized that national sovereignty and existing regional bodies should be respected, and defining EBSAs should follow a peer-review process.

Differing views were expressed on two sets of options regarding modification of existing EBSAs and designation of new ones. Guatemala called for an inclusive process. Japan stressed the need for the options to be simplified to avoid confusion and take into account lessons learned. Senegal, Chile, and India, opposed by Iceland, suggested “taking note of,” rather than “endorsing,” the set of options. WWF, the Nature Conservancy, and Birdlife International stressed that unilateral decisions run counter to the spirit of the Convention and could result in EBSA descriptions being withdrawn without due process.

A contact group was established, which met throughout the meeting, focusing on, among other issues, modalities for modifying the description of EBSAs, describing new areas, and strengthening the scientific credibility and transparency of the process; and the terms of reference of an informal advisory group. Turkey noted that the discussion deviates from biodiversity-related considerations into issues related to national jurisdiction. Argentina stressed that the disagreement is not strictly related to the CBD and marine biodiversity, but encompasses issues outside the CBD framework. Egypt, Iceland, Singapore, and South Africa urged reaching a consensus, underscoring the importance of the issue. Consultations continued in a Friends of the Chair group.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary was presented with the outcome of informal consultations, including:

  • a preambular paragraph recalling UN General Assembly resolution 72/73 on oceans and law of the sea and its preambular paragraph on UNCLOS;
  • a paragraph welcoming the report of the expert workshop to develop options for modifying EBSA descriptions, describing new areas, and strengthening the process, held in Berlin;
  • a request to the Secretariat, subject to the availability of funding, to identify options for modifying EBSA descriptions, describing new areas, and strengthening the process, noting the above-mentioned report and Annex II of the decision, for SBSTTA and COP consideration;
  • noting Annex III of the decision; and
  • several deletions in Annex III on the addendum to the terms of reference of the informal advisory group on EBSAs.

Colombia, Turkey, and Venezuela requested that footnotes be included in the decision with regard to the reference to UNCLOS, noting that to their understanding UNCLOS is not the only legally binding framework governing activities in oceans and seas. The Republic of Korea put on record that it requests the Secretariat to take into due account ongoing discussion and concerns raised by parties regarding the process of national submissions to the EBSA repository. Singapore stated that language in the decision cannot detract from existing state obligations under international law, including UNCLOS. The EU, with Ghana and Japan, emphasized the universal character of UNCLOS, which sets the legal framework for all oceanic activities, and further promotes stability of law, and international peace and security, adding that international jurisprudence has long accepted that its provisions embody customary international law. Turkey requested bracketing the entire Annex II on modalities. The decision was then adopted as amended, with Annex II in brackets.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.34), the COP:

  • recalls UN General Assembly resolution 72/73 on oceans and law of the sea and its preambular paragraph on UNCLOS;
  • welcomes the scientific and technical information contained in the summary reports prepared by SBSTTA contained in Annex II;
  • calls for further collaboration and information-sharing among the Secretariat of the CBD, the FAO, the International Maritime Organization, and the International Seabed Authority, as well as regional fishery bodies, regarding the use of scientific information related to EBSAs;
  • invites parties to submit descriptions of areas that meet the EBSA criteria in the North-East Atlantic; and
  • reaffirms that the present decision and its implementation is strictly a scientific and technical exercise.

Annex I includes a summary report on the description of areas meeting the scientific criteria for EBSAs.

Annex II, in brackets, contains modalities for modifying the description of EBSAs, for describing new areas, and for strengthening the scientific credibility and transparency of the process.

Annex III, on an addendum to the terms of reference of the informal advisory group on EBSAs, addresses: development of guidance for the Secretariat on the organization of new workshops; advice to the Secretariat in the planning of EBSA workshops to ensure the provisioning of scientific and technical knowledge; and advice to the Secretariat in developing draft voluntary guidelines for scientific peer-review processes.

Other matters related to marine and coastal biodiversity: This item, based on the relevant SBSTTA recommendation, was first introduced on Tuesday, 20 November, in WG II. Following proposals by the EU and Canada, delegates agreed to welcome the progress of work of the International Seabed Authority. Benin proposed, and delegates agreed, to request the Secretariat to: contribute to the work of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter, in respect to, among others, the UNEA resolution on plastics and micro-plastics; and continue work on the impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise on marine and coastal biodiversity, as well as on experiences with the application of marine spatial planning.

On a paragraph recognizing the need for further research on the impacts of marine debris, following proposals by South Africa, the EU, and Seychelles, delegates decided to include impacts of plastics and micro-plastics on marine and coastal biodiversity and habitats, and to emphasize the need for the clean-up and removal of marine debris, where appropriate and practical.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.24), the COP urges parties to increase their efforts regarding:

  • avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating the impacts of marine debris, in particular plastic pollution, on marine and coastal biodiversity and habitats;
  • addressing the potential impacts of deep-seabed mining on marine biodiversity; and
  • protecting biodiversity in cold-water areas.

Further, it welcomes the work of UNEA’s Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter, and recognizes the need for further research on the impacts of marine debris, including plastics and micro-plastics, on marine and coastal biodiversity and habitats. The COP also invites FAO and regional fishery bodies to contribute scientific information, experiences, and lessons learned, as appropriate, including relevant reporting from the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries Questionnaire, as an input for GBO-5.

Invasive alien species (IAS): This item, based on the relevant SBSTTA recommendation, was first introduced on Wednesday, 21 November. Delegates addressed the document, including the annexed supplementary voluntary guidance for avoiding unintentional introductions of IAS associated with trade in live organisms. Norway pledged USD 60,000 towards the work of the AHTEG on IAS. Colombia proposed encouraging parties to, among others, develop and share the list of regulated IAS based on risk analysis, as appropriate. Viet Nam, with Colombia, suggested encouraging the GEF and other funding agencies to provide financial assistance for capacity building for IAS-related projects. Delegates accepted a request by IIFB regarding IPLC participation in the AHTEG.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.27), the COP decides, subject to the availability of resources, to establish an AHTEG, which will meet as needed to ensure timely provision of advice on achieving Aichi Target 9 (IAS). Further, the COP encourages parties and invites other governments to, inter alia:

  • share information on national regulations that are relevant to IAS;
  • develop and share a list of regulated IAS, based on the results of risk analysis, where appropriate; and
  • collaborate to prevent new introduction and spread of those species of concern.

It urges parties and others to coordinate with the authorities responsible for customs, border controls, and 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 organisms.

The COP also requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources to, inter alia, further facilitate development and use of the information on the pathways of introduction and their impact, in collaboration with the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership, taking into account the necessity of monitoring the flow of alien species sold via e-commerce.

The annexed supplementary voluntary guidance for avoiding unintentional introductions of IAS associated with trade in live organisms includes sections on scope and measures to reduce the risk of IAS moving unintentionally in pathways associated with trade in live organisms, including elements on:

  • conformity with existing international standards and other guidance relevant to IAS;
  • responsible preparation of consignments of live organisms;
  • packing containers/consignment;
  • materials associated within packing containers;
  • feed or food for live animals;
  • treatment of by-products, waste, waters, and media;
  • condition of carrier conveyances;
  • role of the receiver/importer;
  • role of states and national authorities in relation to IAS;
  • monitoring; and
  • other measures.

Annex II includes terms of reference for the AHTEG on IAS.

Synthetic Biology: This item was first addressed by WG II on Sunday, 18 November, on the basis of a SBSTTA recommendation. Discussions focused on: the need for a precautionary approach; whether the AHTEG should develop a process for regular horizon scanning, and whether to include reference to genome editing.

The EU, with Grenada, proposed that horizon scanning, monitoring, and assessing developments in the field of synthetic biology are needed, including those that “may” result from genome editing. Bolivia, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, and Venezuela called for including any genome editing developments in the analysis. The African Group, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru requested deletion of the reference to genome editing.

On a paragraph calling on parties, given the current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, to apply a precautionary approach with bracketed options “with regard to” or “and refrain from” the release of such organisms, the EU offered compromise text calling on parties to refrain from such releases unless risk assessment has been performed and relevant measures are in place. Indonesia, Norway, and the IIFB emphasized relevant socio-economic, cultural, and ethical considerations. The IIFB and Via Campesina called for a moratorium on gene drives. The Public Research Regulators Initiative and Imperial College London stated that bans could seriously hamper research in synthetic biology.

The African Group supported the development of additional guidance, and, with many, extension of the AHTEG mandate. A contact group was convened. A compromise started to arise in the contact group to remove the reference to genome editing from operative language, while retaining it in the annexed terms of reference for the AHTEG. Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Japan, and Mexico preferred deleting all references to genome editing. The African Group opposed emphasis on genome editing, which could be harnessed for socio-economic development. Many urged retaining references to genome editing. Noting that IPLCs may have to live with the unintended consequences of synthetic biology, the IIFB regretted that international human rights standards on free PIC are not adequately reflected in the document.

Discussion then focused on two bracketed options in the annexed terms of reference for the AHTEG on synthetic biology regarding taking stock of new developments in synthetic biology in order to support a regular horizon scanning process. Argentina, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa preferred the option on considering whether specific organisms developed through genome editing should be included in the exercise. The EU, Cuba, Egypt, Uruguay, and Venezuela supported the option that referred to taking into account that the exercise may include some applications of genome editing. Norway presented compromise language, referring to considering whether applications of genome editing should be included in the stock-taking exercise, in order to support a broad and regular horizon scanning process. The EU further proposed considering, “inter alia, applications of genome editing, which relate to synthetic biology.”

Following deliberations in a Friends of the Chair group, delegates agreed to:

  • remove reference to genome editing in the operative paragraph, agreeing that broad and regular horizon scanning, monitoring, and assessing of the most recent technological developments is needed to review new information regarding the potential positive and potential negative impacts of synthetic biology vis-à-vis the three objectives of the Convention; and
  • in the annex, to request the AHTEG to take stock of new technological developments in synthetic biology, including concrete applications of genome editing if they relate to synthetic biology to support a broad and regular horizon scanning process.

On Wednesday, 27 November, WG II approved the CRP as amended.

On Thursday, 28 November, the COP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/L.31), the COP agrees that broad and regular horizon scanning, monitoring, and assessing of the most recent technological developments is needed for reviewing new information on the potential positive and potential negative impacts of synthetic biology vis-à-vis the three objectives of the Convention and those of the Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols. It calls upon parties and others, taking into account the current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, to apply a precautionary approach, and to only consider introducing organisms containing engineered gene drives into the environment, when scientifically-sound case-by-case risk assessments have been carried out, risk management measures are in place to avoid or minimize potential adverse effects, as appropriate, and where appropriate, the “prior and informed consent,” the “free PIC,” or “approval and involvement” of potentially affected IPLCs is sought or obtained, in accordance with national circumstances and legislation. The COP also decides to extend the AHTEG on synthetic biology and the open-ended online forum.

The annexed terms of reference for the AHTEG on synthetic biology include taking stock of new technological developments in synthetic biology since the last meeting of the AHTEG, including the consideration, among other things, of concrete applications of genome editing if they relate to synthetic biology, in order to support a broad and regular horizon scanning process.

Liability and redress: This item (CBD/COP/14/10) was first introduced on Monday, 19 November. The African Group encouraged parties to take into account issues related to restoration and compensation. The EU highlighted the entry into force of the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress, noting it should be taken into account along with national environmental liability legislation.

On Wednesday, 21 November, delegates considered a CRP. Argentina, opposed by the EU and Bolivia, asked to delete a reference to the provision of appropriate financial security instruments, such as insurance and environmental compensation funds, and other innovative financial mechanisms. Brazil, supported by Iran, considered the requirement of financial security instruments a discriminatory practice against developing countries.

On Thursday, 22 November, WG II established a Friends of the Chair group.

On Tuesday, 27 November, delegates approved the outcome of deliberations in the Friends of the Chair group, including, inter alia, the deletion of language taking note of a relevant judgment from the International Court of Justice and inviting parties to provide appropriate financial security instruments, such as insurance and environmental compensation funds, and other innovative financial mechanisms. WG II approved the CRP on Wednesday, 28 November.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/14/L.26), the COP welcomes the entry into force of the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress, and further invites parties to continue to address the issue of liability and redress in the context of Article 14(2), including restoration and compensation for damage to biodiversity through, as appropriate, national policy, legislation, and NBSAPs.

Date and venue of future meetings: On Saturday, 17 November, plenary recalled that COPs 15 and 16 will be held in China and Turkey respectively, and invited the CEE region to indicate interest in hosting COP 17. On Thursday, 22 November, plenary adopted a CRP on the topic as its final decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/14/CRP.2), the COP invites parties from CEE to offer to host COP 17, and requests the SBI to prepare a proposal on the periodicity of meetings beyond COP 16.

Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 9

Compliance: On Saturday, 17 November, Cartagena Protocol Compliance Committee Chair Clare Hamilton presented the Committee’s report (CBD/CP/MOP/9/2), including a recommendation that Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 9 issue a caution to Turkmenistan, Greece, the Marshall Islands, and Montenegro for failure to fulfill their reporting obligations.

On Wednesday, 21 November, Hamilton reported to WG I that national reports had been received from the Marshall Islands, Greece, and Turkmenistan, who are now in compliance with their obligations. Drawing attention to the country’s limited capacities, Georgia, for CEE, opposed the recommendation to caution Montenegro.

On Sunday, 25 November, WG I approved a CRP, and delegates adopted the decision, on Thursday, 29 November.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.11), the COP/MOP:

  • reminds parties of their obligation to take the necessary legal, administrative, and other measures to implement and monitor implementation of the Protocol, including the need to maintain up-to-date details of the national focal points on the BCH;
  • urges parties to make required information available in the BCH, in particular regarding risk assessments and transboundary movement of LMOs for intentional introduction into the environment;
  • encourages parties to mainstream biosafety in their educational systems; and
  • notes with regret that one party has not submitted its national reports, and requests them, as a matter of urgency, to do so.   

Administration and budget: This item was first considered in plenary on Saturday, 17 November, in conjunction with the relevant item under the Convention.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted the integrated programme of work and budget for the Convention and its Protocols.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/COP-MOP/9/L.17), the COP/MOP, inter alia: decides to share all costs for Secretariat services among the Convention, and the Cartagena and the Nagoya Protocols, respectively in a ratio of 74:15:11 for the biennium 2019-2020; approves a core programme budget for the Cartagena Protocol USD 2,842,300 for 2019 and USD 2,984,300 for 2020, representing 15% of the integrated budget of USD 18,948,900 and USD 19,895,200, respectively, for 2019 and 2020; and expresses appreciation for Canada’s renewed support as host country of the Secretariat and welcomes its contribution.

Financial mechanism and resources: This issue was first considered by WG I on Monday, 19 November. The Secretariat introduced an SBI recommendation and relevant information (CBD/CP/MOP/9/12). India and South Africa raised concerns about the low number of biosafety projects funded in GEF-7. The EU highlighted that many donors have increased their contributions. Delegates agreed a CRP would be prepared.

On Thursday, 22 November, WG I approved a CRP without discussion, and the COP/MOP adopted the decision on Thursday, 29 November.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.3), the COP/MOP urges eligible parties to prioritize biosafety projects during GEF-7, including through cooperative projects at regional and subregional levels. Further, it recommends that the COP/MOP invite the GEF to continue making funds available to assist eligible parties to: fully implement the Protocol; fulfill their reporting obligations; and implement compliance action plans.

Capacity building: This item was first considered in WG I on Monday, 19 November. The Secretariat introduced relevant documents, including an SBI recommendation and a report, containing, inter alia, conclusions by the Liaison Group on Capacity Building for Biosafety. The EU welcomed the proposed process for developing a long-term strategic framework, and called for aligning its activity schedule with that of the Convention. Many underscored the need for continued sharing of information and experiences between parties. Mexico highlighted the need for building capacities on participatory processes involving IPLCs. Kenya requested capacity-building support for detecting and identifying LMOs. Third World Network stressed capacity building in light of biotechnology developments, including for detection and identification. A CRP was approved without amendment on Sunday, 25 November. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted its decision.

Final Decision:In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.10), the COP/MOP urges parties to prioritize and focus on operational objectives relating to the development of national biosafety legislation, risk assessment, detection, and identification of LMOs, and public awareness, education, and participation; and to prioritize capacity-building activities on liability and redress in the remaining period of the Framework and Action Plan. 

The COP/MOP requests the Liaison Group on Capacity Building for Biosafety to, inter alia, at its thirteenth meeting, contribute to the development of the draft action plan for capacity building for implementation of the Cartagena Protocol and its Supplementary Protocol and the draft long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020.

Operation and activities of the Biosafety Clearing-House: This item was first considered in WG I onTuesday, 20 November. The Secretariat introduced a draft decision and an update on BCH-related activities. Delegates stressed the role of BCH in the Protocol’s implementation and requested the Secretariat undertake planned activities that have not been concluded due to lack of resources. Many commended the UNEP-GEF capacity-building project for effective participation in the BCH. Delegates approved a CRP with minor amendments on Sunday, 25 November, further noting that the joint modalities for the clearing-houses of the Convention and its Protocols will be reproduced in the COP decision only. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.8), the COP/MOP decides that the Informal Advisory Committee will hold one meeting and online consultations as needed, and requests the Informal Advisory Committee to provide inputs for the evaluation of the strategic framework through a review of preliminary findings and by providing additional information and recommendations.

Cooperation with other organizations: On Wednesday, 21 November, WG I took note of the relevant document (CBD/CP/MOP/9/6). The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noted a recent global conference on genome editing in agriculture. No decision was adopted on this item.

Monitoring and reporting, and assessment and review: Monitoring and reporting: On Tuesday, 20 November, the Secretariat introduced SBI recommendations and the relevant document (CBD/CP/MOP/9/5) to WG I. Delegates: welcomed the revised format for the fourth national report and the alignment of reporting cycles between the Convention and the Protocols; highlighted the usefulness of GEF support and capacity-building needs; and underscored timely submission of reports for monitoring the Protocol’s implementation.

On Thursday, 22 November, delegates approved a CRP, as amended, to reflect those parties that have submitted their third national report. On Sunday, 25 November, plenary adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.5), the COP/MOP adopts an updated reporting format and requests parties to use it for their fourth national reports. The updated format is contained in an annex.

Assessment and review: On Tuesday, 20 November, the Secretariat introduced the relevant SBI recommendation to WG I. Delegates approved a CRP on Thursday, 22 November. On Sunday, 25 November, plenary adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP-MOP/9/L.6), the COP/MOP decides that the fourth assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol will be combined with the final evaluation of the Protocol’s Strategic Plan. It requests the Liaison Group on Capacity-Building and the Compliance Committee to contribute to the fourth assessment and review, for SBI 3 consideration.

Enhancing integration under the Convention and its Protocols with respect to biosafety: Discussion on this item was held jointly under the Convention and its Protocols, and is summarized under the relevant agenda item under CBD COP 14. On Wednesday, 28 November, delegates approved a CRP without amendments. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.14), the COP/MOP takes note of the proposed ways and means for enhanced integration and welcomes the relevant CBD COP 14 decision.

Review of effectiveness of processes under the Convention and its Protocols: Discussion on this item was held jointly under the Convention and its Protocols, and is summarized under the relevant agenda item under CBD COP 14.

Review of experience in holding concurrent meetings: On Sunday, 25 November, WG I approved a CRP under the Protocol without amendment. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP approved the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.9), the COP/MOP highlights the importance of ensuring adequate participation in meetings of the Protocol, and requests the Secretariat to further develop the preliminary review of the experience in concurrent meetings.

Conflicts of interest in expert groups: On Wednesday, 21 November, delegates considered the issue on the basis of an SBI recommendation and established a Friends of the Chair group. On Wednesday, 28 November, following a report from the Friends of the Chair group, delegates approved a CRP under the Protocol with minor amendments. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP approved the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.15), the COP/MOP approves the procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest in expert groups contained in the annex to the relevant COP 14 decision.

Preparation for the follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety 2011-2020: WG I addressed the issue on Tuesday, 20 November, on the basis of an SBI recommendation. On Wednesday, 28 November, plenary approved a CRP without amendments, and delegates adopted the decision on Thursday, 29 November. Discussions on the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework are further summarized under the same agenda item under COP 14.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.16), the COP/MOP decides to develop a specific post-2020 implementation plan for the Cartagena Protocol that is anchored in, and complementary to, the post-2020 framework. It decides this post-2020 implementation plan will, among others:

  • include new elements that reflect lessons learned and new biosafety-related developments; and
  • comprise simple and easily measurable indicators to review implementation.

The COP/MOP further decides to expand the scope of the Liaison Group on Capacity Building for Biosafety, and rename it the Liaison Group on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

On the development of the biosafety element of the post-2020 framework, it requests the Secretariat to:

  • convene dedicated biosafety sessions during global and regional consultation workshops;
  • compile submissions by parties and others regarding potential structure and content;
  • convene meetings of the Liaison Group; and
  • prepare, and facilitate peer-review of, a draft post-2020 implementation plan for consideration by the next COP/MOP.

Risk assessment and risk management: On Sunday, 18 November, WG II addressed a SBSTTA recommendation. The African Group, with New Zealand, Thailand, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia, requested deleting references to genome editing. Bolivia called for retaining them. The EU and Norway proposed focus on specific techniques such as gene drives and LMO fish. New Zealand, opposed by Bolivia, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Brazil, asked to retain bracketed references specifying that effects on biodiversity should be “serious and irreversible.” The EU suggested prioritizing LMOs that have the potential to cause adverse effects on biodiversity, where those causing serious or irreversible effects would be considered in particular. Delegates discussed whether to continue work in an online forum, an AHTEG, or both, and their budgetary implications. A contact group was established and reached consensus on the outstanding issues. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.13), the COP/MOP 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. It decides to:

  • establish a process for the identification and prioritization of specific issues regarding LMO risk assessment for consideration by the Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP with a view to developing further guidance on risk assessment on the specific issues identified in an annex;
  • consider at COP/MOP 10 whether additional guidance materials on risk assessment are needed for LMOs containing engineered gene drives, and living modified fish;
  • establish an AHTEG on risk assessment in accordance with the annexed terms of reference; and
  • extend the online forum on risk assessment and risk management to assist the AHTEG.

The COP/MOP requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to, inter alia:commission a study informing the application of the annexed potential issues to LMOs containing engineered gene drives and LMO fish and present it to the open-ended online forum and AHTEG; and convene a face-to-face meeting of the AHTEG.

The final decision contains annexes on the identification and prioritization of specific issues of risk assessment of LMOs that may warrant consideration, and the terms of reference for the AHTEG.

Unintentional transboundary movements and emergency measures: This item (CBD/CP/MOP/9/8 and 8/Add.1) was first considered in WG II on Sunday, 18 November. Delegates discussed issues related to capacity building, and provision of funds through the GEF and other possible funding agencies; and whether the draft training manual on detection and definition of LMOs went beyond the scope of the Protocol. Following a request by the EU and a lengthy discussion, delegates agreed to differentiate requests to the Secretariat based on whether they are subject to availability of funds or not. The African Group suggested requesting the Secretariat to synthesize information provided by parties regarding their needs on detection and identification of LMOs. Prolonged deliberations took place on a paragraph encouraging parties to require exporters of LMOs to provide the appropriate reference materials to enable the laboratory work on detection and identification of such organisms for regulatory purposes. They agreed to include a footnote that defines the concept of operator, as per Article 2 (use of terms) of the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress.

On Sunday, 25 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision with an amendment by Paraguaythat the Secretariat be requested to review and finalize the manual on detection and definition of LMOs “in the context of Cartagena Protocol Article 17.”

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.2), the COP/MOP: takes note of the draft training manual on detection and identification of LMOs as a tool for capacity building; and invites the GEF and other relevant funding agencies to provide funds for regional projects aimed at building scientific capacities towards LMO detection and identification.

The COP/MOP encourages parties: in the context of Article 17, and in accordance with national legislation, to require the responsible operator to provide information or access, direct or indirect, to reference materials to enable the laboratory work on detection and identification of such organisms for regulatory purposes; and to submit to the Secretariat information on their capacities and needs with regard to detection and identification of LMOs.

The COP/MOP requests the Secretariat to, inter alia: review and finalize the draft training manual; and, subject to availability of resources, continue efforts to build the capacity of developing countries in relation to the detection and identification of LMOs.

Transit and contained use of LMOs: This item (CBD/CP/MOP/9/9) was first addressed by WG II on Sunday, 18 November. Discussions focused on the need for consistent terminology. Honduras and India called for clarifying the definitions of intentional introduction and contained use. Bolivia, Switzerland, and Third World Network stressed that activities that have contact with and impact the environment fall outside the definition of “contained use.” Many called for capacity building on contained use, strengthening research infrastructure, and utilizing the BCH for exchange of experiences.

On Sunday, 25 November, WG II considered a CRP. Regarding a paragraph on the implementation of specific measures for contained use that effectively limit the contact of LMOs with, and their impact on, the external environment, Panama and Honduras, opposed by Bolivia and Switzerland, asked to refer to their “potential” impact. Pointing out that the original language was taken from the Cartagena Protocol, delegates agreed to add instead “in accordance with Protocol Article 3(b).”

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.7), the COP/MOP: takes note of the Compliance Committee’s assessment of information submitted by parties to the BCH as decisions under contained use; and reminds parties that Article 3(b) of the Cartagena Protocol sets out the definition of contained use. The COP/MOP encourages parties and others to cooperate and promotecapacity development to support the implementation of specific measures for contained use that effectively limit the contact of LMOs with, and their impact on, the external environment, in accordance with Cartagena Protocol Article 3(b).

Socio-economic considerations: This item (CBD/CP/MOP/9/10) was first considered in WG II on Sunday, 18 November. Many welcomed the guidance. Brazil proposed to “take note of” it, pointing to long-standing concerns regarding use of concepts outside the CBD and scientific realm. Many underscored the voluntary character of the guidance. Many also supported the continuation of the AHTEG. Some supported a limited mandate focusing on gathering information on the usefulness of the guidance. Namibia, Malaysia, and Bolivia proposed the AHTEG meet face to face, calling for funding. Paraguay, Panama, the Philippines, and Argentina opposed extending the AHTEG’s mandate. Japan and China emphasized that assessments of socio-economic considerations should be science- and evidence-based.

A contact group was established. Discussions focused on the need for extending the AHTEG mandate, and the need for a face-to-face meeting. On Wednesday, 28 November, WG II approved a CRP. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.12), the COP/MOP takes note of the “guidance on the assessment of socio-economic considerations in the context of CP Article 26” and invites parties and others to use and submit experiences using the guidance. It further establishes an online forum and extends the AHTEG. The terms of reference for the AHTEG on socio-economic considerations are contained in the annex.

Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress: This item was first considered by WG II on Sunday, 18 November. The Secretariat introduced the document (CBD/CP/MOP/9/11), noting the Supplementary Protocol’s recent entry into force. Mexico emphasized the need for clarity in implementation. Tajikistan proposed requesting UNEP and IUCN to develop an explanatory guide. The EU proposed a comprehensive study on financial security.

On Thursday, 22 November, WG II considered a CRP. Parties debated at length how to make clear that the decision applies only to parties of the Supplementary Protocol. Brazil urged revisiting financial arrangements. They finally agreed to a footnote replicating Supplementary Protocol Article 14(1), which states that the Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP serves as the meeting of the parties to the Supplementary Protocol, further specifying that the Supplementary Protocol parties have taken the decision.

Delegates debated a paragraph requesting the Secretariat, subject to the availability of funds, to undertake awareness-raising activities and provide support for implementation. Cuba and Viet Nam requested the addition of capacity-building in addition to awareness-raising activities. Brazil stressed that funding for these activities should not come from the core budget allocation on awareness raising. The Secretariat suggested clarifying, and delegates agreed, that the funds would come from the Voluntary Trust Fund.

Regarding a paragraph on a comprehensive study on financial security mechanisms, Brazil asked, and delegates agreed, to make this subject to the availability of funds from the Voluntary Trust Fund. The CRP was approved with these and other minor amendments.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision with a minor editorial amendment.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.4), the Meeting of the Parties to the Supplementary Protocol requests:

  • the Secretariat, subject to the availability of funds from the Voluntary Trust Fund, to continue awareness-raising and capacity-building activities to support parties’ implementation of the Supplementary Protocol;
  • parties to report on their implementation measures as part of their fourth national report for the Cartagena Protocol; and
  • the Secretariat to carry out a study, subject to the availability of funds from the Voluntary Trust Fund, including addressing the modalities of financial security mechanisms, and assessing the environmental, economic, and social impacts of such mechanisms, particularly on developing countries.

Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 3

Compliance: On Saturday, 17 November, Nagoya Protocol Compliance Committee Chair Kaspar Sollberger (Switzerland) presented the Committee’s report (CBD/NP/MOP/3/2), underscoring that it focuses on assessment and review, and that 82 of 100 parties have submitted their interim national reports.

On Thursday, 22 November, the COP/MOP adopted a CRP as its final decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/CRP.1), the COP/MOP takes note of the report and recommendations of the second meeting of the Compliance Committee, and urges parties that have not yet done so to establish ABS legislative, administrative, and policy measures, and institutional arrangements.

Administration and budget: This item was first considered in plenary on Saturday, 17 November, and was considered jointly under the Convention and its Protocols. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the integrated programme of work and budget for the Convention and its Protocols.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/COP/MOP/3/L.16), the COP/MOP, inter alia: decides to share all costs for Secretariat services among the Convention, the Cartagena and the Nagoya Protocols, respectively in a ratio of 74:15:11 for the biennium 2019-2020; and approves a core programme budget for the NP of USD 2,084,400 for 2019 and USD 2,188,500 for 2020, representing 11% of the integrated budget of USD 18,948,900 and USD 19,895,200 respectively, for 2019 and 2020.

Assessment and review: On Sunday, 18 November, the Secretariat introduced the SBI recommendation and relevant document (CBD/NP/MOP/3/3) to WG I. Many reflected on national implementation. The EU suggested stronger involvement of parties in the development of the second assessment methodology. South Africa noted the need for financial support to prepare the national reports.

On Wednesday, 21 November, delegates addressed a CRP. They debated a paragraph inviting parties to take note, as appropriate, in the implementation of Article 16 (compliance with domestic requirements on ABS for traditional knowledge), of relevant work under the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Following proposals by Mexico and Japan, delegates agreed to add a specification that WIPO work not run counter to the objectives of the Convention and the Protocol. Following discussion, delegates agreed to invite relevant stakeholders to engage in ABS processes, including guidelines to support the development of community protocols by IPLCs. The CRP was approved with these and other minor amendments.

On Thursday, 22 November, plenary adopted the final decision, including a footnote clarifying that biocultural protocols are community protocols.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.2), the COP/MOP takes notes of the key findings of the first assessment and review of the Protocol contained in Annex I, which includes the input provided by the Compliance Committee; welcomes the framework of indicators in Annex II; and agrees to use the reference points contained therein as a baseline. It recognizes that further work is needed to:

  • develop ABS legislation or regulatory requirements in accordance with Nagoya Protocol Article 8 (special considerations);
  • enhance implementation by parties of the provisions on compliance;
  • support the full and effective participation of IPLCs; and
  • raise awareness among relevant stakeholders.

The COP/MOP decides to conduct the second assessment and review of the Protocol at COP/MOP 6 in 2024, and requests the Secretariat to propose a methodology for the second assessment, for SBI 4 consideration.

Financial mechanism and resources: This item was first considered by WG II on Monday, 19 November. The Secretariat introduced an SBI recommendation and relevant information (CBD/NP/MOP/3/5), and explained a CRP would be prepared. On Thursday, 22 November, WG II approved a CRP with minor amendments.

On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision without amendment.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.6), the COP/MOP:

  • welcomes GEF-7;
  • welcomes the Biodiversity Focal Area Strategy, which includes a programme for implementing the Nagoya Protocol; and
  • encourages eligible parties to prioritize ABS projects during GEF-7, including through cooperative projects at regional and sub-regional levels. 

Measures to assist in capacity building and capacity development: This item was first considered in WG I on Monday, 19 November. The Secretariat introduced an SBI recommendation and a progress report. The EU called on parties to use the findings of the first review of the Nagoya Protocol to address areas where further capacity-building efforts are required. South Africa proposed inviting IPLCs to provide views on the long-term strategic framework. A CRP was approved with a minor amendment on Thursday, 22 November. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/3/L.5), the COP/MOP decides that the Informal Advisory Committee will hold one meeting, and online consultations as needed. It requests the Informal Advisory Committee to provide inputs for the evaluation of the strategic framework, and contribute to the development of the draft long-term strategic framework for capacity building beyond 2020.

The COP/MOP requests the Secretariat to, inter alia, continue to carry out and facilitate capacity-building activities to support the ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, subject to the availability of resources, as set out in the short-term action plan (2017-2020).

ABS Clearing-House and information sharing: This item was first considered in WG I on Tuesday, 20 November. The Secretariat introduced a draft decision, including relevant recommendations from the Compliance Committee. Many highlighted the ABS Clearing House as an important source of information. During the consideration of the CRP, on providing information on procedures for access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge, the EU proposed, and after debate parties agreed, to make reference to “national” procedures and “urge” rather than “encourage” parties to provide this information through a “voluntary” common format. On convening the meetings of the Informal Advisory Committee, the EU, supported by Mexico, India, and Japan, noted the meeting should be covered by the core budget. On the annexed goals and priorities for the ABS Clearing-House, the EU proposed revised language exploring how the Bioland Tool for National CHMs could be used to facilitate exchange of information related to ABS. The CRP was approved with these and other minor amendments on Sunday, 25 November. On Thursday, 29 November, the COP/MOP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.8), the COP/MOP urges parties to: publish all mandatory information available at the national level on the ABS Clearing-House as soon as possible; and provide information on their national ABS procedures through the voluntary common format on procedures. The COP/MOP decides that the Informal Advisory Committee will hold at least one meeting and informal online discussions as needed, and report on the outcomes of its work to COP/MOP 4.

Monitoring and reporting: On Tuesday, 20 November, the Secretariat introduced an SBI recommendation and relevant document, including Compliance Committee recommendations (CBD/NP/MOP/3/7). Many supported synchronized national reporting cycles under the Convention and Protocols, as well as revisiting the reporting intervals to facilitate alignment among the biodiversity-related and Rio Conventions. On Thursday, 22 November, delegates approved a CRP, as amended to reflect that 82 parties have submitted their national reports. On Sunday, 25 November, the COP/MOP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.7), the COP/MOP agrees to have a synchronized national reporting cycle commencing in 2023, and requests the Secretariat to review the reporting format for COP/MOP 4 consideration.

Enhancing integration under the Convention and its Protocols with respect to ABS: Discussion on this item was held jointly under the Convention and its Protocols, and is summarized under the relevant agenda item under CBD COP 14. On Wednesday, 28 November, delegates approved a CRP without amendments. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the decision

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.11), the COP/MOP takes note of the proposed ways and means for enhanced integration and welcomes the relevant CBD COP 14 decision.

Measures to raise awareness of the importance of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge: This item was first addressed in WG I on Monday, 19 November, when the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents, including a draft decision and a toolkit on CEPA. Many countries welcomed the toolkit and the EU noted with regret its late release. Several outlined their national experiences, including: working with community protocols; designing specific communication material for each stakeholder group; and developing a website that acts as a voluntary repository for traditional knowledge. A CRP was approved with minor amendments on Thursday, 22 November. On Sunday, 25 November, the COP/MOP adopted its decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.4),the COP/MOP requests the Secretariat to continue supporting the implementation of the awareness-raising strategy, including the use of the ABS awareness-raising toolkit in ABS capacity-building and awareness-raising projects.

Cooperation with other international organizations, conventions, and initiatives: This item was first considered in WG I on Wednesday, 21 November. The EU proposed a draft decision requiring the Secretariat to continue engaging with relevant organizations on public health aspects of the Nagoya Protocol and DSI, and to continue following debates related to marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction and under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Kenya called for developing an inventory of relevant organizations. The WHO underscored commitment to Nagoya Protocol objectives in the area of rapid access to pathogens, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived therefrom. Delegates subsequently considered a CRP, debating references to DSI throughout the document. They decided to keep the references in brackets, and return to the CRP following the conclusion of deliberations on DSI.

During plenary, on Thursday, 29 November, delegates agreed to lift the brackets relating to DSI following the adoption of the DSI decision under the COP and its inclusion of relevant language. The COP/MOP adopted its decision.

Final Decision:In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.14), the COP/MOP requests the Secretariat to continue to engage with relevant ongoing processes and policy debates, and liaise with other conventions, international organizations, and initiatives, to provide and collect information on current discussions on matters related to ABS, and, in particular, on public health issues, as well as the relationship between the use of DSI on genetic resources and ABS arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

Review of effectiveness of processes under the Convention and its Protocols: Discussion on this item was held jointly under the Convention and its Protocols, and is summarized under the relevant agenda item under CBD COP 14.

Review of experience in holding concurrent meetings: On Sunday, 25 November, WG I approved a CRP under the Protocol without amendment. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary approved the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.9), the COP/MOP highlights the importance of ensuring adequate participation in meetings of the Protocol, and requests the Secretariat to further develop the preliminary review of the experience in concurrent meetings.

Conflicts of interest in expert groups: On Wednesday, 21 November, delegates considered the issue on the basis of an SBI recommendation and established a Friends of the Chair group. On Wednesday, 28 November, following a report from the Friends of the Chair group, delegates approved a CRP under the Protocol with minor amendments. On Thursday, 29 November, plenary approved the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.10), the COP/MOP approves the procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest in expert groups contained in the annex to the relevant COP 14 decision.

Preparation for the follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020: On Wednesday, 28 November, delegates in plenary debated a bracketed reference to a specific plan for the Nagoya Protocol as part of the post-2020 framework. Mexico, with South Africa, Argentina, and Peru, proposed developing a work plan with relevant elements on ABS. Switzerland, Japan, and the EU opposed, considering it premature.

On Thursday, 29 November, delegates considered the final draft decision in plenary. The Secretariat reported that, after consultations, compromise text encourages parties to undertake measures to enhance their implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, in the context of the post-2020 framework. Delegates adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.12), the COP/MOP encourages parties to undertake measures to enhance their implementation of the Protocol, in the context of the post-2020 framework. It further recommends that the findings and recommendations of the Compliance Committee, as part of the first assessment of the effectiveness of the Protocol, are considered in the development of the post-2020 framework.

Digital sequence information on genetic resources: Discussion on this item was held jointly under the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol, and is summarized under the relevant agenda item under CBD COP 14. On Thursday, 29 November, the EU announced the result of several rounds of consultations, including to: delete preambular reference to Nagoya Protocol Article 17 (monitoring the utilization of genetic resources); and recognize that the working group on the post-2020 framework will consider the outcome of the AHTEG on DSI. The COP/MOP adopted the decision as presented.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.15), the COP/MOP: welcomes the CBD COP 14 decisions on the post-2020 process and on DSI; recognizes that the Working Group on the post-2020 process will consider the outcome of the AHTEG on DSI; and requests the Working Group to submit the outcomes of its deliberations for COP/MOP 4 consideration.

Specialized international ABS instruments: On Sunday, 18 November, the Secretariat introduced the SBI recommendation, including potential criteria for specialized international ABS instruments. The African Group emphasized the criteria should recognize parties’ sovereign rights and be clear on issues including IPLCs, PIC, and information-sharing mechanisms. Mexico and Argentina noted that any specialized international ABS instrument should be binding. The EU, Norway, and Switzerland proposed clarifying that the criteria have not yet been agreed upon.

On Thursday, 22 November, delegates considered a CRP. Following a brief discussion, delegates decided not to re-open the list of potential criteria for specialized international ABS instruments, noting that they will be further considered intersessionally. The CRP was approved without amendments. On Sunday, 25 November, plenary adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.3), the COP/MOP invites submission of information on how specialized international ABS instruments are addressed in their domestic measures, and views on the potential criteria contained in the study into criteria to identify a specialized international ABS instrument and a possible process for its recognition. The COP/MOP requests the Secretariat to synthetize information and make it available for SBI 3 consideration; decides to include a standing item on cooperation with other international organizations on the agenda of future meetings, to take stock of developments in relevant international forums; and invites parties to coordinate at the national level on ABS issues.

Global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism: On Monday, 19 November, theSecretariat introduced the SBI recommendation to WG I, noting unresolved issues remain bracketed. Many countries stressed the need to establish the mechanism. The African Group reiterated that parties have been given sufficient time to decide on the need for a global mechanism, requesting, with many others, removal of brackets. Japan and Switzerland noted insufficient experience on situations that could not be covered by the Protocol’s bilateral approach and considered it premature to discuss the mechanism’s modalities. The EU asserted that national reports did not indicate any reason for parties to consider such a mechanism, and cautioned against reopening discussions on the Protocol’s temporal or geographical scope. The IIFB noted that such a mechanism should respect the rights of IPLCs.

A contact group was established, which met throughout the meeting. Contact group deliberations focused on the type and scope of information that would assist in the consideration of a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism, such as specific cases of genetic resources and traditional knowledge for which PIC is not possible, and possible modalities for addressing them.

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the decision as agreed following contact group deliberations and informal consultations.

Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.13), the COP/MOP considers that more information on specific cases of genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources that occur in transboundary situations or for which it is not possible to grant or obtain PIC would assist in the consideration of Nagoya Article 10, accompanied by an explanation as to why such cases cannot be covered under the Protocol’s bilateral approach, as well as options for addressing those cases. The COP/MOP invites submission of information on specific cases, which may support the need for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism, and on options for possible modalities for addressing those cases. The COP/MOP further requests the Secretariat to submit the information and a study identifying such specific cases, to be commissioned subject to availability of resources, for SBI consideration.

Closing Plenary

On Thursday, 29 November, plenary adopted the meeting and WG reports for each meeting of the Convention and its Protocols (CBD/COP/14/L.1; CBD/CP/MOP/9/L.1; and CBD/NP/MOP/3/L.1), and heard closing statements.

Khaled Fouda Saddiq Mohammed, Governor of South Sinai, Egypt, highlighted his country’s long-standing recognition of the importance of biodiversity, and expressed his thanks and appreciation to everyone who contributed to the success of the meeting.

Executive Secretary Paşca Palmer outlined the successes of the meeting, including, among others: committing to an inclusive, catalytic, and flexible preparative process for the post-2020 framework; calling for a UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration; and committing to the final “two-year sprint towards the Aichi finish line.” She further emphasized the need to: “bend the curve” of biodiversity loss; move from a model of incremental change to transformational change; and recognize that saving cultural diversity goes hand-in-hand with saving biological diversity.

The EU underscored the inclusive, participatory process established for developing the post-2020 framework and stressed that “local reefs remind us why we are here.” He further highlighted numerous decisions, including on: mainstreaming; synthetic biology; DSI; avoiding conflicts of interest; the budget; durable solutions for facilitating participation; and the entry into force of the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress.

The Latin American and Caribbean Group emphasized progress on: mainstreaming, including relevant work by the high-level segment; the financial mechanism, noting the need for full and effective participation of developing countries; DSI; and the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework. She called for a collective commitment to a process aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

Canada, also on behalf of New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Monaco, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein underscored the collaborative spirit that prevailed during the meeting, welcoming the adoption of the roadmap to Beijing, and calling for an inclusive, ambitious post-2020 framework.

The Asia-Pacific Group welcomed the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration, noting it will allow further progress on the implementation of the current Strategic Plan and will inform the way forward. She expressed concern for cross-cutting issues, including synthetic biology, DSI, and marine and coastal biodiversity, urging for “flexible positions to collectively move forward.”

CEE stressed that implementation requires resource mobilization and called for developing synergies regarding the process for the post-2020 framework “for the sake of future generations.”

The LMMC expressed commitment to the CBD process and towards achieving the three objectives of the Convention, looking forward to further productive discussions in Beijing.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) welcomed progress on the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework, encouraging continuous focus on SIDS and least developed countries. She stressed there is “still work to be done in our collective efforts to halt biodiversity loss,” expressing disappointment on the lack of progress in linking DSI with benefit-sharing.

The African Group emphasized cooperation, mutual understanding, and the spirit of compromise, and commended collective commitments, calling for additional efforts to meet the current Strategic Plan and the Aichi Targets, and to align the agenda with the SDGs.

China noted serious steps forward to promote the realization of the three objectives of the Convention, congratulating all on a successful meeting. He emphasized the need for implementation, called for making good use of the intersessional period to promote mutual understanding and have a landmark meeting in Beijing, and invited all to COP15, via a video presentation.

The IIFB expressed satisfaction with the completion of outstanding work on Article 8(j). The CBD Alliance expressed concern that the Aichi Targets had not been sufficiently addressed by COP 14. The CBD Women’s Caucus emphasized the need for ensuring the full and effective participation of women’s groups in regional and global workshops, calling for a gender and biodiversity dialogue before COP 15. GYBN urged parties to give maximum priority to the implementation of decisions, and to achieving the Aichi Targets within the next two years to build a strong foundation for COP 15.

COP 14 President Fouad commended the cordial spirit of the meeting leading to successful outcomes including decisions on DSI, and marine and coastal biodiversity. She urged everyone to lift the message from the meeting one level higher and to keep the ball rolling over the next two years.

Following the customary exchange of courtesies, President Fouad gaveled the Conference to a close at 9:02 pm. 

A Brief Analysis of the UN Biodiversity Conference

The Earth has music for those who listen – William Shakespeare

 

“We are failing to arrest biodiversity loss. We urgently need to address this silent catastrophe through nothing less than a shift in societal narratives.” These opening remarks by Executive Secretary Cristiana Paşca Palmer set the stage for the UN Biodiversity Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The Convention and its Protocols find themselves at a crossroads. The current Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the corresponding Aichi Targets are approaching their final stretch, and progress will ultimately be assessed in two years’ time, at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Beijing. Many delegates expressed deep concerns, noting limited progress in certain areas and a series of obstacles, which indicate that the majority of the Aichi Targets will not be met and the objectives of the Strategic Plan will only be partially achieved.

In this context, the post-2020 framework will have to address a dual challenge: assess progress, to overcome shortcomings and take into account lessons learned, and at the same time increase the level of ambition. This brief analysis will assess the key outcomes of the three parallel meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS), taking into account the effort to strategically position the Convention within the post-2020 framework and beyond.

Moving the Agenda Forward

Emerging technologies have traditionally attracted attention at CBD meetings, and the 2018 Biodiversity Conference was no exception, as delegates debated extensively the agenda items on synthetic biology and digital sequence information. Deliberations were lengthy, sometimes heated, and left delegates with mixed feelings. While most expressed satisfaction with the outcome on digital sequence information, some noted that the decision on synthetic biology does not adequately address the urgency of the matter.

The Convention has a long history in addressing a broad range of emerging technologies and their potential impact on biodiversity, including living modified organisms, genetic use restriction technologies, biofuels, and geoengineering. The Convention is arguably in a good position to promote international governance, because of its broad mandate and holistic approach to ecosystem management. In addition, the CBD has traditionally incorporated the input of indigenous peoples and local communities, who are usually the first to suffer the negative impacts of such technologies, as well as of a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society organizations, that follow the rapid pace of technological developments. Deliberations however have always been controversial, as parties and stakeholders do not always share the same views regarding the potential benefits and impacts of emerging technologies on biodiversity and sustainable development.

A major feature of the discussions in Sharm El-Sheikh on synthetic biology was genome editing and gene drives. Delegates did not share the same level of support for the final decision, although there was widespread agreement to continue work in the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) as well as the open-ended online forum, to enhance mutual understanding.

Engineered gene drives promote the inheritance of a particular gene to increase its prevalence in a population. Practically ensuring that a specific trait will be transmitted to almost all future generations, gene drives may generate serious biosafety concerns. In that respect, civil society has been calling for a moratorium on their use until the necessary knowledge and understanding for their safe use is developed. A veteran of the Convention, however, noted that, given the delicate balance of interests, “the moratorium proposal was too radical to fly.” The decision on synthetic biology ended up calling on parties to apply a precautionary approach regarding engineered gene drives, taking into account current uncertainties. It further calls for scientifically-sound case-by-case risk assessments and risk management measures, especially when considering the introduction of organisms containing engineered gene drives into the environment, including experimental releases.

Genome editing, a group of technologies that allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome, also attracted a lot of attention. Following lengthy debates, the compromise was to remove all references to genome editing from the operative part of the decision. Genome editing is explicitly mentioned only once, under the terms of reference for the AHTEG. Some delegates were disappointed with this outcome, noting that this “considerably weakens the decision,” and that “we should be addressing these powerful technologies and their potential adverse effects on biodiversity now, rather than waiting for the AHTEG to discuss it even further.” Others noted that the array of techniques collectively described as genome editing is so broad that they should be addressed on a case-by-case basis, emphasizing that any effort to regulate them as a whole “simply does not make sense.” In the end delegates agreed to request the AHTEG to specifically consider concrete applications of genome editing if they relate to synthetic biology, in order to support a broad and regular horizon scanning process. Still, as a delegate reassured worried participants following the adoption of the decision: “horizon scanning covers genome editing techniques, with or without explicit mentioning.”

Digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources was the third major emerging technology addressed at the meeting. Gene sequences are increasingly replacing the need to access biological samples of genetic resources, creating major implications for the Convention’s architecture on ABS. If open access to DSI, necessary to foster scientific research, is not accompanied by benefit-sharing modalities, the Convention’s third objective will become increasingly out of reach. While some insist DSI is outside the scope of the Nagoya Protocol, others stress that failing to address the topic―and therefore not creating a mechanism to fairly and equitably share the benefits rising from the use of DSI―would undermine the Nagoya Protocol so fundamentally as to make it redundant. DSI attracted more attention than any other item under negotiation, with spill-overs to many other issues, including the post-2020 framework and cooperation with other conventions.

After lengthy, late-night deliberations, the final decision on DSI establishes a science- and policy-based process, including an extended AHTEG. In addition, studies to be commissioned will address a number of crucial issues, including the concept, scope, and domestic measures on DSI, traceability, and public and private databases. Most delegates were satisfied with this decision, with a veteran participant noting that “we have come a long way in developing mutual understanding since DSI was first put into motion by a bracketed reference in a SBSTTA recommendation for COP13 in Cancun.”

A New Era for Biodiversity?

While emerging technologies received the lion’s share of attention, others identified the process for developing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework as central to the proceedings of the UN Biodiversity Conference. Amidst lengthy negotiations that outlined the national and regional priorities, and revealed the interlinkages between different agenda items, delegates agreed to a preparatory process to develop the framework. They noted that, in a rapidly changing world, flexibility will be key, not only to adapt to the dynamic nature of the global environment, but also to be able to take on board emerging opportunities. The establishment of an open-ended intersessional working group to support the framework’s preparation was hailed as one of the meeting’s major outcomes. Many delegates focused on the detailed organization of work, the inclusive consultation process, and the envisaged communication and outreach activities, expressing their satisfaction with the outcome, and emphasizing that “a framework for robust work in the immediate future is in place.”

As part of this process, many participants at the Biodiversity Conference agreed on the urgent need to try and change the narrative around biodiversity and develop a powerful message that can advance the Convention’s objectives. In that respect, both distinct decisions and the discussion on the post-2020 framework addressed cooperation with other conventions and organizations, and the need to mainstream biodiversity concerns. Cooperation among biodiversity-related conventions and the Rio Conventions was once again hailed as essential for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Looking for success stories to go beyond business-as-usual, numerous delegates highlighted the updated Plan of Action for the International Initiative on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators adopted in Sharm El-Sheikh, as an example of concerted action among several organizations to urgently address pollinator loss.

The need for a new, engaging message on biodiversity to capture public imagination and boost conservation efforts was a common theme both in the corridors and in the discussions on the post-2020 process. The latter envisages a communication strategy, which will contain outreach activities and foster high-level political engagement, including a high-level panel to raise awareness. As a veteran stressed, developing such a strategy and compelling message is no easy task, and requires addressing both the complexities of the subject matter, in our case biodiversity, and the complexities of the target audience. “People are different,” she said, “some are haunted by the song of the last living male Kauai O’o bird, in his mating call to a female that will never come. Others may act upon understanding the economic valuation of a specific function of a bacterium. We need to engage them all.”

Epilogue

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together – African proverb, quoted by CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Paşca Palmer

 

As participants left the Sharm El-Sheikh Conference Center, most agreed that it was a successful meeting. Many especially applauded the inspiring and stirring leadership of COP 14 President Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt, who, along every single regional group at the meeting, underscored the need to “work together.”

Working together, however, may be a challenge in the near future. Increasing environmental pressures coupled with the rise of populism and nationalism in many parts of the world may provide a greater temptation for each country to “care for its own.” The decisions in fora like the COP, as well as the courage, passion, and resilience of all those working on biodiversity conservation, will ultimately decide whether, as one participant emotionally put it “the living species of the planet will continue to play life’s symphony, or will instead start playing extinction’s requiem, with the instruments, one by one, leaving the orchestra and exiting the stage, closing the door behind them.”

Upcoming Meetings

Katowice Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 24): The Conference will include the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), along with meetings of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice, the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, and the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement. COP 24 is expected to finalize the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change under the Paris Agreement Work Programme. A High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance is expected to be held in conjunction with COP 24.  dates: 2-14 December 2018  location: Katowice, Poland  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: secretariat@unfccc.int  www: https://unfccc.int/katowice 

Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds Meeting: The 7th session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 7) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) will convene under the theme, “Beyond 2020: Shaping Flyway Conservation for the Future.” dates: 4-8 December 2018  location: Durban, South Africa  contact: UNEP/AEWA Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2413  fax: +49-228-815-2450  email: aewa.mop7@unep-aewa.org  www: https://www.unep-aewa.org

Third Meeting of the Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks: The third meeting of the Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MOS3) will address amendment proposals, among other issues.  dates: 10-14 December 2018  location: Principality of Monaco  contact: Andrea Pauly, UNEP/CMS Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2401  fax: +49-228-815-2449  email: andrea.pauly@cms.int  www: https://www.cms.int/sharks/en/MOS3

55th Meeting of the GEF Council: The Council is the GEF’s main governing body that meets twice annually to develop, adopt, and evaluate the operational policies and programmes for GEF-financed activities. It also reviews and approves the work programme (projects submitted for approval).  dates: 17-20 December 2018  location: Washington D.C., US  contact: GEF Secretariat  email: https://www.thegef.org/contact  www: http://www.thegef.org/council-meetings/gef-55th-council-meeting

CGRFA 17: The seventeenth regular session of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) is expected to address a series of sectoral and cross-sectoral issues of relevance to genetic resources for food and agriculture.  dates: 18-22 February 2019  location:  Rome, Italy  contact: CGRFA Secretariat  phone: +39-06-57051  email: cgrfa@fao.org  www: http://www.fao.org/cgrfa

2nd Latin American Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation: This event aims to foster climate resilience in Latin America by showcasing replicable experiences from research, field projects, and best practice. The symposium aims to: provide scholars, practitioners, and members of governmental agencies undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects in Latin America with an opportunity to present their work; foster information exchange; discuss methodological approaches and experiences deriving from case studies and projects; and provide a platform for networking and exploring possibilities for cooperation. The International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP), with international and local partners, is organizing the symposium.  dates: 20-21 February 2019  location: Lima, Peru  contact: Svenja Scheday, ICCIP  email: svenja.scheday@haw-hamburg.de  www: https://www.haw-hamburg.de/en/ftz-nk/events/latinamerica2019.html

Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA): The theme of the fourth session of the UNEA is “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.” It will be preceded by a meeting of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR) from 4-8 March 2019.  dates: 11-15 March 2019  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: UNEP  email: beatpollution@unenvironment.org  www: http://web.unep.org/environmentassembly/

UNPFII 18: The 18th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will have a theme of “Traditional knowledge: Generation, transmission and protection.” UNPFII 18 will follow up on the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples on implementation of action plans, ways to enhance participation of indigenous peoples at the UN, and implementation of the UN system-wide action plan on indigenous peoples.  dates: 22 April - 3 May 2019  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UNPFII Secretariat   email:indigenous_un@un.org  www: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/

IPBES 7: The seventh session of the plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-7) will consider, inter alia: the report of the Executive Secretary on the implementation of the first work programme for the period 2014-2018; the global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services; review of the Platform at the conclusion of its first work programme; the Platform’s next work programme; and institutional arrangements. dates: 29 April - 4 May 2019  location: Paris, France  contact: IPBES Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-0570  email: secretariat@ipbes.net  www: https://www.ipbes.net/event/ipbes-7-plenary 

14th Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 14): The 14th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 14) will discuss, among other topics: implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030; monitoring, assessment and reporting; enhancing global forest policy coherence and a common international understanding of sustainable forest management; progress on the activities and operation of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network and availability of resources; and enhanced cooperation, coordination, and engagement on forest-related issues.  dates: 6-10 May 2019  location: UN Headquarters, New York  phone: +1-212-963-3401  fax: +1-917-367-3186  email: unff@un.org   www http://www.un.org/esa/forests/

CITES COP18: The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will be held in Sri Lanka, directly following 71st meeting of the CITES Standing Committee on 21 May 2019.  dates: 22 May - 3 June 2019  location: Colombo, Sri Lanka  contact: CITES Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917- 81-39/40  fax: +41-22-797-34-17  email: info@cites.org  www: https://cites.org/

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2019: HLPF 2019 will address the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” It will conduct an in-depth review of SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), in addition to SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals), which is reviewed each year.  dates: 9-18 July 2019  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development Goals  fax: +1-212-963-4260  www: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf/2019

SBSTTA 23:  The twenty-third meeting of Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) will review possible elements for the post-2020 framework, including any implications arising from the IPBES global assessment, the draft of the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook as well as other relevant information and sources of knowledge.  dates: 14–18 October 2019 (tentative)  location: to be confirmed contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax:  +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/

WG8J 11:  The eleventh meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on Article 8(j) will examine the role of traditional knowledge, customary sustainable use and the contribution of the collective actions of indigenous peoples and local communities to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. dates: 19-21 October 2019 (tentative)  location: to be confirmed  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax:  +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/

Convention on Migratory Species Conference COP13: The 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals will convene to review implementation of the convention.  dates: 15-22 February 2020  location: Gandhinagar, India  contact: CMS Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2401  fax: +49-228-815-2449  email: cms.secretariat@cms.int  www: http://www.cms.int

SBSTTA 24:  The twenty-fourth meeting of Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) is expected consider the draft of the post-2020 framework from a scientific and technical perspective.  dates: 18-22 May 2020 (tentative)  location: to be confirmed  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/  

SBI 3: The third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Information (SBI 3) will consider a draft of the post-2020 framework, including related means to support and review implementation, with a view to developing a recommendation for CBD COP 15, Cartagena COP/MOP 10, and Nagoya COP/MOP 4.  dates: 25-29 May 2020 (tentative)  location: to be confirmed  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax:  +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/  

CBD COP 15, Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 10,  and Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 4: The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15), the 10th Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 10) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the 4th Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 4) to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing are expected to address a series of issues related to implementation of the Convention and its Protocols, and adopt the post 2020 global biodiversity framework. dates: October 2020, exact dates to be confirmed  location: Beijing, China  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/

For additional meetings, see: http:///sdg.iisd.org/  

[Top]

Receive ENB reports directly in your inbox

Remind me: