It was a long day of discussions and debate as delegates worked to conclude deliberations under the Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions. Disagreements, which led to adopting two fully bracketed recommendations to the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), characterized the last day of work.
Among the contentious issues, one stood out. A recommendation by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that “it is unacceptable to undermine the status and standing of Indigenous Peoples by combining or equating them with non-indigenous entities such as minorities, vulnerable groups or local communities,” led to lively discussions.
Some underscored the struggles of Indigenous Peoples for the recognition of their rights, lamenting that some states have been denominating Indigenous Peoples as local communities to reduce those rights. Others highlighted the centuries-old role that local communities have played, and will continue to play, in preserving biological resources, stressing that while Indigenous Peoples and local communities may be “different entities,” separating them is out of the question. This led to the bracketing of the entire draft recommendation to COP 16.
The new programme of work and institutional arrangements had a similar fate. Well-documented diverging opinions on whether a permanent subsidiary body on Indigenous issues should be created under the CBD and further disagreements on the elements and tasks for future work, led to additional brackets.
Delegates were able to agree on recommendations on:
- The updated draft knowledge management component of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF);
- The role of languages in the intergenerational transmission of traditional knowledge, innovations, and practices; and
- The joint programme of work on the links between biological and cultural diversity: review and update of the four adopted traditional knowledge indicators.
In closing remarks, CBD Acting Executive Secretary David Cooper informed participants that the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly has approved a draft resolution on the CBD and its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals that highlighted the important role played by IPLCs. He drew attention to the discussions on the development of the new programme of work and institutional arrangements, emphasizing that negotiations will continue at COP 16.
The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity stressed that “the GBF will not happen without us” and urged parties to support the full and effective participation of IPLCs in GBF implementation and decision making.
Co-Chair Ning Liu, China, congratulated all participants for making progress in all agenda items. He concluded that this was achieved due to a sense of cooperation and compromise “as we march on the road to the implementation of the global biodiversity vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050.”
The Contact Group on benefit-sharing from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) met in the evening, continuing its work on the multilateral mechanism and the global fund.