Despite increasing fatigue among parties, especially those with smaller delegations, and some signs of frustration due to a packed schedule and slow progress, the Geneva Biodiversity Conference convened for another busy day, with the negotiations extending late into the night.
In the morning, the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) held a plenary session, addressing the draft gender plan of action; communication for the global biodiversity framework (GBF); and cooperation with other conventions, international organizations, and initiatives.
On the gender plan of action, parties agreed on the importance of mainstreaming gender equality and responsiveness as overarching GBF concepts. Divergent opinions persisted on whether a women’s delegate fund should be created or if gender inclusive approaches should be funded by existing voluntary participation funds. Discussions will continue in a contact group on Saturday, 19 March. The deliberations on communication for the GBF and cooperation with other conventions incited debates, but did not generate serious disagreements. A conference room paper will be developed on communication for the GBF, while the completion of the discussion on cooperation was deferred due to lack of time.
In the afternoon, Contact Group 1 on the GBF continued its work addressing three GBF targets and the framework’s milestones. The targets focus on:
- nature’s contributions to people (NCPs), which need to be valued, maintained, or enhanced through conservation and sustainable use, supporting the global development agenda for the benefit of all;
- the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of genetic resources, with a substantial increase in monetary and non-monetary benefits shared; and
- closing the gap between available financial resources and other means of implementation, and those necessary to achieving the 2050 Vision of living in harmony with nature.
Different opinions were tabled, including on: terminology around NCPs and ecosystem services; digital sequence information, and whether the concept should be explicitly referenced regarding the fair and equitable sharing of benefits; and which means of implementation should be used to close the finance gap.
On milestones, an informal group reported back to the contact group, noting that the milestones add confusion and complexity to the GBF structure, and proposing integration into the goals and targets, as appropriate. Following a lengthy and, at times, tense discussion, delegates agreed that the informal group will continue its work to provide a non-paper on suggestions for incorporating milestones. Discussions will continue on Friday, 25 March.
In the evening, a contact group under the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) continued its work on monitoring for the GBF; and a contact group under the SBI resumed deliberations on capacity building and development.
Five side events took place at lunchtime, focusing on:
- Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs);
- reaching biodiversity goals through Indigenous rights and forest management;
- defining and measuring ecosystem integrity in the GBF;
- outcomes from intergenerational reflections on qualitative criteria for area-based conservation; and
- integrating landscape approaches into national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs).
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