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21st Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and 10th Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions

The twenty-first meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) begins Monday in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions, which will meet from 13-16 December 2017. SBSTTA will address, inter alia: scenarios for the 2050 vision for biodiversity and the links between the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); guidance for achieving a more sustainable bushmeat sector; biodiversity and human health; biodiversity mainstreaming in the energy, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing industries, and in the health sector; tools for evaluating the effectiveness of policy instruments for the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity; and new and emerging issues.

The Article 8(j) Working Group will consider, inter alia: draft voluntary guidelines for the repatriation of traditional knowledge relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; glossary of relevant key terms and concepts to be used within the context of Article 8(j) and related provisions; finalization of tasks of the multi-year programme of work, such as measures to address publicly available traditional knowledge, best practices to implement “prior and informed consent” or “approval and involvement,” and advancement of the identification of the obligations of countries of origin, as well as governments where traditional knowledge is used; assessment of the contribution of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ collective actions and of account taken of the safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms; and in-depth dialogue on the contribution of traditional knowledge to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with particular emphasis on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.


The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992 and 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 Conference of the Parties (COP) is the governing body of the Convention. It is assisted by SBSTTA, which is mandated, under CBD Article 25, to provide the COP with advice relating to the Convention’s implementation.

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

COP 6: At its sixth meeting (April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands), the COP adopted the Convention’s Strategic Plan, including the target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010; an expanded work programme on forest biodiversity; and guiding principles for invasive alien species (IAS).

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

COP 8: At its eighth meeting (March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil), the COP adopted a work programme on island biodiversity and reaffirmed the COP 5 ban on the field-testing of genetic use restriction technologies.

COP 9: At its ninth meeting (May 2008, Bonn, Germany), the COP adopted the Resource Mobilization Strategy for the Convention, and scientific criteria and guidance for marine areas in need of protection; and established an ad hoc technical expert group on biodiversity and climate change.

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

COP 11: At its eleventh meeting (October 2012, Hyderabad, India), the COP adopted an interim target of doubling biodiversity-related international financial resource flows to developing countries by 2015, and at least maintaining this level until 2020, as well as a preliminary reporting framework for monitoring resource mobilization. The COP further requested the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to consider ways in which the activities of the platform could, as appropriate, contribute to assessments of the achievement of the Aichi Targets and provide information on policy options available to deliver the 2050 vision of the Strategic Plan.

COP 12: At its twelfth meeting (6-17 October 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea), the COP conducted a mid-term review of progress towards the goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets, and agreed on the Pyeongchang Roadmap. In addition, the COP decided that SBSTTA will submit to COP, for its approval, any requests for the next programme of work of the IPBES.

COP 13: At its thirteen meeting (2-17 December 2016, Cancun, Mexico), the COP considered, inter alia: progress towards implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 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 forests; and biodiversity and human health interlinkages. It also adopted the Mo’otz Kuxtal voluntary guidelines for the development of mechanisms, legislation or other appropriate initiatives to ensure the “prior informed consent,” “free prior informed consent,” or “approval and involvement,” depending on national circumstances, of indigenous peoples and local communities for accessing their traditional knowledge, for fair and equitable benefit-sharing, and for reporting and preventing unlawful appropriation of traditional knowledge.


IPBES 5: The fifth session of the IPBES Plenary (IPBES-5) was held from 7-10 March 2017 in Bonn, Germany, and adopted decisions on, inter alia: capacity building; policy support tools and methodologies; development of a second work programme; indigenous and local knowledge; the scoping report for a thematic assessment on the sustainable use of wild species; review of the Platform; knowledge and data; and assessments.

UNPFII 16: The sixteenth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) was held from 24 April – 5 May 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York with the special theme, “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP): measures taken to implement the Declaration.” UNPFII noted that collective rights to lands, territories and resources and the right to self-determination are among the most important provisions of UNDRIP and the most challenging to implement, pointing to a gap between the formal recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and their implementation in practice. UNPFII recommended: an international expert group meeting on sustainable development in indigenous peoples’ territories; permanent, open and inclusive mechanisms for consultation, participation and representation of indigenous peoples in local, regional, national and international processes relating to the SDGs; the development of national laws and policies ensuring the recognition, continued vitality and protection from misappropriation of traditional knowledge; and guarantees for indigenous peoples’ voice equal to states in the negotiations on an international agreement on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

UNFCCC COP 13: The thirteenth session of the COP to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) convened in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, from 6-16 September 2017, and adopted decisions on: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its implications for the UNCCD; the future strategic framework of the Convention; effective implementation of the Convention at national, subregional and regional levels; cooperation with other intergovernmental scientific panels and bodies; improving the efficiency of the science-policy interface; and promoting the analysis, dissemination and accessibility of best practices. The COP also endorsed the scientific conceptual framework for land degradation neutrality (LDN), and launched the LDN Fund and the Global Land Outlook.

ITPGRFA GB 7: The seventh session of the Governing Body (GB) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) convened from 30 October - 3 November 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the theme “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Role of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.” The GB adopted 14 resolutions, including on: establishing an ad hoc technical expert group on farmers’ rights; extending the mandate of the intersessional Working Group on Enhancing the Multilateral System (MLS) to develop a proposal for a growth plan to attain the enhanced MLS and revise the text of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement; and a decision to put on the GB 8 agenda the item of digital sequence information.

CMS COP 12: The twelfth meeting of the COP to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) met from 22-28 October 2017, in Manila, the Philippines. It adopted 54 resolutions, including the Manila Declaration on Sustainable Development and Migratory Species and on: a Review Mechanism; the Strategic Plan for Migratory Species 2015-2023; the prevention of illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds; sustainable boat-based marine wildlife watching; energy and migratory species; community participation and livelihoods; aquatic wild meat; concerted actions for, among others, the whale shark, mobulid rays, and the European eel; and the adoption of the African Elephant Action Plan. The COP adopted 34 proposals to amend the Convention’s appendices, four of which were subjected to a vote for the first time in the Convention’s history.

Fiji/Bonn Climate Conference: The UN Climate Change Conference convened from 6-17 November 2017, in Bonn, Germany, under the Presidency of Fiji. Its outcomes include, inter alia: guidance on the completion of the Paris Agreement work programme; the operationalization of the local communities and indigenous peoples platform; the establishment of a gender action plan; and guidance to the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts.

UNEA 3: The third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) convened from 4-6 December 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme, “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.” UNEA adopted resolutions on, inter alia: environment and health; marine litter and microplastics; water pollution; pollution mitigation by mainstreaming biodiversity into key sectors; and investing in innovative environmental solutions for accelerating implementation of the SDGs.

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