Daily report for 14 December 2016

Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) at CBD COP13

On Wednesday, 14 December, the Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) convened under two themes. The first theme, ‘Mainstreaming Equality and Social Inclusion,’ was organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR); Collaborative Partnership for Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW); Conservation International (CI); GEF; Governments of Canada, Botswana, Mexico and Tanzania; Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network (IWBN); IUCN; TRAFFIC, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Vandana Shiva, WorldFish, and World Resources Institute (WRI).

The second theme, ‘Planetary Health: Strengthening the Science-Policy Interface for Sustainable Development,’ was organized by the CBD Secretariat, Planetary Health Alliance, and Loyola Sustainability Research Centre. The Rockefeller Foundation - Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, UN Environment (UNEP), EcoHealth Alliance, Future Earth, GEO BON, IUCN, World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU IIGH), Bioversity International and Community Health Initiative and the World Health Organization (WHO) were partners.


OPENING: Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, highlighted recent relevant actions including the updated CBD Gender Plan of Action, the Chennai Guidance for the Integration of Biodiversity and Poverty Eradication, the 2030 Development Agenda, and the UNFCCC COP 22 decision on Gender and Climate Change.

Via video link, Vandana Shiva, Indian scholar and environmental activist, said that in the current political and social climate, promoting inclusion is all the more important “as the glue to hold the human family together.” She advocated transitioning from the prevailing industrial global agricultural model that promotes monoculture and drives climate change, biodiversity destruction and land degradation. She said that restoring soil fertility is central to solving the climate, land degradation and many social crises.

MAXIMIZING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARTICIPATORY AND INCLUSIVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Tanya McGregor, CBD, moderated the session. Risa Smith, Canada, observed that promoting gender mainstreaming and inclusion abroad starts with core values espoused and practiced at home. She reviewed Canada’s gender and inclusion efforts, including: the current government’s requirement for a robust gender-based analysis as the basis for every cabinet decision; and the review and prioritization of official development assistance through the gender lens.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, discussed inclusive and equitable opportunities and agendas at national and international levels. Recalling the SDGs main motto, “to leave no one behind,” she noted that without desegregated data, the weakest and most vulnerable, in particular indigenous women that are left behind, go unseen. On lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, she underscored that inequality has increased, with 80 billionaires owning as much wealth as half the global population, emphasizing that “achieving the SDGs will be a dream if we do not address the extreme wealth of those controlling most of the world resources.” Noting that more rights are given to corporations than humans, she called for reversing unequal fiscal measures. Highlighting the importance of participatory monitoring and accountability mechanisms, she provided examples of community-based monitoring systems, participatory mapping and digitization of maps, and their use in ancestral land titles claims and in inter-communities conflict resolution. She concluded by stressing access to information and freedom of association and assembly, noting that the situation of many indigenous peoples’ organization all over the world is worsening.

Yoko Watanabe, GEF, outlined the GEF’s gender equality action plan that integrates a gender dimension in: project cycles; programming and policies; knowledge management; result based management; and capacity building. On the positive trends to date, she noted that the 18 GEF implementing agencies all have gender strategy and action plans, and that up to 80% of GEF financed projects include gender responsive activities. She also stressed the importance of stakeholder consultation and gender integration and analysis at all project steps, from development to monitoring and reporting.

Cecilia Conde, Mexico, discussed her country’s efforts on mainstreaming gender into national climate change policy. Highlighting the National Atlas of Vulnerability, she cited national commitments to reduce vulnerability by 50%, which incorporate gender and human rights considerations.

Jobe Manga, Botswana, presented on governmental and non-governmental efforts to mainstream gender and the environment and build capacity to sustainability harvest natural resources. He explained that men and women equally use biodiversity including veld products for livelihood purposes. On challenges he noted: discriminatory cultural practices; limited knowledge on the sustainable use of biodiversity; and restricted access to markets.

FROM THE GROUND UP: DRAWING THE LINKS FROM COMMUNITY –LEVEL INITIATIVES TO NATIONAL ACTION TO ACHIEVE THE SDGS: Natalie Elwell, WRI, moderated the session. Amy Duchelle, CIFOR, said her organization integrates gender across all its research themes. She summarized findings from three global comparative studies, noting that they found that long-held gender assumptions about forestry management, such as women collect forests products more from common property regimes than men do, hold true in certain contexts but not broadly. She said the studies also suggest it is time to reframe the consideration of gender equality in forestry in terms of women’s rights rather than justifying women’s inclusion on the grounds that it would lead to other beneficial outcomes.

Afrina Choudhury, WorldFish, described the gender transformative approach (GTA). She reviewed different GTA mechanisms, including work at the household level, learning through participation in research, guided discussions and exercises within technical training, behavior change communications, and support for local and national collective actions and networks.

Monica Morales, CI, outlined how her organization addresses gender, focusing on “men and women as partners in conservation.” She highlighted basic gender integration into policy, tools and research, through guidelines and checklists translated into four languages. She also reported on impact assessments, gender regional focal point establishments, training activities, and ongoing projects adaptation to reflect gender inclusion. On challenges she noted, among other things, consistent gender inclusion in all projects, time, money and staff skills and capacities.

Maggie Roth, IUCN, described her organization’s climate change gender action plan, called ccGAP. She outlined the steps for conducting a ccGAP including taking stock; establishing a level playing field; capturing diverse voices, including through consultations; and prioritizing actions, to ensure ccGAP are rooted in policy and become integral to countries’ political framework.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed the quality and level of participation, noting that women’s participation is part of the solution, but that efforts are needed to address all the underlying social aspects that might create constraints; and how to address the LGBT community in this context.

Participants then  broke into groups to discuss the benefits arising from gender integration, the challenges, and necessary technical support.


PRESENTATION OF KEY MESSAGES AND GLOBAL REPORTS AT THE INTERSECTION OF GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND HUMAN HEALTH: Andy Haines, Chair, Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, outlined the development of the Commission’s analysis of the linkages between planetary and human health, highlighting the adverse human health impacts of deforestation, habitat loss, land degradation, water over-exploitation, and projected climate change impacts. He suggested that addressing these issues involves challenges of imagination, knowledge and implementation. Among the Commission’s recommendations, he mentioned: promoting clean energy to reduce air pollution; helping cities provide accessible, efficient public transport, and promoting active travel such as walking and bicycling; providing safe access to green spaces; improving municipal housing, water and sanitation; promoting healthier diets with less red and processed meats and more fruits and vegetables; removing the current US$5 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies; reducing environmental impacts of the health care system; and using the SDGs to pursue an integrated approach to planetary health.

Marieta Sakalian, UNEP, presented the report ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy People,’ noting that in 2012 an estimated 12.6 million deaths globally were attributed to environmental factors. She cited the main drivers for human health and environmental problems as inter alia: air pollution, poorly managed hazardous chemicals and wastes, natural disasters, ecosystem degradation, and lifestyle factors. On priority areas for action she highlighted: removing harmful substances or mitigating their impact on the environment; reducing the use of carbon fuels; using less resources for economic activity and changing lifestyles; and enhancing ecosystem resilience and protecting the planet’s natural resources. She drew attention to the Ministerial Declaration on Health, Environment and Climate Change adopted at UNFCCC COP 22.

Daniel Hougendobler, WHO, observed that 7 million deaths a year result from unhealthy air, adding that climate change will cause more deaths and disabilities. He highlighted work with partners including collaboration with the CBD on a joint programme of work as well as the ‘State of Knowledge Review’ on important linkages between human health and biodiversity

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias reflected on biodiversity and health links, emphasizing the need for green, urban spaces; prioritizing prevention rather than cures, in terms of health; and avoiding the overuse of chemicals and of antibiotics for livestock. He pointed to real opportunities for convergence on health and biodiversity.

DIMENSIONS OF PLANETARY HEALTH, INSTITUTIONAL EXPERIENCES AND BEST PRACTICES: Noting that a quarter of the disease burden is caused by environmental changes, Christopher Golden, Planetary Health Alliance, Harvard University, presented work of the Alliance on accelerating environmental change’s impact on human health, and integrating human health into local, regional, and global decision-making. He described the functions of the Planetary Health Framework and its use to generate knowledge to bridge gaps in policy-making. He cited an example of how forest and biomass burning impacts on air quality. Golden also discussed the decline of pollinators, illustrating that malnutrition regions overlap with pollinator-dependent micronutrient production and that micronutrients intake changes when pollinators decline. Giving Madagascar as an example, he discussed how illegal fishing is negatively impacting on the diets of local coastal populations.

 Mike Gill, GEO BON, noted GEO BON is working with the EcoHealth Alliance to include a health component in its ‘BON in a Box’ toolkit for creating biodiversity observation networks. He said GEO BON, Future Earth and the EcoHealth Alliance are partnering to: improve integrated monitoring systems bringing together biodiversity and wildlife health observations; understand the links between ecosystems, socioeconomic trends and potential disease emergence; improve the ability to predict potential emerging disease hotspots and develop early warning systems; and develop policy guidance.

Peter Stoett, Loyola Sustainability Research Centre, Canada, discussed the nexus between ecosystem degradation, public health crises and armed conflicts, and the findings of a May 2016 workshop on ‘Avoiding Catastrophes: Linking Armed Conflict, Harm to Ecosystems, and Public Health.’ He said that the workshop demonstrated the need for mapping risk factors, and called for research to identify transdisciplinary solutions to problems involving the linked environment, health and conflict factors that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations.

Karen Keenleyside, Parks Canada, presented ‘Nature for All,’ in collaboration with the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication and WCPA. She observed that it aims to support societal choices to promote human well-being while enhancing the planet’s assets, and is based on the premise that the more people experience, connect with, and benefit from nature, the more support there will be for its conservation.

An informal roundtable discussion was held where participants addressed: local engagement, agrobiodiversity, food security and nutrition; land use change and infectious disease emergence; and ‘nature-based solutions’ to support human health.

ENB+ SUMMARY: IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, will provide a summary of the Rio Conventions Pavilion events on Saturday, 17 December 2016, online at: http://enb.iisd.org/biodiv/cop13/riopavilion/