Summary report, 5–14 December 2016

Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) at CBD COP13

The Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP or the Pavilion) convened in parallel with the UN Biodiversity Conference in Cancùn, Mexico from 5-14 December 2016. The RCP is a platform designed to raise awareness and disseminate information, including on best practices and scientific findings, linking biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management. The Pavilion highlights the benefits realized from joint implementation of the three Rio Conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The Pavilion’s programme focused on the following themes: landscapes; biodiversity and climate change; tourism and fisheries management; indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs); forests and agriculture; sustainable food systems for biodiversity, nutrition and health; public health and ecosystem management; protected areas (PAs); forest landscapes and ecosystem restoration; equality and social inclusion; and planetary health.


CBD: 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.

The CBD includes the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which was adopted on 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003, with 170 parties. The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol, adopted on 15 October 2010, has not yet entered into force. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing was adopted on 29 October 2010, and entered into force on 12 October 2014, and currently has 85 parties. The Nagoya Protocol aims to establish greater legal certainty for users and providers of genetic resources and helps ensure benefit-sharing, in particular covering traditional knowledge.

UNFCCC: The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC on 9 May 1992, and was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit in June 1992. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 197 parties.

The UN Climate Change Conference convened in Paris, France, in November and December 2015 and culminated in the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Agreement sets the goals of: keeping global average temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; and enhancing global adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.

The Agreement creates two five-year cycles. One cycle is for parties to submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs), each successive contribution representing a progression from the previous contribution, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. By 2020, parties whose NDCs contain a timeframe up to 2025 are requested to communicate a new NDC and parties with an NDC timeframe up to 2030 are requested to communicate or update these contributions. The second cycle is a global stocktake of collective efforts, beginning in 2023, following a facilitative dialogue in 2018.

All parties are to report on their efforts using a common transparency framework, with support provided for developing countries to fulfill their reporting obligations. The Agreement establishes, inter alia, a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of GHG emissions and support sustainable development and a technology framework to provide overarching guidance to the Technology Mechanism.

The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, 30 days after the dual entry into force requirement of ratification by at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global GHG emissions was met. As of 16 December 2016, 117 countries have ratified the agreement.

UNCCD: The UNCCD was adopted on 17 June 1994, and entered into force on 26 December 1996. Currently, there are 195  parties to the UNCCD. The UNCCD is the core of the international community’s efforts to combat desertification and land degradation in drylands. It recognizes the physical, biological, and socioeconomic aspects of desertification, the importance of redirecting technology transfer to be demand-driven, and the importance of involving local communities in combating desertification and land degradation in drylands. The UNCCD facilitates developing national, subregional and regional action programmes with national governments, in cooperation with UN agencies, donors, local communities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

FIRST RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The first RCP convened alongside CBD COP10, held from 19-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The Pavilion was organized around daily themes, including: linkages between biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management (SLM); the role of PAs in climate change; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; land day; economics of ecosystems and biodiversity; ecosystem-based adaptation approaches (EbA); and, promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

SECOND RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The second RCP was convened in parallel with UNFCCC COP16, which took place from 29 November - 10 December 2010, in Cancùn, Mexico. The Pavilion focused on the themes: linking biodiversity, climate change and SLM; the role of PAs in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; marine, coastal and island biodiversity; EbA approaches; promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction; and, linking biodiversity, climate change and SLM through finance.

THIRD RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: This meeting took place in parallel to UNCCD COP10, held from 10-20 October 2011, in Changwon, the Republic of Korea. The main themes of the Pavilion included: cities and SLM; sustainable forest management and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); ecosystem-based approaches to climate change; sustainable land and water management; food security and combating hunger; gender; engaging IPLCs; poverty reduction; and, synergies for the implementation of the Rio Conventions.

FOURTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: This meeting took place in parallel with UNFCCC COP17, held from 29 November - 8 December 2011, in Durban, South Africa. Main themes of RCP4 included: IPLCs; gender; EbA; business, economics and synergies; and, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stock (REDD+).

FIFTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: This meeting convened in parallel with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20), which convened from 13-22 June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main themes of RCP5 included: the roads from Rio – 20 years of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin; Africa; IPLCs; EbAs; oceans; land; business; financing sustainable development; gender mainstreaming; cities; and, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conventions.

SIXTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: This meeting took place in parallel with CBD COP11, which convened from 9-18 October 2012, in Hyderabad, India. The main themes of RCP6 included: tree diversity day; livelihoods day; 20/20 talks; sixth land day; ecosystem restoration; and, integrated implementation of the Rio Conventions.

SEVENTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: This meeting convened in parallel with UNCCD COP11, which convened from 17-26 September 2013, in Windhoek, Namibia. The main themes of RCP6 included: resource mobilization; SLM; landscape approaches; and, land degradation neutrality (LDN).

EIGHTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: This meeting took place in parallel with CBD COP12 in Pyeongchang, the Republic of Korea, which convened from 6-17 October 2014. The main themes of RCP7 included: the role of EbAs; economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services in climate change management; indigenous peoples benefits and livelihoods; and, gender perspectives.

NINTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: This meeting convened in parallel with UNCCD COP12, which was held in Ankara, Turkey, from 12-22 October, 2015. Topics discussed included: land’s role in mitigation; ecosystem restoration; SLM; and, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

TENTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The meeting took place in parallel with the Twenty-First meeting of COP21 to the UNFCCC, in Paris, France, from 1-10 December 2015. The Pavilion’s programme focused on: biodiversity and ecosystems; local communities and indigenous peoples day; land day; ocean day; implementing the Paris agreement; and, gender in the context of the Rio Conventions.


The report below provides a summary of RCP’s thematic days.


Landscapes Day, opened on Monday, 5 December. The theme was chosen as part of the celebrations for World Soil Day 2016 and focused on the linkages between soils, biodiversity, land degradation and climate change. Presentations and discussions centered on generating a better understanding of research findings and policies to promote landscape connectivity, improving knowledge on the state and trend of landscapes, and connecting people with soil and raising awareness of its critical importance. Landscape Day was co-organized by Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and Germany’s Institute for Biodiversity and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. The governments of Mexico and Germany were contributing organizers.

OPENING: David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary, CBD, opened the session explaining that the RCP was created to promote greater integration of the three Rio Conventions, and the adoption of the 2030 Development Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and Paris Agreement on climate change (Paris Agreement) would reinforce this. Eva Muller, FAO, said FAO looks at the agriculture sector from a landscape perspective and called for enhanced dialogue on soil and biodiversity. Ulrich Apel, Global Environmental Facility (GEF), explained that a key focus of the GEF’s activities is on integrating the Rio Conventions in order to achieve multiple benefits for the global environment.

Peter Moll, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany, presented a new publication ‘Making Sense of Research for SLM,’ which synthesizes place-based research on SLM from 12 regional projects. Among the lessons learned, he highlighted the importance of: adopting a nexus perspective; creating “win-win-win” situations for all project participants; reserving 15-20% of the overall project budget for communication and implementation-oriented work; and promoting “open knowledge.”

Stefan Hotes, Philipps Universität Marburg, Germany, presented case studies on rice production in the Philippines and Viet Nam. Arne Cierjacks, Technical University of Berlin, Germany, outlined a case study on irrigation farming, livestock rearing and aquaculture in Brazil. Manuel Krauss, University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany, presented a case study on rubber plantations in China.

The case studies highlighted technology solutions, stakeholders’ involvement and model optimization approaches. On stakeholders’ involvement, the panelists stressed capacity building, environmental education and improved management of stakeholders’ committees. On technology solutions, they discussed, among other things, intercropping, biological pest control, planting flowering plants that attract pollinators, and adapted herbicide and pesticide management, to reduce pollution and side effects of their application on biological control agents. They emphasized optimization that integrates models and s stakeholder drivers.

In conclusion, Hotes said that SLM contributes to achieving different and multiple Aichi Biodiversity Targets, that open knowledge could be used in different parts of the world, and that a broad nexus perspective is needed.

POLICY COHERNCE ACROSS A LANDSCAPE OF DIVERSE CONCEPTS AND INTERESTS: Alexander Buck, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), moderated the session. In his opening remarks Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, noted that for project proposals, countries are “blurring the lines” by seeking funding in a more integrated manner and that the new frameworks like the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda provide an opportunity to bring synergies to the Rio Conventions.

 Eva Müller, FAO, presented the ‘Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry in the Context of National Food Security.’ She emphasized that the guidelines are a tool for mainstreaming as they take an integrated approach and are implemented through multi-stakeholder platforms.

Citing the World Conservation Union (IUCN) study on ‘Restoration of Forest Ecosystems and Landscapes as Contribution to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets,’ Blasie, Bodin, CBD, discussed policy coherence across national level commitments for ecosystem restoration. He noted that planning for restoration action is an opportunity to strengthen implementation of a range of Aichi Biodiversity Targets and that data on degradation and carbon stocks is lacking, especially in ecosystems other than forests.

QUANTIFYING THE EFFECTS OF AGRICULTURAL INTENSIFICATION ON PRODUCTIVITY AND BIODIVERSITY: Axel Paulsch, Institute for Biodiversity, Germany, moderated this session. Elsa Nickel, Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMZ), Germany, opened by highlighting a SLM project that Germany has co-financed with partner countries. The project looks at applied research generating local solutions that might be used to tackle similar challenges in other countries.

Ralf Seppelt, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), highlighted research focused on the biodiversity-agricultural production relationship. He said the research suggests that halting biodiversity loss requires carefully managing land use intensity, and that finding solutions requires adapting to regional conditions and working with regional actors. He said the research indicates that increasing agricultural yields is possible while preventing further biodiversity loss. Seppelt underscored the necessity of openness in sharing scientific knowledge and adopting appropriate framework conditions.

In response to a question, Seppelt agreed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s call for increased production of bioenergy and greater use of carbon storage might affect the balance between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation. In response to another question, Axel agreed there is greater need to reconcile data collection and reporting demands made by different conventions and processes. Müller pointed out recent efforts toward this end through the development of a core set of sustainable forest management indicators to be used by all forest-related processes.

Discussions then addressed the impact of market fluctuations on reducing crop diversity and increasing erosion, noting this exacerbates the vulnerability of farmers and communities. Highlighting that minor changes in the market have direct impacts on the ground, they stressed the need to consider land resources as a common resource.

Participants also highlighted the importance of crop and production diversification as a solution, and the importance of proposing economically viable alternatives for farmers to adopt, acknowledging that market fluctuations make this difficult.

On the science and policy interface, discussions noted that researchers need guidance on research required, and that people on the ground should be involved. Highlighting that open nexus, open data and open science are necessary, Seppelt noted the importance of considering how to measure targets when developing them.

CELEBRATION OF THE WORLD SOIL DAY AT COP 13: Irene Hoffmann, FAO, said there is an urgent need to raise awareness on soils, their biology and proper management. She underscored the importance of the work of the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity and Global Soil Partnership.

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, stressed the need to enhance joint cooperation efforts to restore degraded soils and prevent continued soil degradation.

Humberto Delgado-Rosa, European Commission, suggested that the 2030 Agenda provides a good opportunity for work on soils in that it commits the global society to land degradation neutrality. He noted EU support for the production of the first ‘Status of the World’s Soil Resources’ report in 2015.

Chencho Norbu, Secretary, National Environment Commission, Bhutan, lauded the Global Soil Partnership, but emphasized the need for acting locally. He discussed his country’s efforts to manage soil restoration and encourage integrated land management.

Hesiquio Benítez, National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), Mexico, expressed appreciation for the COP 13 High Level Segment’s recognition of conservation and sustainable management of soil as a living ecosystem. He described Mexico’s efforts to work with the agriculture and forestry sectors in the sound management and recovery of soils.

Chikelu Mba, FAO, introduced a new FAO flagship publication, ‘Soils and Pulses – Symbiosis for Life,’ aimed at promoting sustainable soil management to achieve food security worldwide. He emphasized that: growing pulses can lead to the restoration of degraded soils; it is important to mainstream all the benefits identified that arise from the cultivation of pulses; and that the Voluntary Guidelines for Soil Management are going to be important going forward.

In the ensuing question and answer session, Hoffmann highlighted the need to move to solutions and raise awareness among policy makers on how to better use soils, and for countries to translate the Guidelines into tools that are useful at the country level.

On ecosystem services, a participant highlighted the need for greater understanding of nitrogen fixation systems. Hoffmann noted the need to also consider the entire farming system, including other sectors and other nutrient cycles, and to take into consideration the need of farmers. Ferreira de Souza Dias discussed nitrogen-fixing bacteria seed inoculation technologies for sustainable production that could lead to US$1 billion savings in Brazil.

Concluding remarks highlighted the need for: taxonomical work to document all species inhabiting the soil; improved, desegregated data, and enhanced monitoring and indicators; and financial support. Hoffmann noted that support contingent on country priorities. On capacity building, farmer-to-farmer exchanges and farmer field schools were discussed.


This theme was addressed on Tuesday, 6 December. Presentations and discussions focused on biodiversity and climate change scenarios and the role of global land management strategies. Participants considered opportunities for promoting ecosystem-based approaches for climate mitigation and adaptation in light of the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the SDGs; and ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and DRR. 

The event was organized by the CBD Secretariat, UN Environment (UNEP)-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), BirdLife International, Conservation International, Government of South Africa, the GEF, European Commission, Ramsar Convention Secretariat, IUCN, United National Development Programme (UNDP) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) .

CLIMATE, BIODIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - THE ROLE OF GLOBAL AND LAND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES: Wolfgang Cramer, Mediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and Marine and Continental Ecology, France, introduced the session. Nathalie de Noblet-Ducoudré, Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, France, discussed simulated temporal responses to global and regional impacts of land-uses and land-cover changes. She outlined modelling findings on the sensitivity of the hydrological cycle to land use changes, direct and direct impacts of deforestation, and biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks.

Almut Arneth, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, presented the impacts of afforestation and decreased deforestation on ecosystem properties, including climate regulation, food supply and water quality, and crop production, noting they can generate co-benefits but also trade-offs.

Mark Rounsevell, University of Edinburgh, UK, presented results from model simulations of food supply and bioenergy production, showing it is possible to achieve food security in the context of population growth and within planetary boundaries, but not to double bioenergy production at the same time. He highlighted analysis of losses and wastes, including through food waste, diet, and consumption patterns, noting that nearly 98% of the planet’s surface would be required if the entire world adopted US food consumption patterns.

Cordula Epple, UNEP-WCMC, highlighted findings of the report the ‘Contribution of Ecosystems (other than Forests) to Mitigation,’ citing examples from peatlands, grasslands and savannahs, vegetated coastal ecosystems, tundra and croplands. On lessons learned across all ecosystems, she observed that within the context of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), some countries are taking actions but these need to be scaled up and commitments quantified. Epple noted that optimum results can be achieved through landscape scale participatory planning and that reforming incentives could make the transition to more sustainable ecosystem management viable.

Paul Leadley, University Paris-Sud, France, discussed what science can deliver for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the IPCC. He focused on three main research lines: improving measurement of status and trends; providing solution-focused scenarios, models and decision support tools; and improving understanding of potential tradeoffs and synergies.

In roundtable discussion groups, participants then considered: land use and cover change modeling; food security and land use; and non-forest ecosystem-based mitigation. The groups then reported back on key points of their respective discussions.

The land-use and cover change modeling group suggested that improving dialogue with policy makers may mean “using their language,” by converting modeling results into monetary values. They called for developing metrics that convey regional variability.

The food security and land use group stressed the importance of understanding human behavior underpinning models.

The non-forest ecosystem-based mitigation group recommended developing and applying models for assessing impacts on ecosystem carbon stocks from activities in other sectors such as transport. The group also recommended quantifying ecosystem-based mitigation targets more consistently and making them more compatible with targets on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Reflecting on the discussions, de Noblet-Ducoudré called for “co-building” indicators that are meaningful for everyone, not just scientists or policy makers. Leadley noted there are “tremendous opportunities” to consider national biodiversity action plans (NBSAPs) and INDCs together to see where the tradeoffs and synergies lie. David Cooper, CBD, said the science-policy dialogue requires both sides to engage fully; that most models are too focused on global rather than regional or local scale; and that more work is needed on understanding the role of human behavior. José Sarukhán Kermez, CONABIO, highlighted the importance of involving citizens in producing local-level data, but also in absorbing the meaning of such data, leading to behavioral changes.

Melanie Heath, BirdLife International, presented ‘The Messengers’ report, by BirdLife International and Audubon International, describing climate change threats such as distribution shifts; disrupted species interactions; mismatches in migration, breeding and food supply timing; and population declines. She noted that more than 2,300 bird species worldwide are highly vulnerable due to their sensitivity, low adaptability and exposure to climate change impacts.

Lee Hannah, Conservation International, addressed PAs and climate change, noting that while PAs are fixed in space, species move across landscapes and boundaries, often up-slope, in response to climate change. He underscored species and ecosystems movements predicting models and planning efforts tools, such as the Spatial Planning for Protected Areas Projects (SPARC), for decision-making on areas to protect and requisite financial support.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROMOTING ECOSYSTEM-BASED APPROACHES TO CLIMATE MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION IN LIGHT OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT AND SDGS: Sakhile Koketso, CBD, introduced the session. Humberto Delgado Rosa, European Commission, highlighted nature’s role in climate change mitigation, adding that ecosystems also provide climate resilience for DRR. He noted that solutions for EbA exist, and are accessible, efficient, underpinned by traditional knowledge and that they deliver multiple benefits.

Gustavo Fronseca, GEF, observed that EbA is a low-cost, flexible solution for addressing climate change and that the GEF has invested US$ 2.4 billion for the expansion of PAs. Drawing examples for the Caribbean small island developing States (SIDS), he highlighted support aimed at tackling the vicious cycle of disasters, loss of economic output and increased debt through investments and support for reforms, which strengthens resilience, contributes to development and reorients debt restructuring.

Cyrie Sendashonga, IUCN, highlighted IUCN’s work on the nature-based solutions agenda including the Bonn Challenge aimed at restoring 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2020.

In order to translate the ecosystem-based approaches into action, Midori Paxton, UNDP, proposed: targeting opportunities for multiple benefits across the SDGs; defining pathways for scaling up on-the-ground efforts; and using economics to make the case for EbA.

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, said “there is no excuse” not to push for a more integrated approach to meet the challenges addressed by the three Rio Conventions.

Cordula Epple, UNEP, introduced Friends of EbA, an international network of over 30 organizations that aims to collaborate and share knowledge on EbA.

EBA AND DRR: Moderator Harald Lossack, GIZ, introduced the session. Elsa Nickel, Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB),Germany, highlighted the BMUB International Climate Initiative (IKI) that finances climate and biodiversity projects in developing, newly industrialized and transition countries.

Tanja Gönner, CEO, GIZ, highlighted that GIZ is supporting over 75 partner countries in implementation of more than 100 EbA projects. She underscored IKI as an efficient information management system for both decision makers and practitioners, and noted the launch of the PANORAMA partnership in 2016 to provide a web-based knowledge-sharing platform on replicable solutions to a range of conservation and development issues.

Arno Sckeyde, GIZ, noted that the EbA Solutions Portal, under PANORAMA, is a partnership with international organizations including IUCN, UNEP-WCMC, International Institute for Environment and Development, Conservation International, World Resources Institute (WRI), in collaboration with key governmental partners from Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Philippines and Viet Nam.

Trevor Sandwith, IUCN, said the partnership aims to identify replicable core components, or building blocks, of successful approaches and feed them into a searchable global database, in such way as to connect people around success stories and scale them up, noting there are 270 solution providers, including NGOs, governments and academia.

Mathias Bertram, GIZ, provided an interactive presentation of the functionalities of the EbA Solutions Portal. Ignacio March, National Commission of PAs (CONANP), Mexico, demonstrated how the portal works using an example involving increasing the resilience of mangroves in a Yucatan PA. His presentation was followed by the formal launch of the EbA Solutions Portal.

Naoya Furuta, IUCN, introduced the concept of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (“Eco-DRR”). Yuri Hayashi, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, discussed the application of Eco-DRR in her country, explaining that it is being used to avoid exposure and reduce vulnerability to climatic hazards, earthquakes and other disasters. She outlined how the concept has been embedded into national laws, policies and strategies, and highlighted a handbook for practitioners produced by the Ministry.

Naoya Furuta, IUCN, presented the RELIEF Kit Initiative funded by IUCN and Japan, aimed at documenting linkages between biodiversity and disasters and establishing capacity development knowledge products for policy makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders in six regions over three years.

María Pía Hernández, IUCN, provided a regional overview of the RELIEF Kit Initiative in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. She highlighted regional challenges in relation to vulnerabilities. She observed that: the environmental and risk reduction sectors do not communicate; strengthening governance is a priority; and responses to risk tend to be more reactive than proactive.

Xavier Moya, UNDP, discussed resilience tools for PAs and Mexico’s efforts to increase landscape resilience by preserving biodiversity, highlighting the national climate change adaptation programme (PAC) as the main tool for DDR.

EBA AND DRR: HOW CAN EBA INVESTMENTS REDUCE DISASTER RISK AND CATALYZE SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL DIVIDENDS? Moderator Tim Scott, UNDP, introduced the session, which he said would focus on the way EbA investments can reduce disaster risk and catalyze social, economic, and environmental dividends.

Karin Zaunberger, European Commission, noted the potential of EbA for DRR in creating jobs and business opportunities, highlighting increasing post-disaster investments in ecological infrastructure, such as mangroves, and green infrastructure.

Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary-General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, stressed the importance of wetlands for DRR, in particular given that natural disasters, often water-related, have more than doubled in the last 25 years. She noted wetlands act as natural protection, increasing ecosystems and population resilience.

Marco Fritz, European Commission, presented the Commission’s EbA DRR experience. He highlighted various approaches to DRR, including the EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure, noting that one of the main policy challenges is to give priority to these approaches. He noted the importance of catalogues and databases on good practices and nature-based solutions, and partnerships, citing as an example the project on the catchment based approaches for slope stability and flood control in Afghanistan. He stressed the need for hybrid solutions, using “grey approaches” and making them as green as possible, and to upscale solutions so they become the center of the mainstream agenda.

Amita Prasad, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India, underscored the importance of community involvement, traditional knowledge and local-based solutions. She described various integrated ecosystem management schemes in India involving: water resource management; integrated fire management; coastal management, including mangroves as effective methods for preserving coasts; and crop management, selecting crops that are resistant to drought. She stressed the need to manage solid waste disposal and, urban ecosystems and biodiversity.

Ratita Bebe, Ministry of Environment, Land and Agriculture Development, Kiribati, discussed her country’s efforts to promote EbA through “te buibui,” the construction of a brush structure from local materials to catch sediment and allow dunes and beaches to rebuild. She also described a mangrove planting programme and a coastal ecosystem-based rehabilitation guide provided to communities in the local language.

Lyes Ferroukhi, UNDP, outlined Cuban efforts to reconcile traditional resilience strategies with nature-based solutions. He stressed the promotion of linkages between, and spatial alignment of priorities in, seven major programmes addressing PAs, mountain ecosystems, land degradation, water management, climate risk reduction, biodiversity conservation and invasive species.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed ways governments can implement EbA and DRR, noting that the GEF and the Green Climate Fund are placing emphasis on EbA, which opens up spaces and funding for these activities. In closing, Rojas-Urrego said the challenge is now to scale-up, noting the need to prioritize, share information and practices, and for policy coherence to link wetlands and other agendas to the climate discussions.


The RCP addressed this theme on Wednesday, 7 December. Presentations and discussions focused on showcasing solutions from islands and from other States, as tourism destinations and “biodiversity hotspots.” In the afternoon participants focused on integrating sustainable fisheries management into wider sustainable development frameworks including tourism.

The day was organized by the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA), the CBD Secretariat, and the government of Mexico.

OPENING: Oliver Hillel, CBD, suggested thinking of “mainstreaming biodiversity into the productive sectors” in terms of “nature stays if it pays.” He drew attention to the 10-year anniversaries of CBD’s work programme on island biodiversity and the creation of the GLISPA cooperative platform.

Kedrick Pickering, Deputy Premier, British Virgin Islands, and Co-Leader, GLISPA, said GLISPA has helped islands understand the importance of biodiversity for their economies. He said the environment is the number one asset that draws in tourism, and leaders must protect it and involve tourists in this.

Alberto Pacheco Capella, UNEP, noted that non-island nations also recognize the importance of biodiversity for tourism, mentioning a study valuing tourism in Ecuador’s PAs at US$500 million annually.

TOURISM: Kate Brown, Executive Director, GLISPA, introduced the session. Oliver Hillel presented on tourism, biodiversity and ecosystems, stressing the importance of the multiplying factor of investments and the need to reinvest tourism revenue in PAs. On how to manage and reduce the environmental and social footprint, he stressed the importance of planning and involving local communities, noting that many indigenous communities engaged in tourism sector have managed to preserve their culture and have become tourism entrepreneurs.

TOURISM AND BIODIVERSITY BRIGHT SPOTS: Eric Coppenger, African Wildlife Foundation, discussed the origin of the “Bright Spots” expression, noting it entails showcasing who is doing what successfully so that others can emulate.

Teresa Solis, Ministry of Tourism, Mexico, highlighted her country’s progress towards sustainable tourism. She noted challenges around managing areas where tourism has boomed and addressing coastal erosion and impacts of climate change. Solis discussed the development of sustainable tourism zones and the need to align all relevant stakeholders towards a common goal.

Kedrick Pickering observed that in the British Virgin Islands, tourism is the leading revenue earner, based around yachting and attracting the higher end of the market. He highlighted the Sustainable Yachting Initiative aimed at reducing marine pollution by prohibiting the use of lead-based paints and stipulating the use of holding tanks. He added that a system of mooring has been developed to protect coral reefs and the seabed.

Trevor Sandwith, IUCN, highlighted his organization’s new Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, an initiative that encourages and celebrates the success of PAs that reach excellent standards of management. He said the list is organized around four components: good governance; sound design and planning; effective management; and successful conservation outcomes.

In response to a question on transborder cooperation on tourism and biodiversity, Solis noted the need for greater cooperation between Mexico with its Central American neighbors, while Sandwith cited examples from African countries with strong tourism-based economies working with neighbors through joint planning, marketing and other cooperation. 

On engaging PA visitors, Sandwith said many communities are doing this successfully and that these experience should be used to develop guidance for others. 

TOURISM AND FINANCING: Mae Adams, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), chaired the session. Geoffrey Bolan, CEO, Sustainable Travel International, said that large travel companies could do much more in terms of jobs and sustainable tourism funding. He noted that “getting hands on the money is hard,” particularly for social and environmental goods since the private sector needs investment returns.

Robbie Bovino, TNC, on behalf of Shanna Emmanuel, Government of Saint Lucia, described the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), a partnership between Caribbean governments, the business community and NGOs, aimed at protecting and sustainably managing 20% of the Caribbean’s marine and coastal ecosystems by 2020. It is financed through a set of trust funds, including the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) and the National Conservation Trust Funds (NCTFs).

Yabanex Batista, CEO, CBF, discussed the Windward Island Marine Trail, a platform for engaging with the Caribbean yachting community. The platform aims to facilitate financial contributions for sustainable development through trust funds such as the CBF. It could also provide information on services, licenses and fees, and enable the collection of fees, for levies including PAs access and fishing licenses.

Observing that birds are charismatic and undervalued, Matt Jeffrey, National Audubon Society, highlighted Birds Means Business, an initiative aimed at fostering ecotourism benefits for local communities while preserving important habitats for birds. He suggested that mainstream tourism cannot conserve biodiversity but bird watchers will spend money to see birds in rural environments, which provides local communities incentives for engaging in PAs.

The ensuing discussion centered on incentivizing consumers to pay for biodiversity conservation, and monitoring and evaluating the impact of financing on biodiversity conservation.

TOURISM AND FISHERIES: Alain de Comarmond, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, the Seychelles, outlined how environmental conservation has strengthened the Seychelles’ most important economic sectors, tourism and fisheries. He explained how resorts are involved in coral restoration, wetlands preservation, ecolabeling programmes and have adopted low-impact practices. De Comarmond discussed how the fishing industry has adopted responsible practices and noted the Seychelles’ commitment to Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and the “Blue Bond” initiative to finance sustainable fishing.

TOURISM AND FISHERIES: – NATIONAL APPROACHES: In his opening remarks, panel Chair Spencer Thomas, Ambassador, Multilateral Environment Agreements, Grenada, noted the emphasis on “sustainable” in the discussions, observing that for most countries, especially SIDS, there can be no sustainable fishing without tourism, and there can be no sustainable tourism without fisheries.

Federico Méndez Sánchez, Island Ecology and Conservation Group, Mexico, noted advances in his country such as a 2012 island strategy developed with community participation, and a recent gazette designating all islands as PAs. He stressed the role of fisher cooperatives in promoting island conservation and sustainable fishing in Mexico.

Leonel Requena, UNDP, outlined community approaches in the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) related to fisheries in Belize. He discussed rights-based access for customary fishers and community-managed access committees; the landscape/seascape approach; and community stewardship in a World Heritage Site. He stressed the importance of community participation, including in the decision-making process.

Handoko Adi Susanto, Rare, highlighted the Fish Forever global initiative, noting that in Indonesia MPA guidelines and policies are applied, but that preferred access should go to traditional communities to protect their benefits. He underscored the National Scale Strategy that is implemented by connecting local activities to national and international commitments. Noting positive outcomes from the initiative, he pointed to an increase in fishery production, in the number of tourists, and in employment in the tourism sector.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed ways to jointly manage fisheries and tourism and to integrate fishers in tourism. De Comarmond said that fisheries and tourism were traditionally treated separately but have now been brought together, given the need to optimize the ocean-based, blue economy. Stressing support to fishers’ empowerment and to investments in alternative livelihoods, Requena noted that fishers are transitioning to the tourism industry and that capacity building is needed to facilitate this. Méndez Sánchez cautioned that fishers should not be forced to transition from fishing to tourism, but rather have the option of doing so.

Participants then considered the ecosystem-based approach, de Comarmond noting the challenge of the social economic valuation exercise. Addressing enforcement and compliance issues, Requena stressed the need to address innovative tools in terms of fishery regulations and enforcement. Susanto mentioned the use of SMS texts to transmit information on illegal acts to enforcement officers.

In conclusion, panelists stressed that co-management is key but may become a burden for the community, noting that the government still has to facilitate compliance and surveillance. The importance of community empowerment to influence policy and ownership was emphasized. Participants also agreed that up-scaling co-management requires education and capacity building.

TOURISM AND FISHERIES – REGIONAL AND GLOBAL APPROACHES: Jamison Ervin, UNDP, moderated the session. In her introductory remarks she observed that fish provides the main source of protein for millions of people, noting that 80% of fisheries have been fully or over-exploited and that ecotourism is growing. 

Alberto Pacheco Capella, UNEP, highlighted issues affecting communities such as unsustainable, unregulated or illegal fishing practices, noting that many countries do not have the capacity to manage fish stocks. He observed that land-based pollution and nutrient enrichment is impacting fisheries, marine and coastal areas. On marine litter, he said microplastics are already entering the fisheries supply chain and that scientific studies of the effects on human health are not yet available. He further added that the acidification of waters due to climate change is having an impact on fisheries.

On solutions, he highlighted UNEP’s Global Partnership on Marine Litter and noted work on nutrients and wastewater management as well as collaboration with governments to create national marine action plans.

Therese Yarde, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), discussed sustainable tourism and fisheries in the CARICOM. She cited a recent study by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, which found that stakeholders in the fisheries and tourism sectors appear to be pursuing incompatible goals and that the growth of tourism in the Caribbean has marginalized fishers and compromised their traditional use of coastal and marine resources. She noted that although there are some opportunities for fishers to benefit from tourism, most are not able to capitalize on this due to lack of capacity and marginalization. Yarde said that action needs to focus on: developing participatory mechanisms to balance the needs of the two sectors; fostering respect for fishers; strengthening the capacity of fishers to take advantage of tourism opportunities; transferring technology; and enhancing access to capital.

Afrina Choudhury, Worldfish, addressed gender perspectives on fisheries. She noted that often the role of women in fisheries goes unrecognized, a situation that the EU has addressed by creating the “collaborative spouse status.” She detailed other constraints to enhancing the role of women in fisheries, including stereotypes and social norms, unequal access to jobs and facilities, lower wages, and dependence on traditional forms of livelihoods that make them more vulnerable to ecological change. She said the problem can be addressed, either be done by working within existing norms, or, by seeking a “gender transformative approach” that challenges existing social structures, advocating the latter.

In response to questions, Choudhury agreed that sometimes donors have to balance gender equity promotion with respect for local cultures. She added that it is possible to work around this by differentiating between positive and negative norms and by seeking to change the latter through education so that local communities understand the benefits of involving women. She noted that sometimes the task can be more difficult because the social norms and constraints involved are not obvious. A participant cautioned that an approach that works in one country or region might not function in another, so “toolboxes” need to be stocked with multiple approaches.


This theme was addressed on Thursday, 8 December. The day consisted of a series of dialogues and panel discussions to share knowledge, exchange best practices, inform policy and enhance capacity. Topics focused on the COP 13 themes: forests, fisheries, agriculture and tourism.

The day was organized by UNDP’s Equator Initiative, GEF, CBD, Conservation International, Rare, TNC, EcoAgriculture Partners, BMZ, Government of Norway, Nippon Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society.

IPLCS – LOCAL ACTION FOR AICHI BIODIVERSITY TARGETS AND SDGS: Eva Gurria, UNDP Equator Initiative, moderated this session. Jamison Ervin, UNDP, suggested IPLCs should be central to SDG work because they are often innovative, take risks, and can be more dynamic.

Angela Fajardo, Organización Manejo y Conservación, Guatemala, discussed how her organization helps sustainably manage the largest community-managed area in Mesoamerica.

René García, Grupo de Estudios Ambientales y Sociales (GEA), Mexico, discussed how GEA has worked with indigenous farmers in Guerrero state since 1977 to improve agricultural practices, restore soil and watersheds, enhance capacity, and improve food security.

John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, said indigenous peoples’ rights are clear but often poorly implemented, while rights of non-indigenous communities need to be clarified, particularly regarding the right to free, clear and prior consent.

Noting the CBD’s acknowledgement of IPLCs rights in Article 8j (on traditional knowledge, innovations and practices), 10c (on sustainable use), Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols, Viviana Figueroa, CBD, highlighted that this provides leverage for IPLCs to request implementation of effective national policy  by governments.

Andrew Rhodes Espinoza, Mexico, outlined the evolution of the PAs model in Mexico, from the classic model of isolated PAs, to PAs with a buffer zone, to connected PAs, and now to PAs integrated to the land use matrix.

Tehmina Akhtar, UNDP, presented a GEF SGP perspective, recalling the early recognition that local communities are not passive recipients of development assistance, but that they have agency, vision, knowledge and capacity to take charge of their own development. She highlighted a key strategic focus, on among other things, participatory consultations and support to community grant making.

During the ensuing discussion participants reflected on requisite support for IPLCs, enabling polices, learning from success stories and scaling up. John Knox called for respecting the rights of IPLCs environmental defenders who are opposing government and private interest development projects, often at high risk.

SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: Carmen Miranda, ICCA Consortium, moderated the session. Daniel Ancapan, Comunidad Indígena Manquemapu, Chile, described his association’s work on sustainably managing ancestral forestlands and rivers by making handcrafted wood products, furniture and through the creation of a fisher cooperative.

Ana Isabel Arroyo, Asociación de Artesanas Unidas de Los Límites, Colombia, outlined how female artisans promote the protection of endangered monkeys by handcrafting stuffed toys and recycling over three million plastic bags into carrier bags embossed with conservation messages.

Carlos Crasborn, Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén, Guatemala, explained her organization represents communities conserving over 500,000 hectares of forest within the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, while producing sustainable wood products for the fair trade market.

Héctor Anguiano, Comunidad Indígena Nuevo San Juan Parigaricutiro, Mexico, detailed community efforts to manage 18,000 hectares of communal forest while producing sustainable timber and non-timber forest products.

Diego Flores, Ministry of Environment, Chile, stressed that mainstreaming biodiversity has to be a bottom-up activity, highlighting his country’s new forest policy vision that includes native forest conservation and involves small owners and indigenous communities. He pointed to indigenous communities’ initiatives on native forest conservation outside PAs that match areas with greater forest coverage. Flores stressed the need for further integration efforts, including communities’ access, rights and health, and further collaboration between states and communities.

Stressing that less than 5% of the planet’s forests are managed by communities and local schemes, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Conservation International, called for halting deforestation outside community schemes, to secure indigenous communities’ rights over their territory and for 50% of the planet to be protected through conservation schemes such as PAs.

Bente Herstad, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, emphasized that recognition of rights including those of IPLCs, is a perquisite for sustainable use but that this is sometimes difficult when governments have other priorities. Emphasizing communication, she said the Equator Initiative was important for showcasing local experiences.

Eva Gurria, UNDP, stressed that community-based forest models are underutilized and encompass a wide range of activities. Highlighting how forests contribute to the SDGs, she noted that 50-90% of income for 100 million people comes from forests. She also acknowledged Norway’s contribution to the Equator Initiative Prize.

The ensuing discussion focused on: the links between the avocado production boom, land use change and deforestation; defending indigenous territories; and the importance land ownership in the context of sustainable management of forests.

SUSTAINABLE FISHING AND PROTECTION OF MARINE AND COASTAL HABITATS: Learning from Local Action: Handoko Adi Susanto, Rare, moderated the session. Oscar Pihuave, Junta de Manejo Participativo Pesquero de Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, described his association’s work on restoring fish populations by improving shrimping methods to prevent by-catch of larval and juvenile shellfish and finfish, and to prevent fishing in PAs.

Rigoberto Bonilla, Comité para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Flora y Fauna del Golfo de Fonseca, Honduras, outlined the Committee’s efforts to create artificial reefs, regenerate mangroves, promote artisanal fishing, and co-manage 10 PAs.

Jordán Solórzano, Coope Tárcoles, Costa Rica, described how his artisanal fishers co-op successfully petitioned the government to prohibit commercial shrimping in a community-managed marine zone.

José Canto, Pescadores de Vigía Chico y Cozumel, Mexico, outlined how his cooperative manages eight fishing reserves, with a focus on Caribbean spiny lobster for which it is seeking Marine Stewardship Council certification in order to access international markets.

Suzanne von der Porten, University of British Columbia, Canada, outlined strategies for marine conservation and revitalization of indigenous culture. These strategies include legal challenges; negotiating with governments; protests and demonstrations; maintaining traditional indigenous fishing practices; applying indigenous law; and strengthening indigenous identity and pride. She also stressed inter-community collaboration and solidarity, and direct negotiations with the fisheries industry.

Leonel Requena, UNDP, presented a video on the GEF-SGP experience in promoting sustainable fisheries in Belize focusing on indigenous peoples.

Gerald Singh, University of British Columbia, Canada, discussed on how healthy oceans contribute to different SDGs including on poverty, hunger, sanitation and energy. Focusing on Guatemala, he described how the country’s NBSAP contributes to SDG targets on oceans, noting this has to be linked to community needs and goals.

The ensuing discussion addressed the participation of fishers in ocean conservation; the role and empowerment of women in local fishing communities; linking conservation to improved quality of life; industrial wastes and pollution; and mangrove management.

Pharoah closed the session noting the importance of transformational change to generate innovative local adaptive solutions to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND CROP DIVERSIFICATION: Joji Cariño, Forest People’s Programme, the Philippines, moderated the session. Yolanda Contreras, Asociación de Artesanas de Arbolsol y Huaca de Barro del Distrito de Mórrope, Peru, shared her association’s experiences of reviving native cotton cultivation.

Angela Gómez, Asociación de Productores Indìgenas y Campesinos de Rioscuo, Caldas, Colombia, explained how coffee bean production in the Caldas region degraded the environment. She highlighted efforts to restore traditional production methods, revive seeds, and move to sustainable production and diversify cultivation. José del Carmen Huichin, Koolel Kab/Muuch Kambal, Mexico, discussed the impact of transgenic soya bean production on artisanal beekeeping and a successful lawsuit to stop this soya bean cultivation.

Jose Juárez, Café la Selva, Mexico, explained how local organic coffee producers have organized themselves in order to market their coffee, conserve natural resources and establish alliances with other stakeholders.

Juan Bezaury, TNC, discussed TNC work focusing on replicating the European natural regional parks concept in Mexico. He explained that the concept worked by enabling local communities to certify communal lands as PAs, meaning they can receive financial support and trademarks for PA.

Emile Frison, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, advocated transitioning from an industrial agriculture model based on input-intensive crop monocultures to one that replaces chemical inputs, optimizes biodiversity, values traditional knowledge, and reestablishes the role of farmers as innovators.

The ensuing discussion focused on: the value of the Equator Initiative in spotlighting transformative community initiatives; shifting public investment from industrial agricultural systems; the need to preserve traditional seed systems; and initiatives to declare the Yucatan a “transgenic free” zone.

SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE TOURISM: RESPECTING CULTURE, PROTECTING NATURE: Alejandra Pero, UNDP, moderated the session. Guido Mamani, Albergue Ecológico Chalalán, Bolivia, described his community’s ecotourism activities in Madidi National Park, noting they facilitate the education of young people; enhance the community’s quality of life; increase the visibility of indigenous people, contributing to their self-esteem and belonging; and inspire the creation of other eco-shelters in the region.

Roman Caamal, Community Tours Sian Ka’an, Mexico, underscored his company’s 15-year experience in conducting PA eco-tours. He said the visitor’s experience is enhanced through the sharing of indigenous culture, adding that limiting the number of visitors per trip reduces the impact on the PAs. He noted that an Equator Initiative recognition opens doors and the company is now considered a serious enterprise.

Galindo Parra, Federación Plurinacional de Turismo Comunitario del Ecuador, explained that the federation’s community-based tourism activities are focused on organizational strengthening, with all members of the communities participating in tourism-related activities, and cultural revitalization, through the transfer of knowledge between the generations. He said foreign strategic alliances are necessary, as little support is received from the government. He concluded by emphasizing that community-based ecotourism is “tourism with heart.”

José Antonio Medina Oviedo, Red Indígena de Turismo, Mexico, observed that the reason for transitioning to ecotourism, beside generating economic benefits, was to preserve territory and cultural identity. On opportunities, he cited participation in decision-making processes and the exercise of indigenous people’s rights.

Cristina Eghenter, WWF-Indonesia, said Indonesia’s communities could learn a lot from the Latin American Equator Prize winners. She said WWF is trying to help promote community-based ecotourism in Indonesia. She recommended two strategies: community-private partnerships; and the adoption of community protocols that establish rules and safeguards for stakeholders.

Gonzalo Merediz, Amigos de Sian Ka’an (ASK), Mexico, described the evolution of ASK efforts to promote conservation in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Quintana Roo through sustainable fishing of lobster, eco-tourism boat trips and organic agricultural products. He explained that ASK is trying to share experiences with others in the Yucatan region.

Participants then considered lessons learned from shared experiences, factors enabling success of community initiatives and strategies required for scaling up and replication, in four discussion groups. Reporting on lessons learned, participants agreed that “social investments” must be consistent in the long term, participation by all stakeholders is crucial and that local culture should be respected. On success factors, participants cited long-term community commitment, innovation, organization, visionary leadership, networking and empowerment. On scaling up and replication, participants highlighted collaboration with like-mined associations and NGOs, and the sharing of successful experiences.

In his concluding remarks, moderator Pero reminded participants that 2017 will be celebrated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, and that a sustainable tourism summit would be convened in Colombia in March 2017. She suggested both would provide IPLCs opportunities to make the case for community tourism.


The RCP addressed this theme on Friday, 9 December, providing an opportunity to highlight perspectives of different stakeholders who are championing solutions for producers to improve their livelihoods, increase productivity and reduce losses and waste.

The day was organized by FAO, CBD and the Government of Mexico. GEF, World Forestry Centre (ICRAF), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Bank, Global Partnership on Forestry and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), Bioversity, and FERI (Korean Forest Service) were contributing organizers. 

BIODIVERSITY MAINSTREAMING FOR CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE, FOOD SECURITY, AND SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT: Catalina Santamaria, CBD, moderated the session. Rafael León Negrete, National Forest Commission (CONAFOR), Mexico, highlighted the importance of coordination between agriculture and forest sectors, noting that agricultural production is dependent on healthy forest ecosystems and called for avoiding incentives that compromise forest resources.

Hesiquio Benítez Díaz, CONABIO, observed that mainstreaming biodiversity is linked to sustainable use of forest and agricultural resources. He underscored the importance of coordination and partnerships and lauded the RCP as a space to further explore these issues. 

Braulio Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, outlined forest and agriculture interlinkages. On the role of forests, he emphasized: provision of water; pollination; carbon capture and protection from extreme weather events; and other services such as sources of food and shade for livestock.

Eva Müller, FAO, highlighted the FAO’s ‘State of the World’s Forests 2016’ report, noting the greatest loss of forests and gains in agricultural land are in tropical and low-income countries, with 40% of forest loss resulting from the transition to large-scale commercial agriculture. She said the report’s key message is that food security can be achieved without deforestation.

In the ensuing discussion, participants considered the link between agricultural intensification and deforestation, the importance of land use planning and policy, and the role of forests in maintaining soil fertility and in combating climate change.

FORESTS AND TREES: Ulrich Apel, GEF, moderated the session. Terry Sunderland, CIFOR, discussed forests, ecosystems services and food security. He explained that his organization is looking at how to operationalize the landscape approach. This approach aims to embrace integrated solutions for people across sectors and is based on 10 principles, which have been adopted by many organizations at the grassroots level. Sunderland discussed forest functions, noting that links to food security and nutrition are not well understood. He outlined CIFOR’s efforts to disseminate knowledge on these linkages.

Emphasizing the importance of forests and the services they provide, Philip Dobie, ICRAF, explained that his organization focuses on: the role of trees on farms; improving farming systems; and increasing incomes and improving livelihoods. Pointing to continuing global pressure on farmlands, he said that 40% of the worlds’ terrestrial resources have been transformed into agricultural land and that agroforesty is an important tool for land restoration. He underscored the Bonn Challenge on land restoration and SDGs, aimed at achieving land degradation neutrality.

On the livelihood and value chain connection, Dietmar Stoian, Bioversity International, cautioned against the notion of “forest dependent people,” and suggested viewing this relationship as a continuum between forest and agriculture activities. Noting that 25% of global forests are managed by communities, Stoian said further efforts are needed for business development and management of community forestry.

Presenting the IPBES Pollination Assessment, Hein Ngo, IPBES, highlighted that pollinators need a diversity of flowering native plants as sources of pollen, quality nesting sites, and foraging and living areas free of pesticides, noting the importance of good patch size, connectivity and reduced fragmentation for healthy pollinators.

In the ensuing discussion, participants considered the economic viability of the landscape approach and how to improve insecticide risk assessment.

LAND USE FRAMEWORKS FOR THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF BIODIVERSITY: Sarah Nelson, BirdLife International, moderated this session, and explained that land use changes in wintering grounds in West Africa have contributed to the decline of certain bird species in Europe. Highlighting the Abuja Declaration on Sustainable Land Use for People and Biodiversity in West Africa she noted that it identifies underlying drivers of land use change and recommends actions such as: integrating SLM into regional policies and programmes; developing guidelines for common bird monitoring schemes; implementing the Convention on Migratory Species African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan; and good governance.

Ousainou Touray, Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, the Gambia, outlined his country’s policies and strategies aimed at facilitating sustainable conservation, including by increasing forestry cover from 22% to 30%; transferring 75% of forests from government to community and private management; addressing perverse agricultural incentives; and implementing the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing.

Phong Bui Dang, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam, discussed positive changes in Viet Nam’s forest cover, biodiversity and food security situation, highlighting factors such as land tenure rights for local communities; transitioning from state forestry to community management; diversifying agricultural production; engaging stakeholders in land use planning; and instituting payments for environmental services.

In response to questions from participants, Touray explained that the shift from government to community forestry management involves a transition phase where the forests are co-managed until the community develops sufficient capacity and establishes its own forest governance bylaws. He also noted that all levies from forestry activities go into a fund that supports community forestry projects. Phong added that Viet Nam has a Forestry Fund derived from the payment for ecosystem services schemes that support local communities.

ECOLOGICAL INTENSIFICATION AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Oliver Page, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), moderated the session. Salman Hussain, UNEP, observed that The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative focuses on invisible benefits provided by biodiversity and well functioning ecosystems. He discussed ‘TEEB for Agriculture and Food study,’ which examined Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania’s agroforestry sectors, noting that findings indicate that this sector is critical but remains undervalued. He highlighted agroforestry valuation models and outlined three levels of action centered on recognizing, valuing and capturing value.

Chikelu Mba, FAO, presented a new technical guidance document titled ‘Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity into Agricultural Production Management in the Pacific Islands.’ He noted that the document focuses on diversified integrated farming systems and aims to: highlight ecosystem-based agriculture best practice to enable stakeholders to identify entry points with a higher probability of success; and foster collaboration amongst stakeholders.

Bernardo Strassburg, Executive Director, International Institute for Sustainability (IIS), discussed pasture land intensification in Brazil, noting that increasing production is possible without further deforestation, but that the challenge is to achieve this at scale. On constraints, he cited high costs, limited access to credit, and the absence of qualified labor.

Paul Gumonye Mafabi, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, discussed wetland ecosystem management in Uganda. On strategies, he highlighted catchment and river basin approaches linking upstream and downstream users. He underscored the use of protection zones to enable communities to pursue their activities while conserving biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem services.

Stuart Chape, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), outlined activities in the region, where only 2% of the territory is covered by land. Highlighting susceptibility to shifting weather patterns and extreme weather events due to climate change, he stressed the need for further work on, among other things, EbA; soil fertility; watershed protection; and deforestation.

USE OF POLICY INSTRUMENTS FOR LANDSCAPE CONNECTIVITY: This session was moderated by Peter Besseau, Natural Resources, Canada. Laura Plant, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), discussed the development of the WBCSD Landscape Connectivity Initiative aimed at making the business case for land connectivity. She outlined the role that companies can play in landscape connectivity conservation, citing Syngenta and sugar growers in Colombia as an example.

Marianella Feoli, Fundecooperación, Costa Rica, outlined policies that led to an increase in Costa Rican forest cover from 21% in 1987 to 54% in 2015. She highlighted the removal of perverse land use incentives, imposition of a fuel tax to pay for ecosystem services, and changes in water utility charges to include fees for watershed protection. She also highlighted Costa Rica’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) relating to the livestock industry and coffee production.

Kaspar Wansleben, Luxembourg Microfinance and Development Fund (LMDF), discussed LMDF efforts to create a Forestry and Climate Change Fund with a focus on the forestry sector in developing countries. He said LMDF is concentrating on: helping medium-sized companies working with sustainably-sourced timber; supporting community forestry schemes; and exploring innovative financing schemes to help small producers usually excluded from the formal timber market.

In response to questions, Plant explained that the Colombian sugar scheme was successful because of robust Colombian environmental laws, the desire of farmers to extract a premium price for their product, and international companies seeking certified sustainably sourced sugar.

COMMITMENTS TO ZERO DEFORESTATION AND SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS: Blaise Boudin, CBD, moderated the session. Dietmar Stoian, Bioversity International, pointed to challenges in measuring sustainability, citing: incomplete, ill-defined or absent baselines; issues around whether to focus on biophysical or socioeconomic aspects; unclear definitions; and delineating coverage. He noted the need to ensure complementarity across standards, and to integrate both biophysical and socioeconomic aspects, adding that all stakeholders need to agree on definitions, and that country specific or regional approaches are required to identify zero deforestation zones. Stoian proposed: establishing mechanisms for monitoring; ensuring traceability and transparency of supply chains; sanctions for non-compliance; and raising consumer awareness.

Sarah Lake, Global Canopy Programme, provided an overview of Forest 500, which identifies and ranks the progress of the 250 companies that have the greatest potential to influence the race towards a deforestation-free global economy. She then showcased Trase, an online information and decision-support platform aimed at improving the sustainability of international agricultural commodity supply chains. The platform provides information on the traceability and sustainability performance of commodity supply chains at scale, covering entire countries and sectors of the economy.

Paulina Villalpando, High Conservation Value (HCV) Network, explained that HCVs are biological, ecological, social or cultural values considered as outstandingly significant or critically important, at the national, regional or global level. She said the HCV approach entails identifying, managing and monitoring, and is a step towards achieving forestry or agricultural commodity certification. Villalpando observed that her network supports commodity certification schemes and trains and monitors the work of assessors in the field.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: next efforts to scale up sustainability verification, monitoring private sector commitments; transparency of the supply chain; practical aspects of measuring sustainability standards on the ground; the challenge of engaging small holders in HCV assessments; and legal indicators, compliance and law enforcement.

COORDINATED POLICIES RELATED TO FORESTS, BIODIVERSITY, AGRICULTURE AND ENERGY: Paulina Villalpando moderated the session. Rafael León Negrete, CONAFOR, highlighted his country’s programmes and strategies aimed at integrating biodiversity in agricultural and forestry sectors, including credits for land owners to restore and protect forests, and environmental certification that align with international standards such as the Forest Stewardship Council. He noted efforts to build capacity of both national technicians and forest land owners in biodiversity conservation,

Cordula Epple, UNEP-WCMC, on behalf of Nigeria’s National UN-REDD Programme, presented Nigeria’s perspectives on REDD+, noting, inter alia, participatory governance assessment; analyses of drivers of deforestation; and mapping of forest value in Cross River State. She pointed to an analysis that helps identify sites for ecotourism, natural forests or PAs.

Chheang Dany, Forestry Administration, Cambodia, underscored the importance of forests for Greater Mekong Subregion, saying that the region has experienced dramatic forest and species loss over the past 50 years. He attributed much of the loss to a lack of coordination and coherence among policy sectors. He noted that Cambodia is setting aside 30% of its land for conservation purposes.

Ulrich Apel, GEF, said the GEF specializes in “breaking silos” between sectors and the three Rio Conventions in order to promote a more integrated approach that yields multiple environmental benefits, noting this was particularly true for projects involving sustainable forest management. He conveyed that GEF has funded about 150 sustainable forest management projects in all eligible member countries.


SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS FOR BIODIVERSITY, NUTRITION AND HEALTH: This was one of two RCP themes falling under the biodiversity and human health addressed on Saturday, 10 December. The event was organized by the CBD, International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS), and TEEB. FAO, UNEP, United Nations University-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IASS) were contributing organizers. Participants explored co-benefits for the environment, biodiversity and health aimed at promoting sustainable and healthy food systems and diets. They discussed successful strategies and made recommendations on the transition towards sustainable and healthy food systems.

BIODIVERSITY FOR ACHIEVING CLIMATE SMART FOOD SYSTEMS, NUTRITION, AND HUMAN HEALTH: Cristina Romanelli, CBD, who moderated this session introduced the theme in the context of thematic areas presented in ‘Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, a State of Knowledge Review’ and other complementary publications and initiatives launched by contributors to the session. David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary, CBD, emphasized that the objectives of the three Rio Conventions and the 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved without addressing food and agriculture. Observing that reports from the CBD, IPCC and FAO tell us what needs to be done at the global level, he said the challenge for policy leaders is deciding how to do it. He proposed bottom up implementation in order to protect the rights of people on the ground, and to tap into the creativity of farmers and consumers.

Irene Hoffmann, FAO, discussed the relevance of recent work of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, including action plans, indicators that feed into the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs, and guidelines on climate change and nutrition. She noted that the first draft of the report ‘State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture’ will be presented in January 2017, and will include new information on wild foods.

Cristina Tirado, IUNS, discussed linkages between biodiversity, food and agricultural systems, nutrition and health. She pointed out that six of the top 11 risk factors driving the global burden of disease are related to diet, and most of these are linked to food systems that promote monoculture and diets rich in energy but poor in nutrients. She discussed the environmental impacts of meat production and linkages with non-communicable diseases. She also noted a push for global dietary indicators for the SDGs.

Salman Hussain, UNEP, highlighted the ‘TEEB for Agriculture & Food’ (TEEBAgriFood) study, which brings together stakeholders in order to undertake a broad range of economic evaluation of agricultural systems, practices, products, or policy scenarios against a comprehensive range of impacts and dependencies across the value chain. He noted the need for discourse on health and on the impact of producing food, as part of this analysis.

Balakrishna Pisuspati, UNEP, reflected on integrating food, health, and nutrition at the local level in the context of sustainable development. He emphasized that a critical element is minimizing pressure on all systems so that the delivery of food at the local level is more resilient. He added that when discussing food, health, and nutrition, it is important to consider the socioeconomic context influencing behavior on the ground, otherwise, promoting health and food security will be a challenge.

In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed transformational changes, noting they need to go beyond sectors and disciplines; the need to build on experiences and failures observed in high diversity production systems; and the power of social institutions when considering how to prevent nutritional problems. On a question on how to change mindsets related to consumption patterns, Balakrishna noted the need for not only scientific evidence but also knowledge and lessons from local communities.

Responding to a question on the coherence of climate change and biodiversity-related policies, Hoffmann underscored that the tradeoff is difficult, noting that the type of foods eaten impacts differently on biodiversity and GHG emissions.


This was the second theme addressed by the RCP on Saturday, 10 December. This segment focused on exploring the links between ecosystem degradation and human and wildlife health, including risk factors, planning approaches and preventive measures, and identifying priorities for knowledge products that can be developed under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, Aichi Target 14 and the 2030 Development Agenda.

The event was organized by EcoHealth Alliance, CBD, Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observations Network (GEO BON), Future Earth, World Health Organization (WHO), IUCN, and Concordia University.

Cristina Romanelli, CBD, and Daniel Hougendobler, WHO, jointly moderated this session. In his introductory remarks, Hougendobler drew attention to the CBD and WHO report ‘Connecting Global Priorities, Biodiversity and Human Health, Summary of the State of Knowledge Review’ and noted how land use changes, particularly deforestation, can lead to the spread of communicable diseases such as malaria in some circumstances. Cristina Romanelli emphasized linkages with themes discussed in the previous session and the need for integrative approaches such as One Health.

Laetitia Navarro, Executive Director, GEO BON, discussed knowledge gaps in biodiversity monitoring, such as the lack of data points in developing countries where biodiversity changes are expected to occur most, absence of reliable data prior to the 1980s, and incomplete information on invertebrate and plant species. She explained the evolution of GEO BON and its core focus on: developing a standard and flexible framework for biodiversity observations, including the development of essential biodiversity variables (EBVs); support for the development of national and thematic BONs; and producing policy-relevant outputs. She stressed the need for solid information on species and their ecosystems in order to produce useful projections on disease vector distribution.

Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio, EcoHealth Alliance/IUCN, discussed tools and initiatives for assessing ecosystem health, noting that land use changes, such as deforestation, are the most important drivers of infectious diseases. On the role of forests, he explained that the prevalence of diseases such as malaria could be attributed to deforestation. He drew attention to the Red List of Ecosystems, developed with IUCN, aimed at assessing the status of global ecosystems.

Peter Stoett, Concordia University, Canada, dicussed global governance of invasive species, highlighting the impact of invasive alien species, pathogens, illegal and legal wildlife trade, tourism, plastic pollution and the impact of conflicts on wildlife, ecosystems and human health. He demonstrated how the pine beetle, an invasive species, is destroying forests in British Columbia and Washington State, which is consequently increasing carbon emissions and forest fires, leading to elevated emissions of volatile compounds, which contributes to smog and exacerbates cardiovascular problems. He also underscored the growing problem of pathogens attached to plastic debris in the oceans and impacts on human and wildlife. On solutions, he stressed, inter alia, monitoring, encouraging citizen science and improving border controls, in a cross-sectoral and cross-border effort.

Catherine Machalaba, EcoHealth Alliance, Future Earth and IUCN Species Survival Commission, underscored the need to work with all relevant sectors when addressing synergies between biodiversity, climate and health. Amongst other things, she recommended engaging the private sector through the Livestock Global Alliance, which is committed to safer, fairer and more sustainable livestock production.


This theme was addressed on Monday, 12 December, and the session provided a forum to discuss the status of implementation of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 (PAs) and national “roadmaps” of priority actions; how implementing the roadmaps will contribute to achieving the Target; other Aichi Biodiversity Targets, various SDGs Targets and, to adaptation and mitigation; and how helping countries in implementing their roadmap will help achieve these multiple benefits at the local, national and global level.

The EU, UNDP, Japan Biodiversity Fund, UNEP-WCMC, Governments of Germany (BMZ/GIZ) Republic of Korea, India, Mexico, Brazil, GEF, Birdlife International, Institut de la Francophonie pour le Développement Durable (IFDD), IUCN, REDPARQUES and SPREP were co-organizers of the day.

OPENING SESSION: Sarat Babu Gidda, CBD, summarized work on Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, including preparation of “country dossiers” providing data, identifying gaps, and convening regional capacity building workshops to help over 100 countries prepare roadmaps of priority actions. Going forward, he stressed the need for working on aligning efforts and funding to implement the roadmaps, and building support networks.

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, observed that several countries have recently enacted legislation recognizing new PA governance modalities, opening up collaboration opportunities for IPLCs and the private sector.

Stefan Leiner, European Commission, explained how the EU is supporting the work on PAs in three ways: within the EU through Natura 2000, the world’s largest PA network; development cooperation at national and regional levels; and support to the CBD Secretariat, including facilitation of regional capacity building workshops.

Matthias Krause, BMZ, Germany, commended efforts towards improving PAs management, but said that challenges remain on achieving the qualitative aspects of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11.

Neville Ash, UNEP-WCMC, highlighted the World Database on PAs (WDPA) as the most comprehensive global data set on PAs, stressing that surpassing a percentage of areas covered by PAs target is not enough, and that more is needed for effective quality management.

Highlighting PA benefits, Jamison Ervin, UNDP, said PAs are one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of achieving the SDGs.

Trevor Sandwith, IUCN, commended work on global targets and on the ground, where “conservation happens, biodiversity is conserved, and communities benefit.” He noted IUCN’s focus on the park, people and planet nexus, and the CBD COPs’ recognition of IUCN’s Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. He called for further work on the rights-based approach, including the equitable distribution of costs and benefits, and on enhancing institutional and human capacities involved in PAs management and governance.

ASIA AND PACIFIC REGION: Ignacio March, CONANP, Mexico, moderated the session. Vinod Mathur, India, presented on partnerships that aim at improving natural wealth for achieving global targets and for addressing global challenges. He explained that 20% of his country’s terrestrial area is designated PAs and that improving governance is now an area of focus. He noted a move away from a PA centric approach to a landscape focused strategy, with eco-sensitive zones being designated beyond PA buffer zones to regulate activities that could impact on the PAs.

Eleni Tokaduadua, Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development and Environment, Fiji, discussed her country’s status and roadmap for achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. She noted that more than 80% of land and sea territory is collectively owned and that by 2020, at least 16% of all land area will be under PA status. She added that the aim is to bring 30% of inshore and offshore marine areas under PA status by 2020. On the roadmap, she noted the need for work on: delineating Fiji’s territorial waters and reviewing the status of ecological or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs); community awareness and empowerment through partnerships; sustainable financing mechanisms for PA systems in Fiji; and endorsing and adopting PA maps for priority action.

Stuart Chape, SPREP, discussed support for Pacific Island countries to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, emphasizing that the region has one of highest rates of species loss and that native forest cover disappears at a rate of 4% per annum. He highlighted the Framework for Nature Conservation and PAs 2014-2020. The Framework provides guidance for the region on key priorities for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management with clear linkages to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and NBSAPs. He explained that SPREP was involved in Biodiversity and PA Management Programme (BIOPAMA), in partnership with IUCN, and noted work in Papua New Guinea with partners on reviewing the current status of PAs in the country.

Roberto Oliva, Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre for Biodiversity, discussed how the ASEAN Heritage Parks Programme (AHPP) has helped ASEAN member States protect 14% of terrestrial and 2.3% of coastal and marine areas under 38 ASEAN Heritage Parks. He said AHPP developed a regional action plan in 2016 outlining priority implementing actions for achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. He said the ASEAN countries should be able to achieve the terrestrial and marine targets by 2020.

AFRICAN REGION: Claudio Maretti, IUCN-WCPA, moderated this session. Thanduxolo Joel Mkefe, Department of Environment Affairs, South Africa, reported milestones in his country’s work on PAs. He said that when taking into account formal forms of protection, combined with conservation areas, South Africa exceeded the terrestrial target in 2016, and noted that plans to create 22 new MPAs should allow it to meet the marine target. He also discussed the six existing transfrontier parks in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and plans for new ones.

 Aggrey Rwetsiba, Uganda Wildlife Authority, presented his country’s PAs coverage by categories and threatened species according to IUCN’s Red List categories. He discussed the status of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 implementation in the country, identifying the need for mapping wetlands and water resources, forests, private and community conserved areas, and ecological zones. Underscoring potential corridors, he noted the need for landscape planning and management, and policy harmonization and transboundary collaboration. On species management, Rwetsiba underscored efforts to reintroduce rhinos in the country.

Emphasizing that BMZ’s financial contribution to biodiversity conservation worldwide has more than quadrupled since 2007, with half of it going to PAs, Matthias Krause, BMZ, Germany, outlined support for Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 in Africa. On sustainable financing, he underscored the establishment of biodiversity trust funds to provide funding streams for maintaining and managing PAs. Emphasizing equity, he advocated stakeholder co-management to increase benefits from and ownership of the PAs. On connectivity, he discussed the use of PAs in corridors and PAs embedded in the wider landscape, where investments can be centered in order to deliver services to the whole landscape, citing support to biosphere reserves as an example. He also highlighted World Heritage Sites in Tanzania and transfrontier conservation areas such as the Kavango-Zambesi.

Issa Bado, IFDD, highlighted challenges for PA partnerships in the region including language barriers, lack of information and issues around managing transfrontier PAs, in Central and Western Africa. He explained that his organization is focusing on data collection and land restoration.

In the ensuing discussion participants addressed: oil drilling and exploration in PAs; translocation of wildlife; and integrated approaches to community-based conservation

LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN REGION: Jamison Ervin, UNDP, moderated the session. Ignacio March, CONANP, Mexico, explained that PAs now cover 15.9% of Mexico’s terrestrial territory, but that reaching the remaining 2% for achieving Target 11 will be challenging. He said that with the recent establishment of new MPAs, Mexico currently has 22% of marine surface area under protection and noted 57% of PAs have undergone effectiveness assessment. He identified challenges regarding the adoption of advisory councils for all MPAs, PA connectivity and integrated management of landscapes.

Ugo Vercillo, Chico Mendes Institute, Brazil, outlined milestones in developing PA law and policy in Brazil, resulting in 1.54 million square kilometers of PA coverage, accounting for 17.5% of national terrestrial territory, with 27% of the Amazon protected, but only 1.5% coverage of marine territory. On future challenges, he identified creating new PAs for unrepresented areas, harmonizing measures and integrating planning for different ecosystems, and improving PA effectiveness.

Claudio Maretti, IUCN-WCPA presented on REDPARQUES, the Latin-American network of national authorities of PA systems, and the (Pan) Amazon (Conservation) Vision (2011-2020), aimed at the effective administration and management of PAs and Amazon integrity, functionality and resilience. Noting the Amazon is considered the most important watershed on the continent and is the largest freshwater ecosystem, he highlighted its role in climate mitigation and adaptation, and agriculture, including for IPLCs and non-indigenous people.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed the integration of PAs into national government plans, including nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and the need to align PAs activities through periodic regional strategic management planning.

EUROPEAN REGION: Roberto Oliva moderated the session. Marie Thérèse Gambin, Environment and Planning Authority, Malta, reported on the status and roadmap for achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, explaining that 22% of Malta’s land and 30% of Malta’s seas falls under PAs, exceeding the target. On terrestrial management, she cited the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) project aimed at establishing plans and legal provisions for the management of all terrestrial Natura 2000 sites in Malta and increasing awareness of the Natura 2000 network. On the roadmap, she said that Malta is on track, but that ecological representation has to be improved for marine habitats. She added that a monitoring plan is in place for the marine environment.

Klodiana Marika, Ministry of Environment, Albania, said Albania has close to 17% of total surface area and 25% of marine and coastal areas covered by traditional PAs, doubling coverage since 2005. She also highlighted Albania’s Ramsar sites, Important Bird Areas (IBAs), and “areas of special conservation interest” equivalent to the EU Natura 2000 sites. She mentioned projects to develop management plans for all Pas, as well as to establish a PA monitoring programme.

Grégoire Dubois, EU Joint Research Centre (JRC), presented on the JRC’s Digital Observatory for PAs (DOPA) aimed at providing free, accessible, comparable indicators, disaggregated by country, ecoregion and site levels. He also highlighted the BIOPAMA helping 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries collect and manage similar data, along with capacity building activities to train ACP officials in how to effectively use the collected data.

PRESENTATIONS BY OTHER PARTNERS: Jamison Ervin, UNDP, moderated the session. Pepe Clarke, BirdLife International, underscored work on, inter alia, the identification of IBAs; and establishment of the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), a partnership to inform international policy and national progress in PAs. Clarke underscored the role of local conservation group in efforts to monitor and survey local bird sites, and noted the organization’s contribution to the World Database of KBAs and the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool.

Naomi Kingston, UNEP/WCMC, presented the Protected Planet, an online platform on terrestrial and marine PAs, in partnership with UNEP and IUCN. She said it builds on data from national, regional and international partners, as well as from World Heritage and Ramsar sites. Kingston highlighted the ICCA Registry website, an online information platform, where communities themselves provide information and data, producing statistics and analyses on ICCAs around the world.

 Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, ICCA Consortium, explained that the Consortium represents IPLCs from about 75 countries. She detailed how the Consortium’s members work with local communities at the national level to advocate for appropriate legislation and policies, and at the international level to enhance ICCA contributions to issues of concern such as conservation.

Mark Zimsky, GEF, noted that the GEF remains the largest single funding mechanism for PAs worldwide, with about 1,300 projects in more than 155 countries. On lessons learned, he identified focusing on investments to create strong PA systems and identifying sustainable finance mechanisms for PAs.

Trevor Sandwith, IUCN, recalled that the Sydney World Park Congress celebrated PAs around the world and their relevance to the sustainability of the planet. He stressed the importance of international standards for successful PAs, drawing attention to the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas. Highlighting capacity building, management effectiveness and good governance, he presented the Global Register of Competencies for PAs Practitioners.


The RCP addressed this theme on Tuesday, 13 December.. The session provided a forum to showcase planning and implementation measures and their coordination to reduce forest habitat loss, deforestation and forest degradation.

The event was organized by the CBD, UNCCD, CIFOR, International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), IUFRO, IUCN, FAO, and GEF. GPFLR, Government of Mexico  KERI and Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) were partners.

OPENING: Catalina Santamaria, CBD, moderated the session. Rafael León Negrete, CONAFOR, Mexico, stressed the importance of articulated visions that integrate landscape use, restoration and management. He noted the importance of synergies between forest and agriculture, livestock and fisheries activities, showcasing Mexico’s strategies and monitoring systems. On governance, he highlighted community forestry.

Eva Müller, FAO, noted increasing recognition of the need to intensify work on forest restoration, drawing attention to the ‘Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015,’ that demonstrates that the rate of net global deforestation has slowed down while degradation is increasing.

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, speaking on behalf of the Rio Conventions Joint Liaison Group (JLG), stressed the need for enhancing integration at country level on NDCs, National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and NBSAPs. He underscored that the CBD COP should adopt a decision on the role of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests on forest restoration. He announced the launch of the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI) website ( supported by KERI.

THE GLOBAL RESTORATION MOVEMENT – METHODOLOGIES USED AND THE WAY FORWARD: Ulrich Apel, GEF, moderated the session. Jim Hallett, SER, noted SER’s recent publication of international standards on ecosystem restoration. He suggested that good restoration projects set clear management objectives and indicators that are easy to understand, measure and assess, and provide for proper monitoring. He drew attention to the recent enactment of legislation in São Paulo State, Brazil, on mandatory restoration, as an example of these principles in practice. 

Bernardo Strassburg, International Institute for Sustainability, Brazil, discussed optimization of large-scale ecosystem restoration through spatial prioritization using a linear programming algorithm. He provided the Atlantic Rainforest, a global biodiversity hotspot in Brazil, as an example. He said the model produced hundreds of geospatial maps showing different benefit combinations, and demonstrated that using spatial prioritization approaches can reduce costs by one-fourth, while producing 90% of the desired results.

Mirjam Kuzee, IUCN, provided an overview of Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM), explaining that it identifies and helps prioritize forest landscape restoration (FLR) opportunities and is a stepwise, iterative, flexible process. She said ROAM considers: whether restoration is socially and economically feasible; the extent of restoration opportunities in the country/region; and financial and policy incentives. Kuzee noted that ROAM is used for scaling up, is country-driven, and has been applied in 28 countries.

The ensuing discussion focused on: compliance; whether countries can use ROAM without implementation assistance; engaging stakeholders; and parameters for demarcating landscapes for restoration. Kuzee explained that countries have voluntary commitments under the CBD and the Bonn Challenge, and that they make their own decisions regarding demarcation.

COUNTRY EXPERIENCES: Michael Kleine, IUFRO, moderated the session. Agena Anjulo Tanga, Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute, presented on building productive forest landscapes to contribute to improved livelihoods, energy supply, and income for rural people in Ethiopia. Tanga recalled that in 2014, his country pledged to rehabilitate 15 million hectares of degraded lands and seven million hectares of natural forests to productive use by 2025 at part of the Bonn Challenge. Highlighting problems, he noted identifying and demarcating forest lands that have been converted to agricultural use; and barriers to large scale implementation such as institutional challenges and lack of government support for tree planting farmers’ initiatives.

Marcial Amaro, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines, presented his country’s National Greening Programme focusing on mainstreaming the landscape approach in land restoration. Highlighting annual forest losses of up to 47,000 hectares, he pointed to his country’s success in achieving the objective of planting 1.5 million hectares by 2016. Citing technologies used in modern forestry operations, he also highlighted problems encountered, including a lack of knowledge on landscape restoration science; inadequate forest extension service; lack of capacity-building efforts for farmers; and absence of market support services.

Ariuntuya Dorjsuren, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Mongolia, described Mongolia’s policies for achieving sustainable forest management. Pointing to Mongolia’s vulnerability to climate change and desertification, with 78% of total territory classified as desert, she stressed the need for further focus on sustainable water and forest nexus management.

Beatriz Cardona, National Forestry Institute, Guatemala, discussed the development of Guatemala’s National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy 2015-2045, from the country’s Bonn Challenge commitment to restore 1.2 million hectares by 2045, to the implementation phase currently underway. She explained the Strategy focuses on six areas: economic development; livelihoods and biodiversity; capacity building; territorial governance; knowledge management; and financing.

Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Environment Ministry, Brazil, described his country’s national policy for native vegetation recovery, which seeks to recover many forms of native vegetation, not just forests, on at least 12.5 million hectares within 20 years, in fulfillment of Brazil’s NDC and Bonn Challenge pledge. He explained the policy features eight strategies on: awareness; policy and access to seeds and seedlings; markets; institutions; finance; rural extension; spatial planning and monitoring; and research and development. He stressed the importance of public consultations, coordination between ministries, prioritization based on cost-effectiveness, and use of state-of-the-art science.

Janne S. Kotiaho, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, presented the natural restoration prioritization plan to meet Finland’s commitment to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Target to restore 15% of degraded areas. He outlined how a working group created by the government empirically defined the plan parameters, determined the current state of ecosystems, calculated the cost-effectiveness of restoration measures, and prioritized restoration measures by ecosystem type and degree of cost-effectiveness.

In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed multi-stakeholders involvement in forest landscape restoration. Tanga noted involvement of stakeholders at the district and local level to set degradation criteria and species to be used, while research institutes and ministries are preparing projects and funding proposals. Amaro stressed insuring private sector responsibility. Dorjsuren noted involving the private sector through incentives such as land use licenses when planting trees, and green loan funds. Cardona underscored proposing productive alternatives to communities, such as payments for tree planting, and the importance of building capacity in communities. Scaramuzza cautioned against creating an extra burden on established forest restoration initiatives, and stressed promoting institutional coherence and synergies and projects convergence. Kotiaho proposed involving all stakeholders in the planning phase of the project, but not in the science component, in order to avoid political compromises on degradation levels. Guariguata, highlighted dedicated stakeholders platforms, and the need for dialogue between sectors, commending the Philippines use of public access databases. 

MONITORING THE IMPACTS OF RESTORATION: Lars Laestadius, Laestadius Consulting LLC, moderated the session. Highlighting the Bonn Challenge, he noted that countries are stepping up with commitments but that questions remain on: whether these commitments lead to real action on the ground; how to monitor them; criteria for determining when an area has “graduated” in terms of restoration; agreement on what constitutes FLR; and who collects data and how. He highlighted the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGW) and explained that restoration needs and opportunities have been mapped and quantified with the aim of achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Target of 15% restoration by 2020.

On participatory monitoring, Manuel Guariguata, CIFOR, pointed to the challenge of reaching middle ground between top-down and bottom-up approaches, by connecting global monitoring needs and capacities with local ones. He emphasized the need for disaggregated monitoring and highlighted the review ‘Success from the Ground Up: Participatory Monitoring and Forest Restoration,’ which found, inter alia, that to reach middle ground, a small number of indicators should be used, and that local people with appropriate training can reliably collect data.

Eva Müller highlighted the FLR monitoring roadmap finalized in April 2016 and FAO’s online tools for FLR reporting. She stressed the need to help countries develop and use low-cost methodologies that do not require external donor support. She also called for moving towards a commonly accepted set of definitions and indicators for FLR monitoring.

Robin Chazdon, WRI, said FLR indicators are needed that can: be applied at multiple spatial scales; be monitored over long periods; assess the state of degraded ecosystems; assess the provision of basic ecosystem services; and evaluate the effect of interventions on endangered or threatened species, local livelihoods, food security, and resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Al Unwin, SER, stressed the importance of monitoring the ecological restoration process. He urged the FLR community to build a strong business case for robust monitoring, articulating how returns on restoration investments over time can only be determined with effective monitoring.

Janne Kotiaho questioned the need to monitor all programmes and projects, suggesting that a few well-designed, replicable monitoring programmes covering a limited set of indicators might suffice. He noted that IPBES currently is working on common definitions on degradation.

Mirjam Kuzee proposed that monitoring should focus less on biophysical aspects and more on socioeconomic indicators relating to degradation drivers. She highlighted IUCN’s development of the Bonn Challenge Barometer to track country commitment implementation through to 2030.

Manuel Guariguata said local monitoring does not necessarily mean low-tech, and high-tech methods can be used as long as local users are trained to use them.

In the ensuing discussion participants discussed how to insure project continuity in situations where monitoring uncovers negative outcomes. One participant observed that “failures” often provide more information than successes and the issue is how this failure is communicated. The need for harmonization and coordination on restoration and REDD+ monitoring was also discussed. Local community involvement in carbon market measurement and accounting was also discussed.

PARTNERSHIP SUPPORT TO ADVANCE NATIONAL RESTORATION PLANS AND FACILITATE IMPLEMENTATION MEASURES: Peter Besseau, Canada, Chair of GPFLR and UNFF 12, moderated the session. Eva Müller noted that partnerships are important but that coordination is equally important, noting the multiple commitments and initiatives on landscape restoration.

Highlighting the link between mainstreaming and partnerships, Catalina Santamaria, CBD, noted the importance of integrating different stakeholders’ perspectives and added that the CBD brings the voice of IPLCs to the CPF.

Evert Thomas, Bioversity International, highlighted the use of outcome mapping to identify and select partners according to objectives.

Bethanie Walder, SER, observed that her organization is partnering on education, publishing, capacity building and provision of expert feedback on restoration.

Manuel Guariguata, highlighted collaboration with IUCN on the restoration agenda and activities in the context of the Bonn Challenge Barometer. He further discussed restoration work with ICRAF in Amazonia, on the forest farm interface, aimed at removing policy and regulatory bottlenecks.

Cordula Epple, UNEP-WCMC, discussed activities related to the UN-REDD programme, including the development of social and environmental safeguards, and work with national governments to bring stakeholders together as well as on a collaborative mapping approach. 

Steve Johnson, ITTO, explained that ITTO adopted guidelines for restoration of degraded tropical forests 13 years ago and that 30 projects had been implemented. He noted that now the projects were implemented by IPLCs and that support includes species selection and nursery establishment.

Michael Kleine said IUFRO represents national research organizations and has a mandate to contribute to scientific knowledge and to policy, as well as to land and forest management and conservation work.

Mirjam Kuzee said IUCN mostly works through its members and often hears calls for two things: building in-country capacity, and help to coordinate responses to diverse initiatives and platforms.

Ulrich Apel noted many CPF members are GEF implementing agencies so it works to promote synergies. He expressed hope that the GEF-7 replenishment cycle would create a funding window for FLR.

The ensuing discussion addressed how individual researchers could become involved in the work of some of the organizations, and how to foster monitoring at local and other sub-national levels.

Participants then addressed the role of the private sector as innovators to address land degradation neutrality; and engaging with agricultural, agroforestry and other sectors.

Eva Müller presented a joint CPF Message on ‘Fostering Partnerships to Build Coherence and Support for Forest Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration.’ The Message renews the commitment of the 14 CPF agencies to the global restoration agenda through integrating policy advocacy, research, technical and financial assistance in its 2017-2020 workplan.


This was one of two RCP themes considered on Wednesday, 14 December and provided a forum to highlight synergies between gender equality, social inclusion and environmental sustainability and share research findings and experiences on local initiatives. 

This session was organized by the  CBD Secretariat, engaging partners including CIFOR; Conservation International; GEF; the Governments of Canada, Botswana and Mexico; Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network (IWBN); IUCN; TRAFFIC, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Vandana Shiva, WorldFish, and WRI.

OPENING: Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, gave an overview of the context for participatory, inclusive and equitable approach to environmental sustainability, 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, Environment and Climate Change, Canada, observed that promoting gender mainstreaming and inclusion abroad starts with core values espoused and practiced at home. She gave an overview of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality and social inclusion, 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 disaggregated 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-community conflict resolution. She concluded by stressing access to information and freedom of association and assembly, noting that the situation of many indigenous peoples’ organizations 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; results-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.

Ana Cecilia Conde Álvarez, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, 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%, while incorporating gender and human rights considerations.

Jobe Manga, Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Botswana, presented 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 that 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 rights-based approach, 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.

Mónica Morales, Conservation International (CI), said CI focuses 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 further discussed impact assessments, the establishment of gender regional focal points, 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 IUCN’s work on developing national climate change gender action plans, called ccGAPs. She outlined the steps for conducting a ccGAPs including taking stock; establishing a level playing field; capturing diverse voices, including through consultations; and prioritizing actions, to ensure ccGAPs 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 discussed the benefits arising from gender integration, the challenges, and necessary technical support in small groups.


The event was organized by the CBD Secretariat, Planetary Health Alliance, and Loyola Sustainability Research Centre. to build on discussions under the theme of Biodiversity and Human Health. The Rockefeller Foundation - Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, UNEP, EcoHealth Alliance, Future Earth, GEO BON, IUCN, WCPA, UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU IIGH), Bioversity International, Community Health Initiative, and WHO were partners.

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, via video link, 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 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 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.

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 and Harvard School of Public Health, 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 micronutrients production and that micronutrients intake changes when pollinators decline. Using 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 formulate 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 titled 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,’ initiative 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 co-facilitated by CBD, Bioversity International and Planetary Health Alliance was then 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.

CLOSING: The RCP closed at 6:00pm.


UNFF Working Group and Special Session: The back-to-back meetings of the UNFF Working Group and Special Session are expected to negotiate and endorse the Strategic Plan for 2017-2030 and the 4-year Programme of Work (4POW) for 2017-2020, based on recommendations submitted by the UNFF Ad Hoc Expert Group.  dates: 16-20 January 2017  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UNFF Secretariat  phone: +1-212-963-3401  fax: +1-917-367-3186  email: www:

2017 Global Forum for Food and Agriculture: Organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany, this Forum focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry. The 2017 theme is ‘Agriculture and Water: Key to Feeding the World.’  dates: 19-21 January 2017  location: Berlin, Germany  contact: GFFA Secretariat  email: www:

CGRFA 16: The sixteenth regular session of FAO’s 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: 30 January - 3 February 2017  location: Rome, Italy  contact: CGRFA Secretariat  phone: +39 06 5705 4981  fax: +39 06 5705 5246  e-mail: www:

IPBES 5 and Stakeholder meeting: The fifth session of the IPBES Plenary will immediately be preceded by regional consultations and stakeholder day on 6 March 2017.  dates: 6-10 March 2017  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: IPBES Secretariat  phone: +49 (0) 228 815 0570  email: www:

5th Mediterranean Forest Week: This meeting aims to strengthen exchanges and synergies between global stakeholders in the restoration of Mediterranean forests and landscapes, to help achieve SDG 15 (Life on Land) and other globally agreed targets related to forest restoration, and facilitate the adaptation of Mediterranean forest landscapes to climate change.  dates: 20-24 March 2017  location: Agadir, Morocco  contact: International Association for Mediterranean Forests  phone: +33-491-90-7670  email: www:

Preparatory Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument on Marine Biodiversity in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ): The PrepCom will continue discussions on the elements of a draft text of an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national.  dates: 27 March – 7 April 2017  location: UN Headquarters, New York, US  contact: UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea Secretariat  phone: +1-212-963-3962  email: www:

XIX Commonwealth Forestry Conference: Organized by India’s Forest Research Institute and the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, with support from the Indian Government and the Commonwealth Forestry Association, the conference will convene under the theme of ‘Forests for Prosperity and Posterity.’ dates: 3-7 April 2017  location: Dehradun, India  contact: Dr. Savita, Chief Coordinator  email:  phone: +91-135-275-5277  fax: +91-135-275-6865  www:

International Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon: This workshop is co-organized by FAO, the Global Soil Partnership, UNCCD and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  dates: 21-23 March 2017  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Ronald Vargas, Global Soils Partnership  email: www:

Inaugural Planetary Health/Geohealth Annual Meeting: Organized by the Planetary Health Alliance, American Geophysical Union, Ecological Society of America and The Lancet, this meeting aims to bring together investigators, policy makers and other interested parties to discuss the human health impacts of global environmental change.  dates: 10-11 April 2017  location: Washington, DC, USA  email: www:

International Conference on Sustainable Mangrove Ecosystems: Organized jointly by ITTO, the International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and CIFOR, and sponsored by the governments of Japan and the US, this conference will discuss policies and best practices in the restoration, conservation, management and sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems towards achieving sustainable forest management in the context of the 2030 Agenda.  dates: 18-21 April 2017  location: Bali, Indonesia  contact: Ma Hwan-ok, ITTO Secretariat  email:  phone: +81-45- 223-1110  fax: +81-45-223-1111  www:

16th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII): The 16th session will follow up on the recommendations of previous PFII sessions with regard to indigenous youth, and the empowerment of indigenous women, and will discuss measures taken to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).  dates: 24 April - 5 May 2017  location: New York City, US  contact: PFII Secretariat   e-mail: www:

UNFF 12: This meeting is expected to discuss and approve, inter alia, the Strategic Plan for 2017-2030 and four-year Programme of Work (4POW) for 2017-2020.  dates: 1-5 May 2017  location: UN Headquarters, New York, US  contact: UNFF Secretariat  phone: +1-212-963-3401  fax: +1-917-367-3186  email: www:

46th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies: The 46th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) under the UNFCCC will convene during the first sessional period of 2017.  dates: 8-18 May 2017  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  e-mail: www:

52nd Meeting of the GEF Council: This meeting will be preceded, on 22 May 2017, by a consultation with civil society organizations at the same location. On 25 May 2017, the Council will convene as the 22nd meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), also at the same location.  dates: 23-25 May 2017  location: Washington, DC, US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240  e-mail: www:

UNCCD COP13, CRIC 16 and CST13: UNCCD COP 13 is set to decide on the Strategic Framework that will guide action under the Convention from 2018-2030. A High Level Segment will be held 11-12 September. The sixteenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 16) and the thirteenth session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST 13) will also be held.  dates: 4-15 September 2017  location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China  contact: CCD Secretariat  email:  phone: +49-228/815-2800  fax: +49-228/815-2898  www:

IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress: Under the theme ‘Interconnecting Forests, Science and People,’ this IUFRO Congress will celebrate IUFRO’s past achievements and highlight its ongoing role in providing a basis for political decisions involving forests, through sessions on the role of forests in, inter alia: improving people’s livelihoods and quality of life, sequestering carbon and building resilience to climate change, addressing biodiversity loss and biological invasions, and enhancing the provision of freshwater.  dates: 19-22 September 2017  location: Freiburg, Germany  contact: Konstantin von Teuffel, Congress Organization Chair  email: www:

UNFCCC COP 23: The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to UNFCCC will be organized by Fiji and hosted at the headquarters of the UNFCCC secretariat in Bonn, Germany.  dates: 6-17 November 2017  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat   phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  e-mail: www:

For additional meetings, see