As the UN Biodiversity Conference approached its mid-way point, a stocktaking plenary acknowledged considerable progress made. Delegates reached common ground on a number of agenda items and, as a result, plenary adopted a series of decisions on issues related to the Convention, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing.
Plenary statements gave a good reflection of the state of play. It is clear that efforts of the next half of the Conference will continue to concentrate on finalizing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF). At the same time, a successful outcome will require significant commitments regarding resource mobilization, means of implementation, and benefit-sharing from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources.
Striking a balance between ambition and pragmatism, as COP 15 President Huang Runqiu put it, will be key in reaching consensus. In the lead-up to the high-level segment, there were clear calls to negotiators to do their best to make progress on all fronts. On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, many underscored that equity and solidarity need to guide negotiations to ensure a just and effective implementation of any commitment.
Throughout the day, Working Group II resumed its deliberations. A plethora of contact and Friends of the Chair groups continued their work, focusing on items that had not been resolved by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI).
While many talked about a much-needed break with no negotiation sessions scheduled for Sunday, a number of groups will meet on Monday in order to advance negotiations, before officially resuming for the homestretch on Tuesday.