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22nd Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 22) and 2nd Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 2) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The 22nd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 22) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convenes Monday morning in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and will continue through Saturday, 7 July 2018. This meeting will be followed by the second meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 2) from 9-13 July 2018.

Expectations for these Meetings

SBSTTA 22 and SBI 2 are expected to prepare recommendations for consideration by the CBD Conference of the Parties at its fourteenth meeting (COP 14), as well as by the Conference of the Parties serving as the third Meeting of the Parties (COP-MOP 3) to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) and the ninth Meeting of the Parties (COP-MOP 9) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, convening in November 2018.

SBSTTA 22 has a lengthy agenda, including:

  • digital sequence information on genetic resources;
  • risk assessment and risk management of living modified organisms (LMOs);
  • synthetic biology;
  • updated scientific assessments of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in particular targets on which the least progress has been made;
  • protected areas and other measures for enhanced conservation and management;
  • marine and coastal biodiversity, including: ecologically or biologically significant marine areas; anthropogenic underwater noise and marine debris; biodiversity in cold water areas; and marine spatial planning;
  • ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction;
  • invasive alien species;
  • conservation and sustainable use of pollinators; and
  • the second work programme of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

SBI 2 is expected to discuss:

  • progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020;
  • assessment and review of the effectiveness of the Nagoya Protocol;
  • mainstreaming of biodiversity within and across sectors and other strategic actions to enhance implementation;
  • the need for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol;
  • specialized international ABS instruments under the Nagoya Protocol;
  • resource mobilization;
  • the financial mechanism;
  • capacity building, technical and scientific cooperation, and technology transfer;
  • cooperation with other conventions, international organizations, and initiatives;
  • mechanisms for review of implementation;
  • national reporting, and assessment and review, under the Convention and its Protocols;
  • enhancing integration under the Convention and its Protocols with respect to ABS, biosafety, and Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and related provisions;
  • preparation for the follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020; and
  • the trust fund for facilitating participation of the parties in the Convention process.

Origins of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992 and opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”). The CBD 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.

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

The COP is the governing body of the Convention. It is assisted by SBSTTA, which is mandated, under CBD Article 25, to provide the COP with timely scientific, technical, and technological advice relating to the Convention’s implementation. SBI, established by COP 12, supports the COP in reviewing and enhancing implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.

Key Turning Points

COP 1: At its first meeting (November - December 1994, Nassau, the Bahamas), the COP set the general framework for the Convention’s implementation, by establishing the Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) and the SBSTTA, and by designating the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim financial mechanism.

EXCOP: Following six meetings of the Biosafety Working Group tasked with drafting a protocol on biotechnology safety between 1996 and 1999, delegates at the first Extraordinary Meeting of the COP (ExCOP) (February 1999, Cartagena, Colombia) did not agree on a compromise package to finalize the negotiations and the meeting was suspended. The resumed ExCOP (January 2000, Montreal, Canada) adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Protocol addresses the safe transfer, handling, and use of LMOs that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, taking into account human health, with a specific focus on transboundary movements.

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

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

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

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

COP 13: The thirteenth meeting of the COP (December 2016, Cancún, Mexico) was held concurrently with Biosafety Protocol COP-MOP 8 and Nagoya Protocol COP-MOP 2. The meeting considered, inter alia: issues related to operations of the Convention, including integration among the Convention and its Protocols; progress towards implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Targets, and related means of implementation; strategic actions to enhance the implementation of the Strategic Plan and achievement of the Aichi Targets, including with respect to mainstreaming biodiversity within and across sectors, particularly in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and forestry; and biodiversity and human health interlinkages. It also launched consideration of a series of items on emerging technologies, including synthetic biology, gene drives, and digital sequence information on genetic resources.

Intersessional Highlights

SBSTTA 21: SBSTTA 21 convened in Montreal, Canada, from 11-14 December 2017. SBSTTA 21 adopted seven recomendations on: scenarios for the 2050 vision for biodiversity and links between the Aichi Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); guidance for achieving a more sustainable wild meat sector; biodiversity and human health; biodiversity mainstreaming in the energy, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing, and processing industries, and in the health sector; tools for evaluating the effectiveness of policy instruments for the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity; the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO 5); and new and emerging issues.

Working Group on Article 8(j): The tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions convened in Montreal, Canada, from 13-16 December. It adopted six recommendations on: voluntary guidelines for the repatriation of traditional knowledge relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; glossary of relevant key terms and concepts to be used within the context of Article 8(j) and related provisions; future work for integrating Article 8(j) into the work of the CBD; resource mobilization; UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) recommendations; and future in-depth dialogues.

IPBES-6: The sixth session of the IPBES Plenary was held from 18-23 March 2018 in Medellín, Colombia. IPBES-6 approved the summaries for policy makers (SPMs) and the report chapters of four regional assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia. Delegates also approved the SPM and report chapters of a thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration. IPBES agreed to initiate work in 2018 on two new assessments on the sustainable use of wild species, and on tools and methodologies regarding multiple values of biodiversity to human societies; and to initiate work in 2019 on an assessment on invasive alien species.

2nd Meeting of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies on Accelerating Progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals: This meeting took place from 10-13 April 2018 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Participants worked in break-out groups to develop concrete options on several issues, including: enhancing application of the ecosystem approach/ecosystem-based management; strengthening effectiveness of area-based management tools; preventing, reducing and mitigating the impacts of pollution, including marine debris; and strengthening monitoring and data/information sharing in support of scientific assessment of the status and trends of marine biodiversity and fisheries resources.

BBNJ: The organizational meeting for the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) took place at UN Headquarters in New York from 16-18 April 2018. Delegates discussed the process towards the preparation of a zero draft of the instrument. In addition to taking decisions on organizational matters, delegates agreed to address, at IGC-1, the four elements mandated by UN resolution 72/249: marine genetic resources, including questions on the sharing of benefits; measures such as area-based management tools, including marine protected areas; environmental impact assessments; and capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.

ICP-19: The 19th meeting of the Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea convened from 18-22 June 2018 at UN Headquarters in New York, focusing on anthropogenic underwater noise. Discussion topics included: the nature and scope of existing legal and policy frameworks; intra- and cross-sectoral efforts to obtain relevant data; identifying knowledge and data gaps; current noise-reduction technologies; noise management examples and tools; and capacity-building efforts and options.

Further information


Negotiating blocs
European Union