Daily report for 6 June 2017

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Special Events at the Ocean Conference

Facilitating Cross-Sectoral Regional Collaboration to Support Implementation towards SDG 14

This event was co-hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It convened on 6 June 2017 during the high-level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) at UN Headquarters in New York. The side event focused on efforts by the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI), launched in 2010, to promote a Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations (RSOs) and Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) to accelerate progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs by identifying opportunities to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration, with a view to supporting the member countries of the RSOs and RFBs in achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs.


Event Co-Chair Dixon Waruinge, Nairobi Convention Secretariat, opened the event saying its purpose was to trace the steps since the first Global Dialogue held in September 2016 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and to hear where we are today on the road to the next Global Dialogue.

Sangin Kim, President, National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea, recalled a Korean proverb that “a long journey begins with a single step,” and suggested that the first Global Dialogue was one of the first steps in addressing the challenges facing marine biodiversity.

He mentioned follow-up discussions held on the sidelines of thirteenth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties (CBD COP 13) held in December 2016, and the third session of the Preparatory Committee on the elements of a draft text of an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ PrepCom 3) in March 2017. He also announced that the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Oceans, his Institute, and the CBD would host an informal working group on 29 June 2017 in Seoul to begin preparations for the second Global Dialogue slated for June 2018. He invited all interested parties to “join the journey” by becoming involved in the Dialogue process.

Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary, CBD, said regional organizations are crucial players in realizing the Future We Want promised by Rio+20, since they often help create the enabling conditions needed for national implementation. She noted that several regional bodies have made important strides in enhancing the sustainable use of marine biodiversity. Palmer stated that the Global Dialogue was launched due to the need to accelerate the implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Strategic Plan, and to begin reflection on the post-2020 biodiversity agenda. 

Event Co-Chair Johán Williams, Norway, expressed his appreciation for the Dialogue as a former president of a regional fisheries organization. He said it has “lifted the spirits” of regional organizations and inspired new regional efforts at cooperation.

Jihyun Lee, CBD Secretariat, discussed the global policy framework underpinning the Global Dialogue, including the adoption of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in 2011 and the SDGs in 2015. She noted the launch of the CBD’s SOI to provide a holistic platform for addressing marine biodiversity, and work begun by the CBD Secretariat with regional organizations on scientific and technical cooperation, which paved the way for the Global Dialogue. She noted that bringing together all the RSOs and RFBs is not an easy task, and the Dialogue was the first time it was accomplished.

Waruinge, in his capacity as Co-Chair of the first SOI Global Dialogue, reviewed the outcomes of the First Global Dialogue (“Seoul Outcome”), including recognizing the key role played by regional organizations and the need for enhanced cooperation and collaboration at the regional scale. He said it acknowledged the diversity of experiences, challenges, priorities and capacities among regional organizations, and that regional cooperation is at different stages of development. He explained the Seoul Outcome called for: interaction and exchange of information on the respective measures and activities of regional organizations to promote mutual understanding and trust; joint regional strategies and memoranda of understanding (MOUs); identification of issues of common interests; harmonization of approaches for collecting and assessing data, and using that to produce holistic assessments of status and trends in the marine environment; support for national reporting through regional frameworks; and capacity building activities in support of cooperation at the regional level. He said the Seoul Outcome also called for making the SOI Global Dialogue a regular forum.

Takehiro Nakamura, UN Environment (UNEP), noted that the side event on regional oceans governance concluded that regional governance is critical to achieving SDG 14. He also recalled past CBD COP resolutions calling for a regional role in implementing and achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. He emphasized the need for a more global exchange of information between regions to enhance inter-regional cooperation and called for a more coordinated and strategic approach to engaging regional organizations.

Darius Campbell, Executive Secretary, OSPAR Commission, noted his Commission has a limited area mandate, so they have to work with other regional bodies such as the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). He noted many possible areas of cooperation between regional organizations, such as: information sharing on fisheries management research; eutrophication; marine litter; contaminants and their impacts on living creatures and seafood chains; ambient underwater noise; and particular species, such as deep sea sharks.

Abdellah Srour, Executive Secretary, General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), said noted that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)'s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) has suggested cooperation by RSOs and RFBs with the CBD on achieving the Aichi Targets and SDG 14. He said the first Global Dialogue showed that several examples of cross-sectoral cooperation already exist at the regional level, and agreed the Global Dialogue is good for taking stock of ways to enhance cooperation. He noted the MOU between the GFCM and the RSOs for the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and suggested it as a good example for others. He said cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination at the regional level on science and oceans management can facilitate national level coordination.

Matjaž Malgaj, European Commission (EC), said the EC is working on an Ocean policy initiative that will put cooperation between regional bodies as a key action the EC wishes to promote. He said all EU member states have indicated this as a priority. He also noted work with UN Environment on regional seas. He characterized the Global Dialogue as “a good start,” but stressed the need to keep the dialogue and cooperative efforts moving forward.

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