Home > COP 2016 SIDE EVENTS

Coverage of Selected Side Events at the UN Biodiversity Conference

5-17 December 2016 | Cancún, Mexico

Events Covered on Monday, 5 December 2016

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IISD Reporting Services - COP 2016 The following events were covered by IISD Reporting Services on Monday, 5 December 2016:

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENBOTS Meeting Coverage, is providing daily web coverage of selected side-events from the UN Biodiversity Conference.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera
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Global Commons: Solutions for a Crowded Planet Presented by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre



This side event, which was moderated by Inger Andersen, Director-General, IUCN, explored ways of transforming policies and incentives for food production and agricultural sectors towards environmental sustainability. Andersen said the world must find new and better ways to grow food because the Earth is no longer stable enough to allow consistent food production. She underscored that this requires a shift of the global development paradigm to ensure a balance in society, environment and economic systems.

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF, said the time has come to challenge the Earth’s survival model, adding that we must consider how to “flip” key economic systems that deteriorate our global commons. She noted that the public sector should create incentives for private sector involvement and address the weak links in agricultural supply chains.

Alexander Müller, Töpfer, Müller, Gaßner GmbH– ThinkTank for Sustainability (TMG), said we need to revalue food production to ensure nutritional acceptability, emphasizing that agriculture today is driving poor diets and deteriorating the health of populations.

Pablo Lomeli, Monsanto, said continued work in research and development is required to ensure we can meet food production requirements, which will rise by 70% in 2050. He remarked that the private sector can influence sustainability in supply chains by ensuring research and development, information sharing and collaboration for sustainable agricultural production.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Conservation International, stressed institutional arrangements where forests and fisheries under agriculture ministries compromise sustainability since their focus is resource extraction. He stressed the need to address land-use change and to phase out negative incentives, adding that countries are not placing adequate emphasis on Aichi Biodiversity Target 3 (elimination of incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity).

In ensuing discussions, participants said the global commons debate should address the loss of genetic diversity due to agricultural expansion. Some called for increased public awareness to influence consumer choices. Some also raised questions regarding the threat of genetically modified organisms to biodiversity, and noted the need to encourage sustainable forest management to resolve conflicts between forestry, agriculture and environmental sustainability.


(L-R): Pablo Lomeli, Monsanto; Alexander Müller, TMG; Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Conservation International; Inger Andersen, Director-General, IUCN; and Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF


Inger Andersen, Director-General, IUCN said there is need to shift the global development paradigm to create a balance for society, environment and economic systems.

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF, said daily efforts are required to address key systems that deteriorate our global commons.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Conservation International, urged for dialogue between agriculture and environment ministries to address biodiversity loss.


Pablo Lomeli, Monsanto, said biotechnology is important to ensure food security and tackle hunger in the world.

Alexander Müller, TMG, remarked that although small-scale farmers are stewards of biodiversity, they are the poorest people in the world.


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Sustainable Ocean Night Presented by the CBD Secretariat, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH



Christophe Lefebvre, French Marine Protected Areas Agency, and Anne McDonald, Sophia University, moderated this event.

Yongseok Kang, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Republic of Korea, announced a Memorandum of Understanding on the Sustainable Oceans Initiative (SOI) between his country and the CBD.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, welcomed the Initiative, reporting that the importance of oceans, particularly for fisheries, was recognized at the High-Level Segment of CBD COP 13.

Elsa Nickel, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany, highlighted that SDG 14 on oceans provides an avenue for progress on oceans conservation.

Mario Aguilar Sanchez, National Commission of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mexico, underscored the need to engage fishermen to ensure the success of the objectives of the SOI.

Pierre Hele, Minister of Environment and Protection of Nature, Cameroon, said mangrove conservation requires more attention and called for more partnerships for capacity building and experience sharing.

Alain de Comarmond, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Seychelles, said oceans are key for food security and economic prosperity, and essential for the survival of people in small islands developing states (SIDS).

Vivienne Solis, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, emphasized the need to recognize the contribution and cultural identity of local communities and indigenous peoples in the Initiative, and called for participatory governance models that empower fishermen.

Nana Magomola, Chair, South African National Biodiversity Institute, discussed the ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in the Southern Indian Ocean, emphasizing their value includes supporting fisheries and, thus, food security in the region.

Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs, Global Environment Facility (GEF), noted the GEF’s programme on biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, and highlighted a commitment of over US$40 million for marine protected areas.

Eva Muller, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), confirmed the FAO’s commitment to the preservation of marine biodiversity, stressing the need to cooperate and collaborate to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Lorna Inniss, Caribbean Environment Programme, UN Environment, drew attention to her organization’s work on marine and coastal biodiversity, and reiterated the need to not only conserve marine biodiversity for conservation’s sake, but also for its commercial value.

Sangjin Kim, President, National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea, noted that all SOI partners are committed to the common goal of sustainable oceans, highlighting the Institute’s partnership with regional seas organizations and other countries.

Lefebvre and McDonald then drew attention to the CBD technical series on the Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity focusing on the current status and possible solutions regarding marine debris.


Anne McDonald, Sophia University, and Christophe Lefebvre, French Marine Protected Areas Agency

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary


Elsa Nickel, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany

 

Pierre Hele, Minister of Environment and Protection of Nature, Cameroon

Mario Aguilar Sanchez, National Commission on Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mexico


Alain de Comarmond, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Seychelles

 

Eva Muller, FAO

 

Jihyun Lee, CBD Secretariat


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Launch of Policy Brief: The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review 2016 Presented by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)


During this event, participants heard about the methodologies and findings of the State of Sustainability Initiatives Review policy brief on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), which summarizes findings of research conducted jointly by IISD and the CBD Secretariat.
Panelists highlighted the role of sustainability standards, biotrade and valuation of ecosystem services in supporting conservation.

Sabrina Shaw, IISD, presented on the methodologies and conclusions of the policy brief, noting that VSS are “neither the panacea, nor the problem.” Among key conclusions, she noted: the need to ensure voluntary standards are not developed in isolation from the policy making process; and an increased likelihood that standards use CBD-relevant indicators if local stakeholders are consulted.

Lorena Jaramillo, UNCTAD, highlighted the work of the: UNCTAD Biotrade Initiative to assist countries in participating in trade with more value-added, native resources; UN Forum on Sustainability Standards to support developing countries in developing sustainability standards; and the Union for Ethical Biotrade’s Biodiversity Barometer to measure consumer attitudes towards biodiversity.

Karen Alvarenga, IISD, presented on the Serra da Moeda Project in Brazil, which seeks to value ecosystem services in an endangered ecosystem with the aim of ensuring the integration of ecosystem services into decisionmaking. Examples of such services, she noted, include water provision, carbon sinks, and medicinal and ornamental plants.
During discussions, participants considered: the limited potential for biotrade to move beyond a niche market due to high prices; biotrade in Mexico, including of candelilla and aloe vera; perceptions of certification as “the promised land,” as well as a barrier, to trade; local government involvement in ecosystem valuation; and the potential for judicial action for loss and damage of biodiversity through results from ecosystem valuation.

Lorena Jaramillo, UNCTAD, highlighted the UNCTAD Biotrade Initiative’s involvement in 3,500 value chains in over 20 countries, with companies working under its criteria and generating over €4 billion in 2015 alone.

Stressing that “we can’t value what we can’t measure,” Sabrina Shaw, IISD, said sustainability standards and biotrade initiatives put a value on what we seek to preserve.


(L-R): Sabrina Shaw, IISD; Lorena Jaramillo, UNCTAD; and Karen Alvarenga, IISD


Karen Alvarenga, IISD, urged considering how much income will be lost if flora and fauna disappear, or if water must be brought in from a different basin.

Lorena Jaramillo, UNCTAD, highlighted the UNCTAD Biotrade Initiative’s involvement in 3,500 value chains in over 20 countries, with companies working under its criteria generating over €4 billion in 2015 alone.

Stressing that “we can’t value what we can’t measure,” Sabrina Shaw, IISD said sustainability standards and biotrade initiatives put a value on what we seek to preserve.


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Making Connections: InforMEA Presented by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Ramsar Convention


At this event, moderated by Eva Duer, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC), UN Environment, panelists and participants highlighted the importance of the UN Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), known as InforMEA.

Leo Heileman, UN Environment, noted the challenges faced by MEAs, including the volume of information generated under each MEA, the lack of updates on implementation activities, and challenges with national reporting. He underlined that InforMEA helps fulfill Rio Declaration Principle 10 (access to information, public participation and access to justice).

Olivier de Munck, CBD, highlighted the importance of InforMEA in monitoring progress towards achieving global milestones, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. He welcomed the collaboration between MEAs contributing to InforMEA, underlining that InforMEA represents “something bigger than us.”

Drawing attention to the value of InforMEA in streamlining national reporting commitments, María Rivera, Ramsar Convention, highlighted the value of the website as an opportunity to demonstrate areas for synergies among MEAs, noting that the tool provides a platform for MEAs to better collaborate on areas of common interest.

Calling attention to information fragmentation among MEAs, Anne Teller, Directorate-General (DG) Environment, European Commission (EC), stressed that InforMEA could serve as the platform to address this wide-ranging issue, noting its importance as a “consolidated pillar” that combines all narratives on biodiversity into a coherent message that can be shared outside the biodiversity arena.

Duer then noted that all the information contributed to InforMEA is available for use on other platforms, and drew attention to further work in e-learning courses and linking national focal points from different MEAs at the regional level. She highlighted the various features of the website, including treaty texts, MEA decisions and national reports submitted.

During discussions, participants considered, inter alia: the value of InforMEA for students; the interaction of InforMEA with non-environmental treaties; how to avoid duplication of national reports submitted for different MEAs; whether InforMEA can assist in compliance obligations; the need to harmonize MEA reporting formats to augment InforMEA’s interoperability; and the need for decentralized reporting systems “talking to each other” to enhance the collective intelligence around MEAs.


 

(L-R): Olivier de Munck, CBD; Anne Teller, DG Environment, EC; Leo Heileman, UN Environment; Maria Rivera, Ramsar Convention; and Eva Duer, UN Environment Underscoring that InforMEA is being promoted at the national level as part of discussions on the clearinghouse mechanism, Olivier de Munck, Clearing-House Mechanism, CBD, noted that the website can be used to reduce duplication of efforts across MEAs.


Underscoring that InforMEA is being promoted at the national level as part of discussions on the clearing house mechanism, Olivier de Munck, Clearing-House Mechanism, CBD, noted that the website can be used to reduce duplication of efforts across MEAs.

Eva Duer, UN Environment, announced a call for InforMEA champions to promote the website at the regional level.


María Rivera, Ramsar Convention, stressed the need to promote InforMEA at the regional level, noting that it can be used as a mechanism to improve national coordination.

Leo Heileman, UN Environment

 

Anne Teller, DG Environment, EC, noted that InforMEA is more than just a tool; it is a process.


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Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems Presented by Bioversity International and the European Commission (EC)


This side event focused on the Agrobiodiversity Index, an initiative to increase public and private investment in sustainable food and agriculture. Four interlinked dimensions were discussed on agrobiodiversity’s impacts on global food systems, including: healthy diets; resilient and productive agroecosystems; dynamic seed systems; and agrobiodiversity conservation.

The event was moderated by Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International. She emphasized the critical role of agrobiodiversity in connecting the SDGs and helping farmers adapt to climate change. She noted that the Agrobiodiversity Index will provide policymakers and private investors with easy-to-digest evidence linking agrobiodiversity to global food security, and enable transparent assessment of how countries and companies are contributing to biodiverse agricultural systems.

Coosje Hoogendoorn, Access to Seeds Foundation, noted the “three Cs” of creating an index: consultation, creation and communication. She emphasized the importance of developing stakeholder-specific questions and making information accessible.

B. Meenakumari, Indian National Biodiversity Authority, noted the need for governments and civil society to increase their emphasis on capacity enhancement for agrobiodiversity conservation, and to create an international agrobiodiversity fund to support communities to engage in ex situ and in situ conservation.

Braulio de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, welcomed the Agrobiodiversity Index as a mechanism to measure trends in biodiversity gains or losses at both farm and landscape levels. He emphasized the importance of simplified methods to measure trends in biodiversity to improve mainstreaming across sectors.

During the discussion, participants raised, inter alia: the need for greater detail on how variables within the Index will be measured; the question of how agricultural fiscal policies influence agrobiodiversity; and the need to recognize concentration of corporate power as having a dominant interest in agriculture, and thus the importance of how the Index is framed and by whom.


(L-R): Coosje Hoogendoorn, Access to Seeds Foundation; Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International; and B. Meenakumari, Indian National Biodiversity Authority


Coosje Hoogendoorn, Access to Seeds Foundation, presented the Access to Seeds Index Report, which compares global seed companies’ actions to make improved seeds available to smallholder farmers and to share best practices.

 

B. Meenakumari, Indian National Biodiversity Authority, emphasized the importance of an integrated approach in measuring agrobiodiversity and the need to “talk the language of farmers.”


Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International, emphasized the need for an integrated agri-food systems approach, which ensures farmers have access to high quality seeds and diverse and nutritious diets.

A slide from Ann Tutwiler’s presentation


Participants during the event


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The Financialization of Nature, Climate and Geoengineering Presented by the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF), ETC Group, and Carnegie Council


This side event considered the financialization of nature and issues raised by geoengineering, in the context of climate change, and synthetic biology, in the context of biodiversity.
Barbara Unmüßig, HBF, introduced the book, ‘Inside the Green Economy: Promises and Pitfalls.’ Stressing that “there is no evidence” that monetizing nature will help us to protect biodiversity and ecosystems, she highlighted the need for political will to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, such as the agro-industry.
Maureen Santos, HBF, lamented the financialization of nature in Brazil’s new forest code, and called for a rejection of instruments, such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and TEEB for Agriculture & Food (TeebAgriFood), which perpetuate the logic of markets.
Lili Fuhr, HBF, said the Paris Agreement’s target to limit climate change to 1.5°C is currently “a double-edged sword” given that it implies the use of negative emissions technologies with serious implications for livelihoods, ecosystems and democracy. She urged CBD parties to send a strong signal to climate change colleagues on the need to consider “real solutions,” instead of “techno-fixes.”
Highlighting the major social, environmental and economic implications of geoengineering, Janos Pasztor, Carnegie Council, said there is a need for appropriate governance frameworks on this issue, and called for public guidance on geoengineering research.
Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group, highlighted that 193 countries “that very seldom come to consensus” had agreed under the CBD to take “a precautionary approach to geoengineering” and underlined the need to “strengthen this moratorium.”
During the discussion, participants considered, inter alia, whether: financialization of nature can ever work; it is possible to measure the true costs of environmental values; and additional geoengineering research is needed. Panelists also highlighted payment for ecosystem services as altering identities of smallholders and indigenous peoples to providers of environmental services, and that construing climate change as an “abstract global problem” marginalizes the millions of diverse local solutions available.


(L-R): Janos Pasztor, Carnegie Council; Lili Fuhr, HBF; Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group; Barbara Unmüßig, HBF; and Maureen Santos, HBF


Maureen Santos, HBF, welcomed the attendance of women and traditional communities at the event, noting that “they are the protagonists of the alternatives.”

 

Maureen Santos, HBF, welcomed attendance of women and traditional communities at the event, noting “they are the protagonists of the alternatives.”


Lili Fuhr, HBF, warned that the land required to achieve the 2°C limit through bio-energy with carbon capture and storage  is at least double the size of India.

Janos Pastor, Carnegie Council, said governance does not just imply controls, but entails involvement of different constituencies and information sharing.


Participants listening to panelists


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Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Contributions from Science to Policy Presented by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity of Mexico (CONABIO)


This side event, moderated by Lily Rodriguez, International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), discussed a declaration on behalf of more than 300 scientists, practitioners and policymakers who participated in the Third Science for Biodiversity Forum, held in Cancun from 1-2, December, 2016.

Hiroyuki Takeda, IUBS, discussed the importance of the Forum, highlighting, in particular, education for biodiversity conservation.

L.S. Shashidhara, IUBS, spoke on the work of the IUBS Citizen Science Programme in fostering educational initiatives to encourage students and teachers to communicate science with local communities.

Erie Tamale, CBD Secretariat, noted that some of the solutions proposed by scientists have not yet filtered into the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAPs). He emphasized that NBSAPs serve only as a guide and that opportunities exist for science to interject in their implementation.

Rodolfo Dirzo, IAI, stressed that the main objective of the Forum was to discuss contributions of science towards biodiversity mainstreaming efforts of the CBD, under the premise that science should work in partnership with decision makers and other sectors of society to ensure the sustainable use of biodiversity, community development and human wellbeing.

Paola Mosig Reidl, CONABIO, identified reflections from participants and the Forum’s most important recommendations, including: the use of conceptual frameworks to address the relationship between humans and nature through both the biological and social sciences; the need to better understand how, when and why ecosystem services are co-produced by social and ecological systems; and considerations of equity and ethics.

Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, Future Earth, identified three priority activities: educating the scientific community to engage in interdisciplinary science; building a research agenda that is based upon alliances between different actors and perspectives; and building scenarios and models to identify trends which can be integrated into the needs of the Convention.

In the ensuing discussion, participants noted: the paucity of science coming from tropical developing countries; the need to go beyond simply translating science for policy, and to co-produce knowledge with people; and innovative ways for encouraging youth to generate science.


(L-R): L.S. Shashidhara, IUBS; Hiroyuki Takeda, IUBS; Erie Tamale, CBD Secretariat; Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, Future Earth; Paola Mosig Reidl, CONABIO; Rodolfo Dirzo, IAI; and Lily Rodriguez, IUBS


Rodolfo Dirzo, IAI, stressed that the identification of synergies and trade-offs for biodiversity requires recognizing multiple values to engage all stakeholders.

L.S. Shashidhara, IUBS, noted the need to convey the technical complexity of coupling climate-biosphere systems with lay citizens to share knowledge and bring laboratory science to the field.

 

Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, Future Earth, noted the need to ensure scientists from different departments are “talking to each other.”


Paula Mosig Reidl, CONABIO, noted the importance of ecosystem service governance, including a new multidisciplinary approach, which takes social ecosystems into account.

Erie Tamale CBD Secretariat, emphasized that science must be integrated into policy from the planning phase.

Hiroyuki Takeda, IUBS, described the role of IUBS in supporting bio-education in addressing global issues for conservation.


Participants during the event


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Daily Web CoverageAbout | 5 Dec | 6 Dec | 7 Dec | 8 Dec | 9 Dec | 10 Dec
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Specific funding for coverage of selected side events from the UN Biodiversity Conference has been provided by the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO).
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IISD Reporting Services is grateful to the many donors of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and recognizes the following as core contributors to the ENB: the European Union, the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)), the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2016 is provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Wallonia, Québec, and the International Organization of La Francophonie/Institute for Sustainable Development of La Francophonie (IOF/IFDD).