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SUMMARY REPORT OF 2010-THE GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY CHALLENGE:

21-23 MAY 2003

"2010-The Global Biodiversity Challenge" convened in London, UK, from 21-23 May 2003. Over 120 participants from 46 countries, representing governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia and the private sector, attended the meeting, which coincided with the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22nd. The meeting was organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat in partnership with the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-WCMC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This was the second of two meetings in London dealing with the linkages between biodiversity, sustainable development and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

2010-The Global Biodiversity Challenge was convened in response to decision VI/26 adopted at the sixth CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) in April 2002, which commits parties to a more effective implementation of the Convention’s objectives and to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level. The meeting's main objective was to articulate a framework of action for achieving the 2010 target; a target that was endorsed by the Hague Ministerial Declaration and by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in its Plan of Implementation. The meeting’s objectives were first considered in an opening Plenary that provided an overview of the issues and then in working groups. Recommendations formulated by the working groups will be synthesized into a report and submitted for consideration by the ninth meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-9) in November 2003.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO BIODIVERSITY, THE MDGs AND THE 2010 TARGET

In September 2000, the UN Millennium Summit adopted the MDGs, setting targets for, inter alia, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, combating disease and ensuring environmental sustainability. The eight MDGs comprise 18 targets and 48 indicators and are universally accepted as a framework for measuring development progress. To support the MDGs, the UN launched the Millennium Project in 2002. Over a period of three years, the Millennium Project intends to devise a plan of implementation to allow developing countries meet the MDG targets by 2015.

In 2002, various international fora acknowledged the important relationship between biodiversity and the MDGs. In April, the 6th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD, recognizing that biodiversity underpins sustainable development, established 2010 as the target year for halting biodiversity loss. In September, the WSSD consolidated many internationally agreed goals relating to sustainable development in its Plan of Implementation, including biodiversity, and called for concerted action from all sectors of society to meet these goals. Specifically, the WSSD called for significantly reducing biodiversity loss by 2010.

In March 2003, participants gathered in London, UK, to consider "Biodiversity after Johannesburg: The Critical Role of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals." Plenary sessions provided an overview of the MDGs and biodiversity mandates arising from the CBD, the WSSD and the Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB) framework. Participants then convened in four working groups to discuss: poverty, hunger and biodiversity; health and biodiversity; water, sanitation, urban poverty and biodiversity; and MDG 8 on developing a global partnership for development. The meeting’s recommendations were to be forwarded to the UN Millennium Project and "2010-The Global Biodiversity Challenge."

REPORT OF THE MEETING

On Wednesday, 21 May, participants met in an opening Plenary session to hear several speakers address the global challenge of meeting the internationally agreed 2010 target for reducing biodiversity loss. On Wednesday afternoon and in two sessions on Thursday, 22 May, participants met in four working groups to discuss: understanding and measuring biodiversity loss; addressing the 2010 target; reporting on biodiversity loss; and key initiatives in addressing biodiversity loss. A closing Plenary session met on Friday, 23 May, to consider final conclusions and recommendations, which will be submitted for consideration at the ninth meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-9) in November 2003. This report summarizes the meeting’s presentations, deliberations and recommendations.

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES

Elliot Morley, member of the UK Parliament and Under-Secretary for Fisheries, Water and Nature Protection, welcomed participants to the meeting. Highlighting the catastrophic decline in the world’s biodiversity, he stressed his government’s commitment to the WSSD outcomes, particularly reaching the 2010 target. He added that poverty reduction goes "hand and glove" with biodiversity restoration and that there is a need for the international community to effectively work together, maximizing synergies and avoiding duplication on biodiversity issues.

Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, noted that 2002, the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the CBD, was a turning point for implementation of biodiversity issues as they moved to the top of the sustainable development agenda for the first time, particularly at the WSSD. He added that a key issue for this meeting would be to translate the political commitment into tangible and quantifiable results and to find ways of achieving and measuring progress in meeting the 2010 target. He said this would require the engagement of all sectors of society at the national and international level, and that biodiversity must be fully integrated into countries’ social and economic programmes.

Charles McNeill, Environment Programme Team Manager, UNDP, said that it is an exciting time for those convinced of the pivotal role of biodiversity in human development. He identified factors that contributed to the rise of a global constituency for biodiversity issues, including the boldness of the 2010 target and the MDGs. McNeill also outlined three challenges: the difficulty faced by the biodiversity community in establishing a base line for the 2010 target, setting goals and assessing progress; the need to ensure that the biodiversity and development communities continue to move closer together; and the perceived lack of alignment across various international goals and targets. Regarding the alignment problem, he cited differences in the language used in the WSSD Plan of Implementation target ("significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by the year 2010") and the MDG ("reverse the loss of environmental resources") target on the loss of biodiversity.

Mark Collins, Director, UNEP-WCMC, described the 2010 target as the first step in facing the greatest challenge of the 21st century: keeping alive the resources that make the planet unique and ensure survival. He suggested that achieving the 2010 target was fraught with difficulties, including the need to communicate and explain the importance of biodiversity more effectively and convincingly. He cited the need for high-level communicators to make information relevant to sectors such as fisheries and agriculture, and the need for independent scientific assessments comparable to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). On the problem of complexity, he called for biodiversity indicators that can be widely understood and for information that is both relevant and accessible.

Hans Hoogeveen, Acting President, CBD COP Bureau, described how the Hague Declaration clearly marked a shift from policy development to implementation, a shift from conservation to sustainable use of biodiversity and to more action oriented work programmes. On measuring and monitoring achievements, he called for a clear set of indicators, for example a combination of the Natural Capital Index, IUCN Red List and the Wilderness and Species Assemblage Trend indices. He proposed the development of indicators by 2004, introduction in 2005, and monitoring periods from 2005-2007 and from 2008-2010. On transparency and accountability, he acknowledged the political leadership behind the 2010 target and underlined the need for developed countries to live up to their promises in areas such as access to finance and technology transfer. He also called for a more integrated approach at the international level, building on the CBD, Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg processes, and for all stakeholders and governments to be held accountable.

PRESENTATIONS OF KEY ISSUES

Following the opening remarks, Natarajan Ishwaran, UNESCO World Heritage, chaired a session on the overview, key issues and presentation of critical questions to be addressed by the working groups.

Jo Mulongoy, CBD Secretariat, described the CBD as a framework for meeting the 2010 target. He said the objective of the meeting was to contribute to the achievement of the 2010 target to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels in support of poverty alleviation. He urged participants to consider biodiversity conservation initiatives and their contribution to meeting the target, to try to understand biodiversity loss and to develop reporting systems. Mulongoy highlighted the current high rate of biodiversity loss citing data from the CBD’s Global Biodiversity Outlook and stressed the need to overcome existing threats by addressing direct causes, primary and proximate drivers and ensuring poverty reduction. He illustrated the connection between targeted actions, knowledge acquisition through assessment and monitoring, institutional and socio-economic facilitation, work on cross cutting issues and the ecosystem approach. He also referred to the Global Strategy on Plant Conservation (GSPC), the first under the CBD framework to set out targets, with 16 outcome-oriented global targets to be translated into national targets as part of national biodiversity strategies.

Robert Scholes, Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), gave a brief overview on measuring biodiversity loss, noting that in addition to assessment at the species, ecosystem and genetic levels, there are three aspects to be considered at the compositional, structural and functional levels. Although citing a Royal Society Report on biodiversity that concluded that no sound basis exists for assessing performance against biodiversity loss and that the fate of organisms not yet recognized by science can’t be measured, Scholes maintained that it is not necessary to have a perfect indicator for evaluating progress toward the goals, just a universally agreed one, and that satellite-based land cover measurements coupled with in situ information could sufficiently assess terrestrial systems.

Addressing the 2010 target, Jorge Soberon, Executive Secretary, Mexican National Commission on Biodiversity, described a schism that separates the language, objectives and activities used at the international and country levels. Recalling downward trends highlighted by the Living Planet Index, he explained how immediate causes (habitat loss and fragmentation, over-exploitation of wild living resources, invasive species, and pollution of soil, water and atmosphere) and not root causes (democratic growth, failure of institutions, market failures, policy failures, lack of information, unsustainable cultural and consumption patterns, and a forceful expansion of a hegemonic model) are addressed by numerous conventions and strategies. He suggested that actions promoted by conventions must address root causes, while measurements continue to focus on immediate causes, and acknowledged that root cause issues lie outside the scope of environmental ministries.

Delmar Blasco, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, recognizing the vague definition of the 2010 target, proposed a roadmap towards its realization, starting with the operationalization of the target at COP-7. The roadmap would include promoting the 2010 target among policy makers and the general public. He then stressed the connection with other relevant WSSD targets, such as poverty. He also proposed establishing alliances with key actors to increase synergies in reporting between the CBD, CITES, CMS, and the Ramsar Convention. Blasco proposed that UNEP take an active role in promoting such cooperation, and that the CBD Secretariat involve different groups, such as political parties, unions, women’s groups, indigenous peoples and NGO coalitions, in the process of reaching the 2010 target. He also proposed the creation of a dedicated unit within the CBD Secretariat to pursue the 2010 target. Blasco further proposed to extend the time schedule for achieving the 2010 target to 2020 and suggested that UNEP-WCMC act as a monitoring agency to develop a baseline and key indicators.

Walt Reid, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, identified guidelines for effective reporting mechanisms. He noted that criteria to ensure effective reporting should be scientifically credible, legitimate and useful in meeting policy and decision-makers’ needs, adding that species extinction and population sizes are of high relevance to users. He added that if done correctly, reporting has the potential to influence action and provide important feedback for monitoring. He also emphasized the need to develop indicators based not only on biodiversity, but on multiple WSSD goals such as combating poverty and disease.

During a brief discussion participants raised the following issues: the need to comprehensively address the linkage between biodiversity loss and poverty, including the underlying drivers of loss and the development of indicators that reflect this linkage; the advantages of quantifying goals and translating issues into monetary terms; the importance of agricultural production beyond the realm of monitoring and protecting genetic diversity; and the development of indicators on ecosystem services as a contribution to the linkage with MDGs.

WORKING GROUPS

Jerry Harrison, UNEP-WCMC, introduced the four working groups, which met in three parallel sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, 21-22 May, to address the following four objectives at the local, national and international levels: understanding and measuring biodiversity loss; addressing the 2010 target and other multiple biodiversity-related targets; reporting on biodiversity loss; and key initiatives in addressing biodiversity loss. On Friday, 23 May, participants met in Plenary to hear the outcomes of the working groups.

WORKING GROUP A: This working group, co-chaired by Jim Armstrong (CITES) and Alfred Oteng Yeboah (Ghana), met Wednesday afternoon to discuss understanding and measuring biodiversity loss from local and national perspectives. The group then met on Thursday in two sessions to continue the previous day’s deliberations and to discuss biodiversity loss reporting also from local and national perspectives.

Measuring Biodiversity Loss: Participants discussed the understanding and impact of biodiversity loss, exploring national approaches and possible indicators to be adopted. It was acknowledged that, despite interventions at the national and regional level, biodiversity loss is still occurring. Participants acknowledged that measurement of biodiversity loss is necessary but not sufficient to arrest biodiversity loss, and that additional measures are needed.

Some participants suggested reviewing current national indicators as well as examining gaps and exploring the development of holistic or cross-cutting indicators. Participants questioned the extent to which protected areas represent the range of ecosystem, species and genetic variation at the country level. While some participants indicated the need to harmonize methodologies, it was noted that national assessment and flexibility of approach are also important.

Participants highlighted the linkage between biodiversity and poverty reduction and the challenges of mainstreaming biodiversity conservation, particularly in the forestry, fisheries and agricultural sectors, and in the wider development agenda. Some participants noted that biodiversity did not feature prominently in their national development documents, unlike other environmental issues. Regarding awareness and understanding of biodiversity, participants noted that understanding of biodiversity varies significantly and needs to be communicated to and understood by local people. Possible entry points for further action include the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and the UN MDGs.

In addition to the intrinsic value of biodiversity, participants also stressed the need to look at the provision of goods and services. On valuation of biodiversity in economic terms, it was noted that such valuation has not always embraced a full cost-benefit approach. Participants identified the need for indicators for values linked to national goals on poverty alleviation. Others suggested translating abstract values into prices and real costs.

Outcome: Basing their discussion on the CBD definition of biodiversity, which recognizes species, ecosystem and genetic variation, the group defined biodiversity loss as a decline in the extent, condition or sustainable productivity of ecosystems, and a decline in abundance, distribution or sustainable use of species populations and extinctions. It was agreed that a change in the rate of biodiversity loss can only be measured if there are comparable, multiple observations over time, and that baselines are necessary as starting points for observations. There was also agreement on the need to develop and apply practical methods in assessing trends in the economic and social valuation of biodiversity.

The group stressed the need for a coherent strategy to effectively communicate the impact of biodiversity loss in order to achieve the 2010 target. The proposals for a communication strategy include: improving coherence between national and international reporting; paying particular attention to the impacts of the current rates of biodiversity loss on ecosystem goods and services and on human well-being; and establishing links with the relevant WSSD targets and MDGs.

Indicators were also highlighted as a useful means to simplify and quantify complex scientific information for policy audiences. They concluded that aggregated indicators could be useful in summarizing information about trends in biodiversity loss, and highlighted the work of a CBD liaison group that is currently developing guidance for national indicators and monitoring for SBSTTA-9.

The working group also concluded that any assessment of biodiversity loss should take into account the ecosystem approach in which losses are understood in terms of ecosystem processes, functions and management, the interactions with different sectors, and the impacts on life support systems.

Biodiversity Loss Reporting: Some participants suggested that indicators should be relevant to the national context and not fully prescriptive. Some noted that there is a lack of coherence across existing indicators sets. Participants discussed both intrinsic and utility values and potential means of valuation, with some indicating that reporting could reflect a reduction in immediate threats, intrinsic value and derivative impacts. There was also discussion on the need for objective science-based information drawing from national reports submitted to the CBD and other data sources.

Participants felt that responsibility for reporting should lie with the CBD focal points, coupled with some means of national coordination among various agencies. Some participants suggested funding to support the convening of focal points across the agencies. Participants also discussed dissemination of reports and the filtering of information to the local level.

On the frequency of reporting, participants discussed reporting biannually with less frequent reporting on trends at specified times. Some participants said reports should be underpinned by a sound scientific approach to allow for comparability over time.

Participants stated that reporting should be aligned with the MDGs and other reporting mechanisms, such as national indicators of sustainable development. Participants stated that the reporting process could show how biodiversity resources are being devalued and how this results in poverty, and highlighted that this is an important message to be shared with the development community. Participants also stated the need to identify gaps in reporting.

Outcome: The group concluded that the CBD focal points should be responsible at the national level, supported by a national committee involving relevant stakeholders from government and civil society. It was agreed that reporting should be directed to the following audience: international institutions, such as the CBD, CSD, WTO, UNEP, national governments, the business community and civil society. The group agreed that monitoring and assessment should be ongoing, but that national analysis and reporting should be conducted every two years and that an analysis of global trends should be done every four years.

On reporting incentives, the group recommended using early warning systems to address unsustainable development trends and their economic impacts. To ensure compliance, the group suggested allocating funding contingent on regular reporting. Capacity building for national monitoring and assessment was highlighted as an important reporting component, including the capacity to evaluate ecosystem goods and services.

WORKING GROUP B: On Wednesday afternoon, Working Group B, co-chaired by Max Kitchell (Australia) and Setijati Sastrapradja (Indonesia), discussed the issue of understanding and measuring biodiversity loss from the international perspective. They continued the discussion on Thursday morning, followed by an afternoon session on biodiversity loss reporting at the international level.

Measuring Biodiversity Loss: Co-chair Kitchell opened the discussion by asking participants to define biodiversity and biodiversity loss and what aspects of biodiversity need to be measured internationally. Noting that biodiversity can mean different things to different people, participants agreed to work with CBD definitions and terminology. However, participants continued to refine the terms "biodiversity" and "biodiversity loss" throughout the working group sessions.

Participants also agreed that it was important to take a pragmatic approach when measuring biodiversity loss by using existing data and approaches to improve indicators and by coming up with a scientifically sound baseline. Many also stressed the need to produce new data. There were several calls to pay careful attention to data quality control, while others noted the need to take into consideration information gaps and research needs. There were also several calls to make use of existing networks conducting measurements.

One participant stressed the need for standard protocols for interpreting satellite imaging to enable comparability, particularly at the ecosystem and habitat level. There was general agreement on the need to monitor at the species level for those species that are well known, but to recognize gaps and improve technical aspects like taxonomy.

Several participants noted the need for more concrete indicators for politicians to take action on the issue. It was suggested that no more than 10 indicators would be appropriate to reach the key audience. Despite the lack of internationally defined indicators, participants agreed that it was important to focus on the 2010 target using existing data and to continue to strengthen efforts to come to a common understanding on monitoring and methodology programmes.

Participants agreed that aggregated indices should be used if available, but that a mechanism to test their effectiveness needs to be developed. Others stressed the need to focus on how to develop aggregated indices, but ruled out attempting this by 2010. Rather, several participants said it was important to look at criteria for identifying and selecting indicators. One participant suggested conducting a comprehensive study of existing relevant indicators at the international level, while some felt this would be a duplication of CBD work.

Many participants said that a universal baseline is not attainable, but should be based on the rate of change in the decade of the 1990s. The group then listed several global data sets, such as the IUCN Red List and the Living Planet Index, as a means of indicating where measuring information is already available. It was suggested that a comprehensive study is needed to identify relevant existing data and informational gaps within those existing sets.

Outcome: Using the CBD definition of biodiversity, the working group went on to define biodiversity loss as the long-term reduction of abundance and distribution of species, ecosystems and genes and the services they provide. They agreed that the baseline rate of biodiversity loss should be based on the rate for the 1990s. On indicators, the group recommended a pragmatic approach towards achieving the 2010 target by working with existing data, initiatives and programmes. There was agreement that SBSTTA should commission a study on the sufficiency of data sets and identify gaps in order to improve future designs. It was recommended that the CBD’s criteria for selecting indicators should be used; represent the three levels of biodiversity – species, ecosystem and genetic; include ecosystem services; and identify not more than ten indicators that are relevant, reliable and cover the following themes – habitat cover, extinction, population data, protected areas and ecosystem functions. The group recognized the value of existing aggregated indicators as a useful communication tool for policy makers, but that a single biodiversity index is not achievable.

Biodiversity Loss Reporting: Co-chair Kitchell opened the discussion by highlighting several existing approaches to reporting at the global level, including the CBD Clearing-House Mechanism and the Global Biodiversity Outlook, Global Environmental Outlook, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, the State of the World, and the World Resources Institute’s Earth Trends. He then asked participants to make recommendations on how to report, who should do the reporting, to whom should the report be sent, and on the frequency of reporting.

One participant noted that the CBD has the mandate to look at issues addressed by the 2010 target and that the CBD could take a lead role in reporting. There were suggestions that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment or the CBD’s Global Biodiversity Outlook could evolve into the report, but another participant said there should be a separate mechanism to address the 2010 target. Some participants noted the need for collaborative partnerships between different biodiversity-related conventions, including the CBD, CITES and the Ramsar Convention, and the need to include NGOs in the reporting process. Others said the report shouldn’t rely on national reports, while some argued for links to national reports in collecting data and information as well as the need to use primary data.

Outcome: On identifying ways of reporting, the group recommended that the report be prepared by an independent group and that it be prepared in collaboration with a partnership of conventions, governments and NGOs. The independent group would draw on, but not be confined to, national reports. On costs, the group recommended that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) become involved, particularly to facilitate developing country involvement, and that the reporting process should be viewed as a capacity-building exercise. It was suggested that reporting intervals be 4-5 years.

WORKING GROUP C: This working group, co-chaired by Asghar Fazel (Iran) and John Hough (UNDP), met on Wednesday afternoon, 21 May, to consider the inter-relationship between the 2010 target and other multiple biodiversity-related targets, and in two sessions on Thursday, 22 May, to consider key initiatives to address biodiversity loss and agree on a set of outcomes and recommendations. The working group focused on national and local perspectives.

The 2010 Target and Other Biodiversity-Related Targets: After discussing how to approach the linkage between the 2010 target and other targets, participants considered a number of approaches and frameworks including: the ecosystem approach; national strategies for sustainable development and biodiversity; variation of approaches to national implementation of internationally agreed targets; national variations in the extent to which biodiversity linkages can be established with, for example, the MDG targets; the influence of higher order targets on the achievement of the 2010 target; the need to recognize that the relationship between the 2010 target and other targets can be positive or negative; the positive impact of linking the 2010 target to other targets in terms of pushing biodiversity up the domestic political agenda; lessons from the GSPC and climate change; the use of bird population information as an indicator of sustainable development; and the division of biodiversity conservation and use functions in government ministries.

One participant underlined the opportunity to focus on the root causes of biodiversity loss by addressing the linkages with economic and social causes. Others questioned the viability of national reviews of all biodiversity-related targets and their linkages with the 2010 target. A number of participants discussed the risks of re-opening existing environmental legislation.

On Thursday, 22 May, the working group revisited a number of issues regarding the relationship between the 2010 target and other targets. They were assisted by a matrix framework ranking the relative strength of linkages to aid consideration of synergies between biodiversity and development targets and the 2010 target. Participants discussed adding national institutions and strategies and external funding to the matrix.

On mobilizing political support and marketing biodiversity’s linkage with the development agenda, there was discussion on the importance of demonstrating the linkage to politicians (e.g. the link with poverty reduction) and enhancing community ownership and participation. A number of participants focused on the core task and goal of reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by addressing development-related processes behind biodiversity loss.

Key Initiatives in Addressing Biodiversity Loss: Chair Hough introduced discussion on key initiatives in addressing biodiversity loss. On mainstreaming, participants considered how the biodiversity community could take advantage of the emerging international initiatives to address biodiversity and insert biodiversity considerations into the negotiation of, for example, World Bank support for country-level poverty reduction strategies. The GSPC was cited as a key instrument for mainstreaming.

A number of country representatives described institutional arrangements for and obstacles to cross-sectoral policy formulation. A UK representative described a process for developing a coastal management strategy, which involved sector-by-sector mapping of activities such as tourism, energy and fisheries. A representative from Kenya described a conservation policy initiative linked to tourism in order to draw in new stakeholder participation. A representative from the World Bank cited South Africa’s Working for Water campaign as an exemplary approach to linking biodiversity to a development objective: triggered by an employment initiative, the programme aims to tackle the problem of invasive species and water conservation.

On reporting and indicators, one participant underlined the need for interim indicators to monitor ecosystem services, such as measuring levels of community involvement. Other issues raised included: voluntary national biodiversity reviews; targets to measure impacts and specific activities to ensure that underlying drivers of biodiversity loss are addressed; and the linkage between ultimate drivers of biodiversity loss and development processes. On compliance reporting, one participant called for the development of a reporting mechanism on a number of international instruments to enable governments, for example, to check for compliance across conventions when dealing with biodiversity. A number of contributors cautioned that new targets and reporting requirements should fit with existing demands on governments.

Chair Hough summarized the discussion themes, including: reporting and political buy-in; mapping initiatives and targets across sectors; the importance of reporting on impacts to provide an insight into future rates of biodiversity loss and monitoring changes in the pressures on biodiversity; the need to identify a small set of indicators spanning multiple conventions; a UNEP study on harmonizing multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) reporting; consultation processes to develop indicator sets; and lessons from the GSPC.

At a final session on national initiatives, participants identified a number of obstacles to making the linkage between biodiversity and development at the national level, including the need to: build and finance biodiversity expertise across government departments and introduce development and MDG expertise to departments responsible for biodiversity; adapt international processes to national situations to facilitate adoption of targets; recognize the importance of biodiversity targets for development; and recognize that the fundamental linkage occurs not at the level of targets but at the level of the impacts that lead to modification of biodiversity.

A number of participants argued that biodiversity had "had its day" as a priority in its own right and called for alternative ways of putting biodiversity at the top of government agendas. One participant cited a proposal for aspects of biodiversity to be integrated into national health strategies. A representative from an international financial institution suggested that funding was now available from a number of sources supporting development work, citing incremental funding from the World Bank for a medicinal plant project in Ethiopia. There was some agreement that communicating the relevance of biodiversity for other target areas is a key challenge.

Outcome: On the priority of articulating the inter-dependence between biodiversity and development targets, the working group recognized that the task of the biodiversity community is to make biodiversity relevant to politicians and the development agenda, notably the priority area of poverty alleviation. Participants called for a process in every country to articulate the role of biodiversity in achieving the MDGs, identified cross-sectoral linkages within governments as central, and proposed that the MDG target of ensuring environmental sustainability become a guiding principle for achieving all the MDGs. The group recommended that the CBD Secretariat send reports of the two London meetings to all CBD focal points and that they develop with other government agencies a joint action plan for the inclusion of the biodiversity component in meeting the MDGs.

On implementing international targets, appropriately adapted to national and regional levels, the group identified a need to agree on a process of adapting international targets to national situations and to examine how national targets relate to international targets. They set out some possible stages for this process, e.g. auditing existing targets and their inter-relationship. The ecosystem approach was identified as a way to address the implementation of international targets at national and regional levels. Participants also underlined the role of the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP) and voluntary country-level biodiversity reviews under the auspices of the CBD. The group recommended that all CBD focal points discuss the reports from the London meetings with other government departments and stakeholders, with the aim of starting a process for the implementation of the 2010 biodiversity target.

The working group agreed that a small set of indicators covering multiple targets - relating to biodiversity and development - would be useful. Such indicators would have to measure the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss, as well as activities undertaken.

On national reporting on international targets, the working group identified a need to report on the impacts on biodiversity loss, including the immediate and underlying causes, together with actions undertaken to achieve the 2010 target. Participants also suggested that an independent body report on measuring the impact of country activities to meet biodiversity targets. The group recommended that: all Parties to the CBD include in their third national reports their experience in setting their own national targets and baselines for meeting the 2010 biodiversity target by 2005 and that targets should include intermediate targets or milestones before 2010; that the format of the third national reports include questions on the measures undertaken (including national targets), and the outcomes on biodiversity (status and trends) in implementing the 2010 target; and reporting on how different government departments address biodiversity concerns and the 2010 target in their work should be included in national reports.

WORKING GROUP D: This working group, co-chaired by David Brackett (Canada) and Diann Black-Layne (Antigua and Barbuda), addressed the question of how the 2010 targets relate to targets from other MEAs and international initiatives. They reviewed various internationally agreed biodiversity-related targets and strategies: the MDGs; national and local agendas; and targets enshrined in the CBD, CMS, CITES and Ramsar Convention. They also recalled recent discussions at the CBD’s Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) meeting and asked for coordination between international agencies and coherence between MEAs. Chair Brackett acknowledged that the MDGs focus on human development, but underlined the relevance of the biodiversity target and the impact of international trade-related instruments. Many stressed the need to ensure that trade agreements take account of and value biodiversity by, for example, promoting an internalization of costs and the use of positive economic incentives. In a discussion on environmental services, some expressed reservations about the drive towards commercialization and mainstreaming and stressed the fundamental value of biodiversity. There were calls for more flexible funding mechanisms and approaches. Participation from the private sector was welcomed. Some criticized delays in making traditional sources of funding available, such as development cooperation, while some development cooperation specialists stressed that recipient countries must specifically request funds for biodiversity issues. There was agreement that effective demonstration of the linkages between the biodiversity and prominent MDGs could, in itself, assist in attracting additional funds and political engagement. Participants also proposed mapping biodiversity-related targets and developing sub-targets to facilitate implementation. Delegates agreed on the need for an overall coordinating body, with some proposing UNEP and others the CBD. In his summary, Co-chair Brackett noted that many participants wished to see biodiversity become a yardstick for measuring progress toward all other goals. Co-chair Black-Layne stressed mainstreaming biodiversity issues and the need to adopt alternative approaches that would help engage new actors, including countries that have not made biodiversity a top priority.

The group heard presentations by the UN Millennium Project, UNEP on the Specially Protected Areas (SAP) BIO Project, a regional initiative in the Mediterranean to support the 2010 target, and on continuing work on global environmental governance. Participants discussed species and habitat protection, with some viewing the latter as more easily measurable and key to supporting ecosystem services. Others considered species protection as having more appeal to the public and useful in highlighting related problems. Agreeing that different approaches work for different countries and that species protection appeals more to biodiversity-rich countries, some called for increased involvement from mega-diverse countries. Participants then discussed framing their discussion using a matrix - relating species, ecosystems and intrinsic factors (e.g. ethics) to livelihoods, health and vulnerability factors. Many saw the matrix, building on the World Bank approach towards poverty alleviation, as a useful step towards mainstreaming biodiversity and attracting additional funding. Food security was added as an additional dimension to the matrix. Delegates also discussed expanding the application of outcome-oriented targets that are measurable, realistic and time-bound and linking these to thematic areas.

Participants recognized the need to ensure national implementation of global targets, by getting political commitment or by creating binding sub-targets in protocols. They also considered existing obligations enshrined in the CBD and the Strategic Plan.

Outcome: The group agreed that meeting and sustaining the MDGs will depend on delivering the three CBD objectives, as reflected in the Convention’s Strategic Plan. On mainstreaming biodiversity, they recommended: communicating the relevance of the biodiversity target to those working on other international targets, including the MDGs; using the 2010 biodiversity target as an indicator for progress on other MDGs and international targets, including trade and social targets; integrating actions on biodiversity into other strategies; and using a matrix approach to communicate biodiversity linkages with livelihoods, health, vulnerability and food security. On resource issues, the group made a number of recommendations on increasing the amount, efficiency and effectiveness of funding for actions to achieve the biodiversity-related targets. They called for a reduction in perverse incentives, and for the creation of conditions that encourage the use of market forces in support of biodiversity targets.

The group underscored the failure of the biodiversity community to effectively make the case for and explain the relationship to development processes and the economy. They proposed drawing from the experience of IPCC reporting and called for a greater emphasis on user values and ecosystem services in communications. On mobilizing data, the group called for greater access and availability and enhanced use of the Internet. Again they cited the example of the climate change regime and its use of data to build predictive models. On expanding the application of targets, they proposed adopting the process used in the GSPC to develop sub-targets and defining targets within the framework of ecosystem services. The group also made recommendations on improving coordination, synergy and partnerships, including mainstreaming work across government departments, and on capacity building.

INTERNATIONAL BIODIVERSITY DAY RECEPTION

Participants met on Thursday evening, 22 May, for a reception to celebrate International Biodiversity Day. CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan read a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to mark the event. In his message, Secretary-General Annan said that biological diversity is a widely under-appreciated resource that is essential for human existence and has a crucial role to play in sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. He added that "unless we stop the loss of biological resources, our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 will be that much more difficult�" Annan urged governments that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Biosafety Protocol, noting that these instruments are crucial for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

NEXT STEPS

Providing a summary and synthesis of "2010-The Global Biodiversity Challenge," Christi�n Samper, Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, underlined the momentum that currently exists in trying to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. He reiterated several key conclusions that participants reached at the meeting including: the important role the CBD can play in reporting on the 2010 target; the need to develop a small number of achievable and reliable indicators that will be useful for policy interventions; and the need to link the biodiversity goal with other development goals, such as reducing hunger, poverty and disease.

Looking ahead, Samper said that the report of this meeting should be submitted as an information document for the next SBSTTA meeting and then be distributed to focal points, relevant agencies and organizations. At the scientific and technical level, he highlighted the need for good annotated lists of existing data and approaches, and analysis of data and approaches for decision-makers. On implementation, he said it is necessary to find links with other biodiversity-related convention work programmes and integration in other MDG programmes. He concluded by saying that reducing the rate of biodiversity loss is a long-term goal that must go beyond 2010.

In the ensuing discussion chaired by Jan Plesnik (Czech Republic), participants reviewed the following issues: the use of existing data sets and indicators to support the 2010 target; the identification of information gaps and the development of indicators for novel areas such as ecosystem services; efforts to ensure that all project funds are supportive of biodiversity; and working towards an initial report on the current rate of loss of biodiversity, using existing data. Mark Collins, UNEP-WCMC, said that UNEP-WCMC would be pleased to pull together available data sets, adding that his organization would like to break into all kinds of sectors and out of the paradigm that has been inhabited by the biodiversity community, with a view to aligning other data sets to service the requirements of the 2010 target. Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, underlined the leadership role of the CBD, noting that many conventions and processes will be able to contribute to the 2010 target. He expressed the hope that others will identify these roles for themselves and called for the 2010 target to be integrated into NBSAPs using existing baseline information. He stressed that the CBD would integrate the target into agreed work programmes and called on other international organizations to follow suit. Charles McNeill, UNDP, confirmed that the outcome of the meeting would go forward to the MDG process "with a vengeance."

CLOSING REMARKS

Charles McNeill, UNDP, concluded that a lot had been accomplished during the three-day meeting in part because the biodiversity and development communities had begun listening to one another. He asked participants to commit to follow-up discussions in their work to achieve the 2010 target. Mark Collins, UNEP-WCMC, thanked the lead agencies, donors, partners and others involved in organizing the meeting. CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan said the meeting was an important initial step towards meeting the target agreed to at WSSD. He noted that biodiversity had moved to the top of the political agenda and if the biodiversity community did not succeed in meeting the Convention�s objectives, they would not have another opportunity. He welcomed UNDP as a key advocate for biodiversity and thanked the UNEP-WCMC staff. The meeting came to a close at 4:00 pm.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR BEFORE CBD COP-7

WORKSHOP ON INCENTIVE MEASURES FOR THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF THE COMPONENTS OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: This workshop, organized by the CBD Secretariat, will be held from 3-5 June 2003 in Montreal, Canada. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.asp?wg=WSIM-02

HIGH SEAS BIODIVERSITY WORKSHOP: This workshop, organized by Environment Australia, will be held from 16-20 June 2003 in Cairns, Australia. For more information contact: Philip Burgess; tel: +61-2-6274-1418; fax: +61-2-6274-1006; e-mail: philip.burgess@ea.gov.au; Internet: http://ea.gov.au/coasts/international/highseas/agenda.html

FOURTH TRONDHEIM CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY: TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND CAPACITY BUILDING: This conference will be held from 23-27 June 2003 in Trondheim, Norway, organized by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment in collaboration with UNEP. For more information contact: Trondheim Conference Secretariat; tel: +47-22-24-5700; fax: +47-73-80-1401; e-mail: rita.strand@nina.no; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meetings/abs/abswscb-01/other/abswscb-01-norway-en.pdf

13TH MEETING OF THE CITES PLANTS COMMITTEE: The CITES Plants Committee will meet from 12-15 August 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information contact: CITES Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: cites@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.cites.org/eng/cttee/plants/index.shtml

19TH MEETING OF THE CITES ANIMALS COMMITTEE: The CITES Animals Committee will meet from 18-21 August 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information contact: CITES Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: cites@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.cites.org

FIFTH WORLD PARKS CONGRESS - BENEFITS BEYOND BOUNDARIES: This meeting will be held from 8-17 September 2003 in Durban, South Africa. The Congress occurs once every decade and is sponsored by IUCN. For more information contact: Peter Shadie, IUCN Programme on Protected Areas; tel: +41-22-999-0159; fax: +41-22-999-0025; e-mail: pds@iucn.org; Internet: http://wcpa.iucn.org/wpc/wpc.html

NINTH MEETING OF THE CBD�S SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE: SBSTTA-9 will be held from 10-14 November 2003 in Montreal, Canada. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org

SEVENTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CBD: CBD COP-7 will be held from 15-26 March 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org


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