Last month, the Simultaneous Extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (ExCOPs) and international environmental governance discussions during the 11th Special Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum demonstrated and debated options related to calls for synergies and collaboration among multilateral environmental agreements.
This month, our Earth Negotiations Bulletin teams have heard delegates caution about “forum shopping” to address fisheries (http://www.iisd.ca/oceans/fsaic9/brief/brief_fsaic9e.pdf) and debate whether to include commercial marine species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or to leave them to regional fisheries management bodies.
The linkages between both debates are worth considering. The former seeks to proactively identify overlapping interests between various actors and to elaborate ways to capitalize on them. The latter is often invoked as a concern that, because overlapping interests render an issue subject to multiple agreement bodies, the body that requires fewer changes in current practice might be favored by some actors. While the latter would have individual agreements address specifically identified issues in a defined manner, it still seeks to coordinate multiple actors within an issue area.
Synergies between two or more sustainable development areas are also the focus of a number of activities included in this issue of Linkages Update
, such as the announcement by the Stockholm Convention Secretariat of a 12-month international study into the influence of climate change and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on human health and the environment, or the technical paper published by the CBD in collaboration with the Ramsar Secretariat on water, wetlands and forests. Clearly, Secretariats and organizations are increasingly aware of overlapping interests with other actors. We will continue to watch these and other developments regarding overlapping issue areas, and will report on the types of linkages that actors decide to build between the various ambits of sustainable development.