On Tuesday, delegates to SBSTTA 14 discussed forest biodiversity, including a joint work plan with the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), and a draft recommendation on mountain biodiversity in Working Group I. Working Group II addressed the in-depth review of the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas (PAs), and the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI).
WORKING GROUP I
FORESTS: On forest biodiversity and collaboration with the UNFF Secretariat and FAO (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/14), BELGIUM, supported by FRANCE, emphasized the importance of REDD safeguards on biodiversity and, with FINLAND, on indigenous and local communities’ rights. NEW ZEALAND, supported by BRAZIL, proposed deletion of references to the UNFCCC COP 15 outcome on REDD, given continuing negotiations on this issue. NEW ZEALAND, supported by CANADA, preferred that the CBD collaborates to support the development of biodiversity safeguards with the “full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities,” rather than making reference to “safeguards for indigenous and local communities’ rights.” COLOMBIA proposed to include a general reference to assessing the impact of safeguards. NORWAY called for language consistent with the UNFCCC and supported work to clarify forest definitions.
MEXICO proposed collaboration with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to develop uniform criteria for the sustainable use of forests. The UK cautioned against duplicating efforts, particularly on forest definitions. JAPAN proposed welcoming the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the CBD and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
SWITZERLAND and INDIA requested explicit reference to the Non-legally Binding Instrument on all Types of Forests. Echoing SOUTH AFRICA’s concerns on inclusive forest definitions, IRAN stressed the need to better integrate the concerns of low forest cover countries into CBD work.
MOUNTAINS: Delegates considered a draft recommendation on the in-depth review of the implementation of the programme of work on mountain biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/WG.1/CRP.1). They agreed to amend a paragraph referring to the drivers of mountain biodiversity loss, to make it coherent with language used in GBO 3.
On policies favorable to the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge for enhanced resilience, BURKINA FASO suggested referring to “biological and genetic resources,” while COLOMBIA and MEXICO proposed, and delegates agreed, to make reference to “mountain biodiversity and all of its components.”
Discussions ensued on a sub-paragraph inviting “environmental and strategic assessment” of renewable energy impacts on mountain biodiversity. NORWAY preferred to undertake assessments at the planning stage and MEXICO, initially opposed by CHINA, to clearly link them to climate change mitigation. INDIA stressed hydropower and SPAIN wind farms as major sources of impact, while TURKEY and CHINA objected to singling out any particular source. NEW ZEALAND and MEXICO expressed reservations on a sub-paragraph on capacity building for indigenous and local communities on technologies for “alternate bioresource-based livelihoods” and participatory management of natural resources. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to delete the sub-paragraph.
On regional collaboration strategies, debate centered on developing such strategies “where possible,” “where applicable” or “where appropriate.” After informal discussions, delegates were able to agree on language encouraging parties “where possible and appropriate” to develop and implement regional collaboration strategies and action plans for the conservation of mountain biodiversity. Reference to “assistance from regional and international organizations as needed and when requested by all the parties” was bracketed.
On upland-lowland interactions, CHINA and COLOMBIA proposed language encouraging parties, other governments and relevant organizations to develop interactions with the aim of strengthening the conservation and sustainable use of mountain biodiversity and human wellbeing through the provision of ecosystem services.
MEXICO proposed clarifying a provision on reviving and enhancing native mountain plant and animal genetic resources by adding reference to their conservation status. MEXICO also suggested reference to relevant initiatives other than the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. BURKINA FASO proposed not to restrict this provision to native species. GERMANY noted that incentives do not need to be economic measures.
On a paragraph on developing research programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of mountain biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge with communities’ involvement and facilitating benefit-sharing from mountain genetic resources, GERMANY suggested including facilitating access. COLOMBIA and MEXICO expressed doubts. BURKINA FASO proposed retaining language on research programmes. Delegates eventually agreed to this, while eliminating references to traditional knowledge, involvement of indigenous and local communities and benefit-sharing.
Co-Chair Fazel proposed to transmit the draft recommendation as amended to plenary.
WORKING GROUP II
PROTECTED AREAS: On the in-depth review of the implementation of the progarmme of work on PAs (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/5, Add.1 and INF/19, 24, 25 and 27), several countries called for enhanced involvement of indigenous and local communities and benefit-sharing. AUSTRALIA stressed the need for flexibility in implementing the programme of work and involving stakeholders. SAINT LUCIA suggested a community-led social change methodology. LIBERIA noted limited consideration of traditional systems of biodiversity management. The COUNCIL OF EUROPE stressed promoting regional approaches to PAs.
BELGIUM suggested enhancing PA coverage and connectivity. UGANDA emphasized wildlife corridors on private and community lands and ecological restoration outside PAs. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO suggested promoting non-state types of PA governance. SWITZERLAND and CROATIA drew attention to inland waters PAs, with the RAMSAR CONVENTION emphasizing the relevance of Ramsar criteria for PAs in inland and territorial waters. SWITZERLAND, NEW ZEALAND, ETHIOPIA and BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL also highlighted ecosystem restoration within PAs. INDONESIA noted the need for financing to develop scientifically sound programmes.
FINLAND and SPAIN underscored effective transboundary cooperation for connectivity and adaptation. SPAIN proposed assessing representativity and management efficacy of national and regional PA systems. BRAZIL underscored in situ conservation of genetic resources within PA for adaptation. INDIA called for best practice guidance on human-wildlife conflict mitigation and ensuring synergies with regional conventions for implementing the programme of work. MALAWI emphasized public-private partnerships in eco-tourism, hydroelectricity generation and timber extraction in PAs.
On climate change, SWEDEN cautioned against language on enhancing carbon sinks in PAs, noting the risk of triggering inappropriate action in PAs. BELGIUM and COLOMBIA supported including PAs in a joint work programme of the Rio Conventions, while NEW ZEALAND recalled that discussion on the joint programme of work had been considered premature. COTE D’IVOIRE stressed that the Copenhagen Accord could provide new resources to PAs. BRAZIL proposed deleting reference to REDD financing, underscoring the need for new and additional financial resources both under UNFCCC and CBD. BRAZIL and ARGENTINA also suggested eliminating references to the Copenhagen Accord. IRAN queried about references to carbon storage and capture in PAs.
On MPAs, BELGIUM supported an international list of significant marine areas in need of protection in ABNJ. CANADA and AUSTRALIA suggested the using scientific and technical guidance on biogeographic classification systems and scientific criteria in identifying marine areas in need of protection in ABNJ. NORWAY and ARGENTINA highlighted that the UNGA is the appropriate body to establish options for the establishment of MPAs in ABNJ. DENMARK noted that designation of MPAs in ABNJ should take into account national processes and claims. IRAN reiterated objections to references to UNCLOS.
IUCN highlighted: the need to understand the costs of establishing and managing PAs; the importance of PAs for carbon storage and capture; and the role of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas in providing guidance to CBD parties. THE NATURE CONSERVANCY called for an ad hoc meeting, involving all relevant stakeholders, to accelerate progress in the establishment of MPAs; and, with IIFB and KALPAVRIKSH, on behalf of several civil society organizations, stressed the importance of the full range of PA governance types. The WORLD ALLIANCE OF MOBILE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES called for reviewing PA legislation and polices to ensure recognition of indigenous and community conserved areas.
GLOBAL TAXONOMY INITIATIVE: On GTI (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/15 and INF/35), several delegations expressed concern about dwindling taxonomic expertise, with BELGIUM noting that the CBD objectives cannot be implemented without sound taxonomic knowledge. FINLAND favored providing support for the preservation of indigenous and local communities’ taxonomic knowledge and, with GHANA, suggested ways for increasing awareness about the importance of taxonomy. Several countries raised concerns about funding and capacity building.
CROATIA underscored the need for research on the biological scale. KENYA called for mechanisms to accelerate the implementation of the GTI. INDONESIA preferred “requesting,” rather than “encouraging,” parties to facilitate the development of needed capacity. GERMANY proposed to develop a comprehensive strategy for capacity building on GTI at global and regional levels under the CBD.
CANADA supported consideration of appropriate conditions under an international ABS regime to maximize scientific collaboration and facilitate technology transfer, while INDIA and BRAZIL opposed reference to the international ABS regime, given that negotiations are still ongoing.
IN THE BREEZEWAYS
When both Working Groups closed their afternoon sessions before 6pm and a full day ahead of their schedule, many delegates appeared satisfied that discussions had proceeded “better than expected.” Others, however, wondered about the price of such steady pace of progress, noticing that difficult questions had been taken off the table. Some in particular were puzzled by the fact that those parties lamenting lack of progress on communities’ participation in the context of protected areas did not offer concrete suggestions to address this problem. Others pointed out that language on participatory management of natural resources, communities’ involvement in research programmes and benefit-sharing was removed from the draft recommendation on mountain biodiversity. A seasoned negotiator said, however, such a price may be worth paying in order to submit clean text to the COP.