The Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convenes today, 16 June 2014, in Montreal, Canada. It will be followed by the 18th meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), which will convene from 23-28 June 2014.
The Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group will address: scientific and technical cooperation and technology transfer (decision XI/2); the strategy for resource mobilization (decision XI/4); the fourth review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism (decision XI/5); biodiversity for poverty eradication and development (decision XI/22); and improving the efficiency of structures and processes under the Convention (decision XI/10). The Working Group is expected to produce draft recommendations for consideration by the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) of the CBD in October 2014, and will address the review of implementation of the Convention, including the items suggested in the multi-year programme of work of the COP for the period 2011-2020.
SBSTTA 18 is expected to, inter alia: review the mid-term progress report towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, including an analysis of how the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 has contributed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals; prepare its report on the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas; consider an assessment of progress in implementing decisions of the COP on invasive alien species; consider incentive measures including obstacles encountered in implementing options identified for eliminating, phasing out or reforming incentives that are harmful for biodiversity; and develop recommendations for consideration by COP 12, as to how the Convention, and in particular SBSTTA, should collaborate with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CBD
The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 194 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The COP is the governing body of the Convention. It is assisted by the SBSTTA, which is mandated, under CBD Article 25, to provide the COP with advice relating to the Convention’s implementation. The WGRI was established by the COP in decision VII/30, paragraph 23, in 2004 to evaluate, report and review implementation of the Convention and its Strategic Plan.
COP 1-4: At its first four meetings (1994-1998), the COP set the general framework for the Convention’s implementation by: establishing the SBSTTA and the Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) designating the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim financial mechanism; adopting a decision on marine and coastal biodiversity (the Jakarta Mandate); establishing the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety to elaborate a protocol on biosafety; establishing a Working Group on Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and a panel of experts on access and benefit sharing (ABS); and adopting a work programme on forest biodiversity and the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI).
CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIOSAFETY: Following six meetings of the Biosafety Working Group between 1996 and 1999, and the first Extraordinary Meeting of the COP (ExCOP) (February 1999, Cartagena, Colombia), delegates adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety at a resumed ExCOP (January 2000, Montreal, Canada). The Protocol addresses the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, taking into account human health, with a specific focus on transboundary movements.
COP 5: At its fifth meeting (May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya), the COP: adopted work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands, incentive measures, Article 8(j), and agricultural biodiversity; endorsed the description of, and operational guidance on, the ecosystem approach; and established a Working Group on ABS.
COP 6: At its sixth meeting (April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands), the COP adopted the Convention’s Strategic Plan, including the target to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The meeting also adopted: an expanded work programme on forest biodiversity; the Bonn Guidelines on ABS; guiding principles for invasive alien species (IAS); the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC); and a work programme for the GTI.
COP 7: At its seventh meeting (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the COP adopted work programmes on mountain biodiversity, protected areas (PAs), and technology transfer and cooperation, and mandated the ABS Working Group to initiate negotiations on an international regime on ABS. The COP also established the WGRI, and adopted: a decision to review implementation of the Convention, its Strategic Plan and progress towards achieving the 2010 target; the Akwé: Kon Guidelines for cultural, environmental and social impact assessments; the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for sustainable use; and guidelines on biodiversity and tourism development.
COP 8: At its eighth meeting (March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil), the COP adopted a work programme on island biodiversity and instructed the ABS Working Group to complete its work with regard to an international regime on ABS at the earliest possible time before COP 10.
COP 9: At its ninth meeting (May 2008, Bonn, Germany), the COP adopted the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, scientific criteria and guidance for marine areas in need of protection, and a roadmap for the negotiation of the international ABS regime; and established an ad hoc technical expert group (AHTEG) on biodiversity and climate change.
COP 10: At its tenth meeting (October 2010, Nagoya, Japan), the CBD COP adopted: the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, which sets out rules and procedures for implementing the Convention’s third objective; the CBD Strategic Plan for the period 2011-2020, including the Aichi biodiversity targets; and a decision on activities and indicators for the implementation of the Resource Mobilization Strategy.
COP 11: At its eleventh meeting (October 2012, Hyderabad, India), the COP adopted an interim target of doubling biodiversity-related international financial resource flows to developing countries by 2015, and at least maintaining this level until 2020, as well as a preliminary reporting framework for monitoring resource mobilization. The COP further requested the IPBES to consider ways in which the activities of the Platform could, as appropriate, contribute to assessments of the achievement of the Aichi Targets and provide information on policy options available to deliver the 2050 vision of the Strategic Plan.
WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(j): At its eighth meeting (7-11 October 2013, Montreal) the CBD Working Group on Article 8(j) adopted a draft plan of action for customary sustainable use; and recommended developing guidelines on repatriation, and on prior informed approval by indigenous and local communities for access to, benefit-sharing from, and reporting and prevention of unlawful appropriation of, traditional knowledge.
SBSTTA 17: SBSTTA 17 (14-18 October 2013, Montreal) adopted three recommendations on: scientific and technical needs for implementing the Strategic Plan; new and emerging issues; and IPBES.
IPBES 2: The second session of IPBES (9-14 December 2013, Antalya, Turkey) adopted a set of decisions, known as “the Antalya Consensus,” which includes: the work programme for 2014-2018, including fast track, thematic, regional and sub-regional assessments and activities for building capacities; a conceptual framework that considers different knowledge systems; and rules and procedures for the Platform on, inter alia, the nomination of future Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) members and procedures for the preparation of the Platform’s deliverables. Delegates also agreed to a decision on a collaborative partnership arrangement with four UN agencies. Although some issues remain unresolved, including some of the rules and procedures and issues on communications and stakeholder engagement, many praised the Antalya Consensus as a major step towards operationalizing the Platform.
ICNP 3: The Third Meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ICNP 3) (24-28 February 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea) adopted recommendations on: the rules of procedure for the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP); monitoring and reporting; capacity building; the draft agenda for COP/MOP 1; the ABS Clearing-House; sectoral and cross-sectoral model contractual clauses, voluntary codes of conduct, guidelines, best practices and standards; a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism; and procedures and mechanisms on compliance. The meeting also exchanged views on the state of implementation of the Protocol, hearing from countries, regions and stakeholders on efforts to operationalize the Protocol.
BBNJ 7: The seventh meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ) (1-4 April 2014, New York), was the first of three meetings convened through General Assembly resolution 68/70 to discuss the scope, parameters and feasibility of a possible new international instrument on BBNJ under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The outcome of these meetings is expected to contribute to a decision to be taken at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
EBSA WORKSHOPS: A series of Regional Workshops to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) were held in: the Southern Indian Ocean region (July 2012, Flic en Flac, Mauritius); the Eastern Tropical and Temperate region (August 2012, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador); the North Pacific region (February 2013, Moscow, Russia); the South-Eastern Atlantic region (April 2013, Swakopmund, Namibia); the Arctic region (March 2014, Helsinki, Finland); the North-West Atlantic region (March 2014, Montreal, Canada); and the Mediterranean region (April 2014, Málaga, Spain). The objective of these workshops was to facilitate the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas through the application of scientific criteria in Annex I of decision IX/20 as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and inter-governmentally agreed scientific criteria, and to provide scientific guidance on the identification of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).
MCB EXPERT WORKSHOP: The Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Expert Workshop (February 2014, London), met to improve and share knowledge on underwater noise and its impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity. The workshop proposed developing practical guidance and toolkits to minimize and mitigate the significant adverse impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise on marine and coastal biodiversity, including marine mammals, in order to assist parties and other governments in applying management measures, as appropriate, for consideration by SBSTTA 18 in preparation for COP 12.