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Volume 09 Number 620 - Wednesday, 18 June 2014
WGRI 5 HIGHLIGHTS
Tuesday, 17 June 2014

WGRI 5 resumed its discussions on Tuesday, with an informal dialogue session in the morning, during which two panels discussed:  mainstreaming biodiversity in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and mobilizing resources for achieving the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

In the afternoon, delegates considered: the potential of biodiversity for poverty eradication and sustainable development; and improving the efficiency of structures and processes under the Convention.

In the evening, a contact group on resource mobilization and the financial mechanism met, co-chaired by Jeremy Eppel, UK, and Francis Ogwal, Uganda. A Friends of the Chair group on biodiversity for poverty eradication and sustainable development was also established with Maria Schultz, Sweden, as Chair.

INFORMAL DIALOGUE SESSION

Hem Pande, Chair of WGRI 5, opened the informal dialogue sessions, encouraging delegates to think outside the box.

MAINSTREAMING BIODIVERSITY IN THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: THE ROAD AHEAD: Olav Kjørven, Special Adviser to the UNDP Administrator on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, lauded those involved in ensuring that ecosystems and biodiversity are included as a stand-alone goal in the current draft of the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, and called on delegates to ensure that as the process comes to an end, these elements are embedded in other goals as well.

Hesiquio Benitez Diaz, General Director of International Cooperation and Implementation, CONABIO, Mexico, spoke on being “sincere protagonists” by humanizing the concepts of biodiversity, cautioning against creating new structures and urging focus on the implementation targets in the post-2015 period.

Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director, Indigenous Information Network, Kenya, stressed the need to collaborate, calling for inter-ministerial work that involves ILCs, women, the civil society, and the private sector in order to ensure biodiversity mainstreaming at the national level. She urged governments to include ILCs in the development of their NBSAPs in order to ensure effective implementation.

Cyriaque Sendashonga, Global Director, Programme and Policy Group, IUCN, highlighted examples of successful development of NBSAPs and summarized IUCN’s guiding principles for the formulation of the SDGs, based on, inter alia: interconnectedness among dimensions of sustainable development; nature as an enabler of development; and building on existing commitments such as the Aichi Targets.

Opening the discussion, Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, highlighted the need to use these sessions to promote dialogue between parties and other partner organizations. He underscored the importance of political will to strengthen biodiversity in the current conversations on sustainable development. Delegates then discussed the need to pass a decision on marine and coastal biodiversity in order to send a strong message to the post-2015 development process, and including ILCs as “stakeholders and not competitors” in achieving SDGs. Others reiterated the importance of maintaining pressure to mainstream biodiversity in all of the SDGs, highlighting education as an opportunity for increasing biodiversity awareness. Delegates also considered the SDG language referencing “sustained growth” and not sustainable development, with Kjørven explaining that sustained growth must still be inclusive and sustainable, and that the SDGs are important for both developed and developing countries.

MOBILIZATION OF RESOURCES FOR ACHIEVING THE 2020 AICHI BIODIVERSITY TARGETS: Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Chair of the High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, Costa Rica, addressed the misconception among developing nations of unlimited funds coming from the North via ODA, citing examples from Costa Rica, and noting use of national innovative mechanisms, including payment for environmental services (PES), and removing perverse incentives.

Francis Ogwal, Co-Chair of the Informal Dialogue Seminar on Scaling up Finance for Biodiversity and National Focal Point, Uganda, called for greater commitment to avoid failure of the Strategic Plan due to lack of funds. He stressed the need to assess financial requirements at the national level to address the financial gap, focusing on, inter alia: financial mechanisms, PES, green markets, and biodiversity in climate change finance.

Christina van Winkle, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), highlighted recent work on scaling up financing mechanisms for better biodiversity policies, stressing an urgent need for: additional financing; broader and more ambitious application of policies; more efficient use of existing financial resources; and emphasis on both design and implementation to ensure cost, environmental effectiveness and equity, potentially through safeguards.

Jon Grant, Chair, Ontario Biodiversity Council, former chairman and CEO of The Quaker Oats Company of Canada and CCL Industries, Canada, identified the need to build awareness on the link between healthy people and biologically diverse environments, calling on participants to invite more stakeholders to deliberations, and specifying that within the private sector it is better to choose champions rather than engaging industry associations.

 Caroline Petersen, UNDP Biodiversity Programme, addressed the BIOFIN initiative, and its objective to generate new sources of funding through analyzing needs and opportunities. She highlighted that policies may have unintended negative impacts on biodiversity without addressing other development goals, and stressed the need for a balanced and productive application of resources.

Participants raised awareness on, inter alia: alliances with environmental economists, private companies and the financial sector; empowerment and acknowledgment of ILCs who maintain biodiversity despite extraction policies; perspectives of the relative financial responsibility to meet the Aichi Targets to money spent on fossil fuel subsidies, the military, and revenues from the top ten largest companies; and the need to establish assessment standards for the collection of biodiversity data and balance pressures on domestic resource mobilization with global efforts.

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, provided concluding remarks, stressing, inter alia: the need to address biodiversity conservation as an investment because of its societal benefits; the broad range of available mechanisms; the key role of indigenous and local communities; and the urgent need to reallocate resources.

BIODIVERSITY FOR POVERTY ERADICATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: On Tuesday afternoon, the Secretariat presented the documents on mobilization of resources towards the /Aichi Target achievement (UNEP/CBD/WGRI/5/6, UNEP/CBD/WGRI/5/INF/11, 12 and 25).

MEXICO noted among others: the need to have an updated version of recommendations for COP 12; the importance of collaborating with other bodies of the Convention and international organizations; and the necessity of cross-cutting policies to link biodiversity with SDGs and the development agenda.

JAPAN, supported by INDIA, THAILAND and ECUADOR, suggested taking note rather than endorsing the Dehradun/Chennai recommendations, and underscored the Satoyama Initiative as a good example to promote the sustainable use and management of natural resources linking it to poverty eradication and the development agenda.

SWITZERLAND, supported by NORWAY, stressed the importance of the SDG process and underlined that elements regarding SDGs should be stand-alone. The EU underscored that approaches to poverty eradication vary among countries and noted that no single approach should be overemphasized.

NORWAY highlighted guidance for implementation of the integration of biodiversity and poverty eradication and stressed that post-2015 SDGs offer a unique opportunity for improved biodiversity management.

Several parties spoke on the role of biodiversity towards poverty eradication. BRAZIL, echoed by COLOMBIA and PERU, agreed on the role of biodiversity as a cross-cutting issue in the post-2015 development agenda. BRAZIL proposed that recommendations be less prescriptive.

COLOMBIA shared experiences to incorporate biodiversity and social concerns, underscoring the importance of exchanging information with the OWG on how to implement biodiversity through the SDGs.

ARGENTINA highlighted the sustainable use of biodiversity as an important aspect of sustainable development, indicating support of the outcomes from the Working Group on biodiversity, and seeing the emerging recommendations as voluntary guidelines to be adopted according to national circumstances.

ECUADOR and SOUTH AFRICA shared concrete measures to eradicate poverty and advance biodiversity in their respective countries.

The UN University (UNU) stressed the Satoyama Initiative’s importance to maintain and revitalize landscapes and seascapes as a global approach contributing to poverty eradication and the realization of the Aichi Targets.

TIMOR LESTE addressed human pressures regarding land use, stressing that improving farming systems will lead to a reduction in biodiversity loss.

The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) called for indigenous peoples to be included in the processes and find the right balance between biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) stressed that educational programs for capacity building should be in indigenous languages and that indigenous governance should be strengthened.

WGRI established a Friend of the Chair, chaired by Maria Schultz, Sweden, to further consider this issue.

OPERATION OF THE CONVENTION

The Secretariat introduced the documents (UNEP/CBD/WGRI/5/12, and INF/16/REV1, INF/18, 19 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/18/INF/1).

IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY OF STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES UNDER THE CONVENTION: Delegates discussed various proposals contained in UNEP/CBD/WGRI/5/12. On the organization of meetings of the COP/MOP of the Nagoya Protocol, MEXICO, NEW ZEALAND, PERU, JAPAN, NIGER and others supported option one, which proposes that the COP would serve as the COP/MOP. INDIA, NORWAY, the EU, and others, supported both option one and two (with option two proposing that the COP would consider COP/MOP agenda items, although distinct meetings of each would be formally opened). CANADA supported option two on the condition that savings are accrued and a clear distinction is made between core issues. SENEGAL and BOSNIA AND HERZERGOVINA supported option two. BELARUS supported option 3, which proposes conducting the work of the COP and the COP/MOP separately along the lines that currently prevail under the Cartagena Protocol. INDIA, the EU and others, supported holding the meetings of the Convention and its Protocols over a two week period. South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, with CUBA, ARGENTINA and ECOROPA, stressed that holding these meetings concurrently and over only two weeks may have implications regarding parties’ representation. Many called for further clarification on all of the options.

Many delegates supported the proposal to establish a subsidiary body on implementation to replace the WGRI, and supported the EU’s suggestion for the Secretariat to develop terms of reference for this body. MEXICO and ETHIOPIA supported regional preparatory meetings, while JAPAN noted that this should be decided by each region. NORWAY and others supported the voluntary peer review mechanism, while JAPAN proposed the use of existing structures to avoid duplication of work. Discussing reporting, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, and NEW ZEALAND opposed increasing the number and frequency of reports, and, with many, supported the use of an online reporting tool. The EU, supported by many, suggested that the online reporting tool be fully operational before it is rolled out. SWITZERLAND, with others, supported a joint reporting system for the Convention and its Protocols.

Many delegates supported the proposal to dedicate one week of SBSTTA to scientific and technical dialogue, and the other to formulating recommendations to the COP.

On the coordinated approach to the implementation of biodiversity-related conventions, JAPAN suggested that this be extended to the three Rio Conventions. SWITZERLAND suggested that the issues of merging trust funds of the Convention be discussed by the budget group at COP 12. Delegates will continue consideration of this matter on Wednesday.

CONTACT GROUP: A contact group on the review of implementation of the strategy for resource mobilization co-chaired by Francis Ogwal and Jeremy Eppel met during the evening. The Secretariat introduced the amendments included in a non-paper. Discussions on specific language and additional amendments went on during the evening.

IN THE CORRIDORS

WGRI 5 hosted the first informal dialogues today to mainstream broader concepts into deliberations.  Participation was slightly lower than expected, but many praised the dialogues’ inclusion on the agenda.

Genuine optimism and hope surfaced on the proposals brought forward in discussions on scientific and technical cooperation and technology transfer.  However, looking at the bigger picture, one participant described a “sad undercurrent” that has already emerged as developed and developing countries seem to have already “dug the ditches for who to blame when the Strategic Plan fails”, but also noted on the brighter side that several parties came with “serious agendas” and with “measurable outcomes in mind.”

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Tasha Goldberg, Tallash Kantai, Suzi Malan, and Asterios Tsioumanis. The Digital Editor is Brad Vincelette. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV and DG-CLIMATE) and the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC)). General Support for the Bulletin during 2014 is provided by 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). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022 USA. The ENB team at WGRI 5 can be contacted by e-mail at <suzi@iisd.org>.
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