UN biodiversity body provides advice for 2020 Biodiversity Conference

The Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) subsidiary body on science recommended elements that will be used at next year’s biennial UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, that will include discussions on an ambitious, transformative and effective Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Some 673 delegates representing 118 countries convened in Montreal for the 23rd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-23), held from November 25 to 29.

The agreed recommendations include decisions suggested to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference.

“The results of SBSTTA-23 illustrated the critical role this scientific body of the Convention plays in ensuring that all work under it is underpinned by sound science,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, acting executive secretary.

“To that end, Parties have identified key elements of the scientific base for the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. While much work remains to be done, we are well on our way to achieve a framework that is both ambitious and effective,” Mrema added.

In late 2020, the 196 Parties to the Convention will adopt the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The global agreement will offer an unparalleled opportunity to advance progress on the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity, while strengthening interlinkages between biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development agendas.

Development of this framework is based on an open and transparent consultative process, engaging all Parties and stakeholders in a meaningful and integrated manner. The process is informed by best available science and evidence base learning also from relevant global and other assessments, such as the IPBES Global Assessment.

At SBSTTA-23, governments agreed on the following recommendations:

* Informing the scientific and technical evidence base for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The Parties stressed the need for action to address indirect and direct drivers of biodiversity loss, and to tackle climate change and land degradation in an integrated manner.

This includes scaling up existing measures and initiating steps to achieve transformative change. They recognized that to achieve the 2050 vision of the CBD, “Living in harmony with nature,” changes are needed in finance and economics that support pathways to sustainability.

Biodiversity and climate change

The Parties recognized that biodiversity loss, climate change, desertification and land degradation are inseparable, interdependent challenges of “unprecedented severity.”

They noted that limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels is not sufficient to halt biodiversity loss, but would significantly reduce it.

They added that nature-based solutions provide approximately 37 percent of climate-change mitigation needed by 2030 to keep warming below 1.5 degree Celcius .

Ecosystem-based approaches to climate-change adaptation, mitigation and disaster-risk reduction are indispensable to achieving multiple globally agreed goals, including the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development agenda.

Possible elements of work on the links between nature and culture in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Scientific Body built on the results of the previous 11th meeting of the Convention’s Working Group on Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

They considered increased interagency cooperation bringing together the CBD, Scientific and Cultural Organization, IUCN and indigenous peoples and local communities, and other partners to integrate biological and cultural diversity-nature and culture-in the development of the post-2020 framework.

Sustainable wildlife management

The Parties recognized the importance of the sustainable use of biodiversity in wildlife management, including the contribution of indigenous peoples and local communities.

They agreed to strengthen collaboration among multilateral environment agreements and international organizations to tackle illegal, and unsustainable use and trade of wildlife trade. Additional work is still required to implement decisions on sustainable wildlife management, and voluntary guidance for a sustainable wild meat sector.

Technical and scientific cooperation

The importance of technical and scientific cooperation to implement the post-2020 framework were, likewise, recognized.

Such cooperation will need to extend across a wide range of fields and disciplines to support the mainstreaming of biodiversity.

SBSTTA asked for additional views and suggestions for matters, such as technology horizon scanning, assessment and monitoring, and examples of effective institutional mechanisms, partnerships, networks, and regional and subregional institutional arrangements.

Results to facilitate the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean

The Parties considered the outputs of a regional workshop that described 17 areas that are meeting the criteria for Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and adjacent areas.

These results fill an important geographical gap in the work under the Convention to describe EBSAs globally.

They acknowledged the collaboration of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, and the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission and their pioneering work related to EBSAs in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.

They encouraged continued efforts to describe EBSAs using the best available science and emphasized that EBSAs can inform the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

New and emerging issues

The Parties deferred consideration of whether synthetic biology would be classified as a new and emerging issue to its 24 meeting, and recommended that pending the outcome of that meeting, the Conference of the Parties not to add new and emerging issues to the SBSTTA agenda in the coming biennium.

The SBSTTA, the intergovernmental body responsible for providing scientific, technical and technological advice related to the implementation of the Convention, plays a key role in assessing the current status of the world’s biodiversity, identifying solutions and in bringing emerging issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity to the attention of the global community.

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