This report discusses the main developments at the thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-13) to the CBD, which was held on 4–17 December in Cancun, Mexico. The central theme of the conference was ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Well-Being.’ The High Level Segment (HLS) prior to COP-13 focused on four sections: the food and agriculture sector, tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and the forest sector. The most significant aspect of COP-13 was the adoption of the Cancun Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-Being (Cancun Declaration). COP-13 led to thirty-four decisions. Decisions were also reached at COP-13 serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Cartagena Protocol) (COP-MOP-8) and COP-MOP-2 to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization (Nagoya Protocol). This report discusses the main developments that occurred at COP-13, COP-MOP-8, and COP-MOP-2. In particular, this report discusses key aspects of implementation of the CBD. The Cancun Declaration identified seven key points: living in harmony with nature is a fundamental condition for the well-being of all life; biodiversity is a solution for current development and societal challenges; negative impacts on biodiversity are challenges caused by the degradation of the environment, unsustainable practices, invasive alien species, and pollution; human development patterns, behaviours, and activities need to change to respect nature; the integration of environmental, economic, and social dimensions are important in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement for contribution to implementation of the CBD objectives; and there is need for additional efforts to ensure effective implementation of the CBD, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–20, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols. In this regard, a guidance document entitled Mainstreaming Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Tourism Sectors was proposed. The Cancun Declaration emphasized the commitments by governments across all sectors to mainstream biodiversity in national actions by sectoral and cross-sectoral policies incorporating biodiversity values, implementing national biodiversity strategies, strengthening institutional support, promoting sustainable economic growth, integrating biodiversity into educational programs, improving the regulatory framework for private sector activities, and encouraging cooperation and synergies with relevant international organizations. The focal aspects of the agenda included the integration of biodiversity in the forestry, fishery, agricultural, and tourism sectors; the need to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; actions on specific aspects including protected areas, ecosystem restoration, marine biodiversity, biodiversity, and health; synthetic biology and traditional knowledge; strengthening capacity development; and the mobilization of financial resources. In COP-13, items discussed included: the report of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Inter-Sessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the CBD on its ninth meeting; the report of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) on its nineteenth meeting; the report of the SBSTTA on its twentieth meeting; the report on the functional review of the Secretariat; progress in achieving the Aichi Biodiversity targets; progress in implementing the Gender Plan of Action; implications of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development; and enhancing synergies and cooperation between biodiversity-related and other conventions. (1) Achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Targets 11 and 12 The achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 is important for the implementation of other Aichi biodiversity targets; the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–30; the UN 2030 SDG targets; and Articles 5, 7, and 8 of the Paris Agreement. Decision XIII/2 called for parties to identify and explore options to protect marine biodiverse areas; protect bird and marine mammal areas; foster collective action by indigenous peoples and local communities for integration of the areas; increase connectivity; and conduct more systematic assessments of biodiversity outcomes. Furthermore, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, biodiversity-related conventions, and other organizations have been invited to promote integrated efforts for implementation of actions towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 12. (2) Biodiversity and Climate Change Decision XIII/4 on biodiversity and climate change recognized the need for synergies provided by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–30, the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–20, and biodiversity-related Articles 5, 7, and 8 of the Paris Agreement. It emphasized the need to address social, environmental, and economic impacts associated with climate change and disaster, consider ecosystem approaches to climate change adaptations and mitigation, and promote integration of climate change and adaptation of best practices, strategies, and methodologies. (3) Ecosystem Restoration A short-term Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration was created to promote restoration of degraded natural and semi-natural ecosystems—for timely achievement of Targets 14 and 15 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets—by the assessment of opportunities. Improvement of an institutional-enabling environment, implementation and monitoring, evaluations, and feedback for ecosystem restoration have been identified as four key activities of the action plan (Decision XIII/5). (4) Biodiversity and Human Health The health–biodiversity linkage for improving health and well-being has been recognized by valuing the importance of traditional knowledge as well as conventional scientific knowledge in realizing health benefits of biodiversity. Decision XIII/6 called for support for further research on the relationship between biodiversity and the emergence of infectious diseases, inter-linkages between dietary diversity, health, and diversity of crops, and so on. Furthermore, it called for the dissemination of the book Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, A State of Knowledge Review, which was developed by the World Health Organization and the CBD Secretariat. Twelve areas of collaborative work were identified. (5) Forest Biodiversity Decision XIII/7 emphasized the resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council on international arrangements on forests beyond 2015 for the achievement of forest-related Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Suggestions included using the role of the UN Forum on Forests in developing the strategic plan 2017–30 of the international arrangement on forests; the members of the collaborative partnering in forests in preparing the work plan on sharing experiences on the forest-related Aichi targets; and identifying actions for integrated management of forests. (6) Marine Debris and Anthropogenic Underwater Noise The general definition of marine debris accepted in Decision XIII/10 is ‘any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material discarded, disposed of, lost or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment.’ This includes materials transported into the marine environment from land by rivers, drainage or sewage systems, or winds. The use of general approaches to prevent and mitigate impacts of marine debris on marine and coastal biodiversity and habitats was suggested. The need to address impacts of marine debris on marine and coastal biodiversity was suggested, taking into consideration Resolution 2/11 on Marine Plastic Litter and Microplastics by the UN Environment Assembly of the UN Environmental Program, the G-7 Action Plan to Combat Marine Litter, and the Voluntary Practical Guidance on Preventing and Mitigating the Impacts of Marine Debris on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity and Habitats. Decision XIII/17 proposed the draft glossary for thirty-five terms for Article 8(j). This includes the terms adopted under the Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments. (7) Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources In relation to Decision XIII/16, an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) was established to examine the potential implications of the use of digital sequence information on genetic resources in relation to the three objectives of the convention. The AHTEG is responsible for the scope, legal implications, and terminology related to digital sequence information on genetic resources and the identification of different types of digital sequence information. (8) Synthetic Biology In relation to Decision XIII/17, the operational definition for synthetic biology prepared by the AHTEG on Synthetic Biology was considered for the further deliberations under the CBD and its protocols. It was recognized that there is a need for clarity on whether or not organisms of synthetic biology come under the definition of living modified organisms under the Cartagena Protocol. This decision calls for a coordinated approach on the issue of synthetic biology. In furtherance to this decision, the AHTEG on Synthetic Biology will need to present the review of the technological developments, analyse the benefits and adverse effects, and evaluate the availability of tools for detection and monitoring in relation to synthetic biology. (9) Mo’otz Kuxtal Voluntary Guidelines In relation to Article 8(j) on traditional knowledge, innovations and practices and related provisions, Decision XIII/18 outlines the basis of the adoption of the Mo’otz kuxtal Voluntary Guidelines. These guidelines are organized into two parts: the purpose and approach and the general principles. The guidelines emphasize the need to develop and ensure prior and informed consent, ‘free and prior informed consent,’ or ‘approval and involvement in the development’ of traditional knowledge innovations and practices. The relevance of community protocols and customary law of indigenous communities and local people was highlighted for access to traditional knowledge. (10) Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas The SBSTTA report for description on three ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (the North East Indian Ocean, the North-West Indian Ocean and adjacent Gulf areas, and the Seas of East Asia) as per the ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSA) criteria was summarized in Decision XIII/12. This decision calls for improving the scientific guidance for application of the EBSA criteria; improving the systematic assessment of areas; characterizing the areas that meet the criteria and accessibility; enhancing the use of traditional knowledge and scientific and technical knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities; and enhancing the EBSA repository and information-sharing mechanism. (11) Cartagena Protocol The agenda of COP-MOP-8 included the report of the Subsidiary Body on the implementation, operation, and activities of the biosafety clearing-house (BCH); risk assessment and risk management (Articles 15 and 16); unintentional transboundary movements and emergency measures (Article 17); a review of the implementation and effectiveness of the Cartagena Protocol (Article 33); and liability and redress. (12) BCH Decision VIII/2 urges parties to register with the BCH all the final decisions on the first international transboundary movement of living modified organisms intended for field trials. Furthermore, emphasis has been placed on promoting collaboration among BCH focal points at the regional and sub-regional levels to develop joint modalities of operation between clearing-house mechanisms of the CBD, the BCH, and the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) clearing-house. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have been invited to strengthen the collaboration between their biosafety database and the BCH. (13) Risk Assessment and Risk Management Parties to Decision VIII/12 outlined the need for members to take into account the Voluntary Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organism as a voluntary tool to assist in conducting risk assessments. The Online Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management will be further extended to exchange experiences in this regard. The SBSTTA was asked to review the information provided by the parties and make recommendations to address needs, priorities, and gaps as well as the possible establishment of a new AHTEG. (14) Unintentional Transboundary Movements and Emergency Measures The operational definitions for ‘unintentional transboundary movements’ and ‘illegal transboundary movements’ were suggested in Decision VIII/16 to be used for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and national reporting. ‘Illegal transboundary movement’ is a transboundary movement of living modified organisms carried out in the contravention of the domestic measures to implement the Nagoya Protocol adopted by the party concerned. ‘Unintentional transboundary movement’ is a transboundary movement of a living modified organism that has inadvertently crossed the national borders of a party where the living modified organism was released. The requirements of Article 17 of the Nagoya Protocol apply to such transboundary movement only if the living modified organism involved is likely to have significant adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, also taking into account risks to human health in the affected or potentially affected states. A draft training manual on the detection and identification of living modified organisms was accepted. (15) Nagoya Protocol In relation to COP-MOP-2, based on the review of the progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Target 16 on the Nagoya Protocol, it was suggested that parties and governments implement the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the Nagoya Protocol in a mutually supportive manner (Decision 2/1). The need for capacity building and development activities such as the ABS Capacity Development Initiative was emphasized. Decision 2/2 emphasized the need to increase relevant content and the use of the ABS clearing-house in the six official languages of the United Nations. It urged parties to increase the use of internationally recognized certificates of compliance to facilitate monitoring and compliance and to contribute to legal certainty. (16) Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism The relevance of the development of a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism to address fair and equitable sharing of benefits based on genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge that occur in transboundary situations is an important aspect of the inclusive approach in relation to benefit sharing. Information submission has been requested from governments, indigenous peoples, and local communities in relation to in situ or ex situ genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge where it is not possible to grant or obtain prior informed consent (Decision 2/10). The implications of the use of digital sequence information related to genetic sequences for the objective of Nagoya Protocol were addressed in Decision 2/14. It was suggested that the AHTEG also serve the Nagoya Protocol in compilation, synthesis, and study in accordance with paragraph 3 of Decision XIII/16 of COP-13. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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