Governments advance negotiations on ambitious global biodiversity framework
Following 15 days of negotiation in Geneva, world governments have produced a strong basis for a post-2020 global biodiversity framework to safeguard the health of the planet, scheduled for final agreement at UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China this year.
The overarching goals of the draft framework – are to protect the elements of biodiversity at all levels (genetic, species and ecosystem), sustainability and human well-being in the use of biodiversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of biodiversity — were reaffirmed during the Geneva sessions.
Many suggestions added to the text, as well as milestones to assess progress, require additional consideration, with governments differing on need and pace.
The 21 draft targets for the framework also took centre stage in discussions, with extensive engagement and suggestions for added elements coming from all parties and regions. The intense deliberations and high level of engagement by delegates led to extensive talks, meaning that much of the text would require streamlining.
However, this shows that world governments hold great importance in the discussions.
“Governments came to Geneva eager to meet in person and make progress on urgent action on the goals, targets and institutions needed to protect nature,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adding: “They have engaged in intense discussions drawing a variety of positions and shown the power of multilateralism and a willingness to seek common ground.”
“When we started the meeting, the text under discussion was our proposed first draft,” noted Francis Ogwal, who with Basile van Havre, co-chairs the Global Biodiversity Framework negotiations working group.”
He continued: “Following the engagement and discussions here in Geneva, this text is now clear that of world governments and we are in a party-led process.”
“During the session, governments retained the overall shape and structure of the first version of the framework, which includes goals, targets and means of implementation, but added many other elements and qualifications that require further negotiation,” van Havre stated.
“These will be held in June in Nairobi, where delegates will further refine the framework and agree on language to present for adoption in Kunming,” he added.
The complex and new issue of benefit-sharing resulting from the use of information provided as a result of digital sequence information related technologies has emerged as a central issue for many parties to the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing.
The science body, Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), had extensive discussions on monitoring progress, examining existing and proposing new indicators, using a “traffic-light” system to judge the readiness of different indicators.
“Parties have taken the time to provide the best available scientific advice in support of this ambitious framework,” said Hesiquio Benitez, Chair of SBSTTA-24.
The Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) completed important work on ensuring the mobilisation and scaling-up of finance for biodiversity, including a resource mobilisation strategy and the role of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), besides a mechanism to keep the implementation of the convention under review, to allow for course corrections in convention policy.
“The discussions in the convention’s body to keep implementation under review showed that there is a great deal of work to do,” Charlotta Sörqvist, SBI-3 Chair, observed, adding: “But it also showed a tremendous willingness to work towards a compromise and consensus.”