Daily report for 22 May 2024

26th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 26) and 4th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 4)

The fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 4) focused on resource mobilization and the financial mechanism as well as on capacity building and development, technical and scientific cooperation, and technology transfer, the clearing-house mechanism (CHM), and knowledge management. The contact group on mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review met in the evening.

Delegates further celebrated the International Day for Biodiversity by holding a special session at lunchtime.

Resource Mobilization and Financial Mechanism

Resource Mobilization: Ines Verleye (Belgium) and Patrick Luna (Brazil), Co-Chairs of the Advisory Committee on resource mobilization, reported on the committee’s work, including its two in-person meetings. They noted that it developed draft recommendations as a basis for further work by SBI, trying to reflect various views in a balanced manner.

The Secretariat introduced document CBD/SBI/4/5. Many delegates expressed appreciation for the work of the Advisory Committee.

Zimbabwe for the AFRICAN GROUP, with the SEYCHELLES, SOUTH AFRICA, NIGERIA, KENYA, INDIA, and others stressed the need to close the financing gap to achieve the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework’s (GBF) Goals and Targets. The AFRICAN GROUP, Jamaica for the LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN GROUP (GRULAC), INDONESIA, and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION lamented slow progress on GBF Target 19 (mobilize USD 200 billion annually for biodiversity from all sources, including USD 30 billion through international finance), urging, with CHINA, developed country parties to ensure the target is achieved. KENYA proposed appointing a panel of experts to analyze whether obligations under Target 19 have been met.

GRULAC and INDONESIA emphasized obligations for developed country parties under CBD Articles 20 (financial resources), 21 (financial mechanism), and 39 (financial interim arrangements). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION and the SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC stressed the importance of political impartiality in the consideration of beneficiary country parties, eligible for Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION further supporting establishing an open-ended working group to continue work on resource mobilization and the financial mechanism, and TÜRKIYE suggesting the working group address the need for a dedicated global instrument.

The AFRICAN GROUP, the EU, the UK, the PHILIPPINES, and many others expressed appreciation for the study on the biodiversity finance landscape. The AFRICAN GROUP and the SEYCHELLES stressed the need to address identified gaps. NIGERIA called for a targeted needs assessment. The EU suggested reflecting best practices, lessons learned, and positive trends.

The AFRICAN GROUP and GRULAC, supported by many parties from the two regions, urged establishing a global biodiversity fund under the Conference of the Parties (COP). They noted that interim arrangements under the GEF and the GBF Fund, despite best efforts, are still limited for effective GBF implementation. KENYA proposed establishing an expert advisory committee to develop relevant modalities.

CANADA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, and SWITZERLAND welcomed the establishment and capitalization of the GBF Fund and requested deleting the annex on elements of a dedicated global instrument. The EU stressed the need to work with existing structures, noting that any discussion on the feasibility of additional arrangements should not prejudge the establishment of a new fund. All those supporting retaining the current structure suggested, with MEXICO and the UK, postponing the relevant decision. The EU, NORWAY, the UK, and others urged expanding the donor base, calling on developed country parties, and developing country parties able to voluntarily do so, to take on these commitments.

CHINA urged development of criteria to determine the best way forward. COSTA RICA called for strengthening the GEF’s management, opining that it is not the right time to address an alternative financial mechanism. INDIA proposed that the GEF establish a transparent, participatory mechanism with an equitable governance structure. TÜRKIYE suggested further discussion on the need and feasibility of a dedicated global instrument.

The AFRICAN GROUP, ARGENTINA, the EU, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, and others supported mandating another meeting of the Advisory Committee to address benefit sharing from digital sequence information (DSI), following the second meeting of the Working Group on DSI. NORWAY and MALAWI expressed hope that the multilateral mechanism on DSI can contribute substantially to benefit sharing. BANGLADESH called for a regional intergovernmental committee for mobilizing resources, notably on DSI.

On further involvement of the private sector and philanthropic organizations, GRULAC, supported by BRAZIL and CUBA, stressed that all sources should be addressed, cautioning there is no substitute for developed country party obligations under the Convention. The PHILIPPINES encouraged further private sector investment in biodiversity-friendly instruments, and highlighted payments for ecosystems services, green bonds, and other innovative solutions.

The EU, Tonga for PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES present at SBI 4, CANADA, INDIA, the SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC, and others welcomed the draft revised strategy for resource mobilization 2025-2030. SOUTH AFRICA called for assessing its effectiveness. CANADA urged reviewing the strategy at COP 18 rather than COP 17. The EU and INDIA noted the need to limit harmful financial flows and suggested addressing the non-exhaustive list of voluntary actions to strengthen, simplify, and reform existing instruments for biodiversity finance, annexed to the document. BRAZIL expressed caution about the list of voluntary actions.

NORWAY, AUSTRALIA, MEXICO, and JAPAN urged tapping into all financial sources. FIJI urged clear guidance for rapid fund mobilization. The REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA supported increasing and enhancing funding, including for countries with economies in transition. ARGENTINA said biodiversity financing approaches must align with national strategies. COLOMBIA urged agreement on credit mechanisms to enable investments on biodiversity without increasing parties’ debt. MADAGASCAR emphasized the need for a flexible resource mobilization strategy. GABON urged synergies among all sectors for the transparent mobilization of resources. LEBANON drew attention to necessary support for national biodiversity strategies and action plans. EGYPT emphasized the need to ensure that potential market-based solutions do not have negative implications on biodiversity and human rights.

Major Groups and other stakeholders recognized efforts to align the draft resource management strategy with whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches; emphasized that resource mobilization is key for GBF implementation; cautioned negative impacts of market-based approaches on people and biodiversity; and stressed the need to address structural constraints, including debt justice. They proposed, receiving party support, to among others enhance or create direct access to funding for Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs), women, and youth, and ensure environmental and social safeguards; and urged using the human rights-based approach. A coalition of non-governmental organizations launched the “USD 20 billion x 25 for nature” campaign.

Intergovernmental organizations and international conventions urged closing the biodiversity financing gap and addressing harmful subsidies; expressed readiness to continue supporting parties; stressed the need to follow the human rights-based approach; and supported increased cooperation.

A contact group was established to continue deliberations.

Financial Mechanism: The Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CBD/SBI/4/6) and the preliminary report of the GEF Council (CBD/SBI/4/6/Add.1).

Sam Johnston, independent evaluator for the sixth review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism, addressed the review’s modalities.

Mark Gimski, GEF, provided details on projects under the eighth replenishment cycle (GEF-8), highlighting high programming efficiency and portfolio performance.

Some delegates, including the AFRICAN GROUP, noted that their interventions under the agenda item on resource mobilization addressed the financial mechanism.

The EU emphasized the GEF’s role in GBF implementation. Noting underutilized funding, she called on parties to fully use their respective allocations, highlighting maximum flexibility on STAR (System of Transparent Allocation of Resources) allocations under GEF-8. She stressed the need to review needs for GEF-9 and noted room for improvement regarding mobilizing additional resources from all sources.

The Cook Islands, for PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES present at SBI 4, called for a standalone target on implementation, reporting, and clearinghouse functions.

BRAZIL, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, INDIA, SWITZERLAND, and others highlighted the timely establishment of the GBF Fund. The UK and NEW ZEALAND welcomed the GBF Fund approving its first projects just 18 months after COP 15. JAPAN emphasized the need for effective utilization of resources under the GBF Fund.

BRAZIL lamented that funding targets “fall immensely short” of GBF Target 19 aspirations. INDIA urged equitable governance and transparency in funding awards. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION urged changes to make GEF decision-making processes fairer, reiterating concern about the current distribution of resources. CHINA said the GEF plays an important role and is hard to replace in the short term.

MEXICO, COLOMBIA, and others urged direct access to GEF funds for IPLCs, women, and youth. ARGENTINA stressed the need for clear guidance to the GEF, including about governance. The DRC pointed to the funding gap and noted that other funds, including the Loss and Damage Fund for climate change, have been more successful in securing funding. CUBA urged reforming the financial mechanism.

Major Groups and other stakeholders urged ensuring: dedicated funding streams for IPLCs, women, and youth; delivery on the GEF’s “aspirational” target that 20% of total resources allocated under the GBF Fund be dedicated to support actions by IPLCs; and IPLC and stakeholder participation in determining programmatic directions for GEF-9 and in the review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism.

Chair Reddy noted a conference room paper will be prepared for further discussion.

Capacity Building, Cooperation, Technology Transfer, and Knowledge Management

The Secretariat introduced documents CBD/SBI/4/7, Add.1, Add.2, and Add.3 on capacity building and development, technical and scientific cooperation, and technology transfer, the CHM, and knowledge management, highlighting the development of a mechanism comprising regional and subregional technical and scientific support centers, to be coordinated by a global coordination entity. He noted SBI 4 is mandated to develop modalities for operationalizing the entity for COP 16 consideration.

Motohiro Hasegawa (Japan), Co-Chair of the Informal Advisory Group (IAG) on technical and scientific cooperation, reported on the IAG’s work and advice.

The EU supported the draft decision on technical and scientific cooperation, and adopting the annexed modalities, dependent on the COP decision regarding the global entity. Egypt, for the AFRICAN GROUP, and Cuba, for GRULAC, stressed the importance of needs-based approaches to facilitate developing country parties’ implementation of the GBF.

The EU, the AFRICAN GROUP, GRULAC, and many others welcomed the proposed network of regional and subregional support centers, and MALAWI urged the signing of host agreements.

 The AFRICAN GROUP requested extending the IAG’s mandate to address the centers’ geographical distribution, and GRULAC supported the IAG’s recommendation to fast-track resource mobilization for the centers. MOROCCO urged an effective financial mechanism for the strategic framework on capacity building.

The EU and the AFRICAN GROUP supported the Secretariat being the global coordination entity. The EU noted that support could be provided by the Global Knowledge Support Service for Biodiversity, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA preferring the Bio-Bridge Initiative as an interim solution. The AFRICAN GROUP requested clarity on potential conflicts of interest. BRAZIL highlighted the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as a potential host. The UK and ARGENTINA urged discussing the modalities for a global entity to facilitate a decision at COP 16. ARGENTINA and CANADA requested providing detailed budgetary information. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION asked to bracket provisions on the network of support centers, noting that information was received late, and to postpone discussions.

The EU and the AFRICAN GROUP welcomed the CHM work programme. The EU encouraged parties to update information on their CHM focal point, and the AFRICAN GROUP called on UNEP to facilitate capacity building on using the Convention and its Protocols’ CHMs.

The EU and ZIMBABWE supported the adoption of the knowledge management strategy, underlining the work of the IAG and the ad hoc open-ended working group on Article 8(j) and related provisions. ARGENTINA urged discussion of artificial intelligence and DSI, and CANADA urged the knowledge management strategy’s adoption at COP 16. Discussions will continue.

Contact Group on Mechanisms for Planning, Monitoring, Reporting, and Review

Co-Chairs Gillian Guthrie (Jamaica) and Carolina Caceres (Canada) opened the first session of the contact group, considering a non-paper addressing elements comprising the enhanced multidimensional approach to planning, monitoring, reporting, and review, focusing their discussions on the global review.

In the Breezeways

On the second day of SBI 4, coinciding with the International Day for Biodiversity, delegates were reminded that they were convening in the room in which the Convention’s text was adopted on 22 May 1992. In a special lunchtime event, delegates reminisced on this 32-year journey, including the landmark adoption of the GBF, underlined by this year’s theme: “Be Part of the Plan.” For some delegates, however, Wednesday’s plenary discussions on resource mobilization and the financial mechanism felt like groundhog day, with one noting that “entrenched positions, which have been reiterated for years, are not showing signs of moving closer.” Many delegates expressed frustration with the problems in accessing funding under the GEF and its ability to raise funds, instead urging the creation of a dedicated financial mechanism under the COP. For others, the limited time remaining to reach the 2030 deadline for targets means there is no time to reinvent the wheel.

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