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2nd Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework opens Monday, 24 February 2020, in Rome, Italy, after a last-minute change of venue from Kunming, China, due to the ongoing situation following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The meeting will be preceded by the Thematic Consultation on Transparent Implementation, Monitoring, Reporting, and Review for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework from 20-22 February.

Expectations for the Meeting

The Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is tasked with advancing preparations for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This process is expected to lead to the adoption of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the UN Biodiversity Conference in October 2020, in Kunming, China.

At this second meeting, Working Group participants will have their first opportunity to comment on the zero draft of the GBF that was released in January 2020. The zero draft contains three sections: background, introduction to the zero draft, and draft recommendations that the WG may wish to adopt. Annex I contains the zero draft of GBF, and Annex II contains elements of a draft decision on the GBF to be adopted by the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15) in October 2020. Two additional addendums contain draft monitoring frameworks for the goals and targets of the GBF, and a glossary of terms.

Origins of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted on 22 May 1992 and opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”). The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 196 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

Three protocols have been adopted under the Convention. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (January 2000, Montreal, Canada) addresses the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms that may have adverse effects on biodiversity, taking into account human health, with a specific focus on transboundary movements. It entered into force on 11 September 2003 and currently has 171 parties. The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (October 2010, Nagoya, Japan) provides for international rules and procedures on liability and redress for damage to biodiversity resulting from LMOs. It entered into force on 5 March 2018 and currently has 42 parties.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization (October 2010, Nagoya, Japan) sets out an international framework for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and technologies, and by appropriate funding, thereby contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. It entered into force on 12 October 2014 and currently has 114 parties.

Key Turning Points in Strategic Planning

2010 Target: In April 2002 at the sixth meeting of the COP in The Hague, the Netherlands, parties adopted a Strategic Plan 2002-2010 (decision VI/26) to guide further implementation at the national, regional, and global levels. The stated purpose of the plan was to effectively halt the loss of biodiversity so as to secure the continuity of its beneficial uses through the conservation and sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

Parties also committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional, and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth. This target was subsequently endorsed by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the United Nations General Assembly and was incorporated as a target under the Millennium Development Goals.

Aichi Biodiversity Targets: At the tenth meeting of the COP in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010 parties adopted the CBD’s second Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2010 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (decision X/2). Under the theme “Living in Harmony with Nature,” the purpose of the Strategic Plan is to promote effective implementation of the Convention through a strategic approach, comprising a shared vision, a mission, and strategic goals and targets (Aichi Biodiversity Targets), that will inspire broad-based action by all parties and stakeholders. The Plan contains the “2050 Vision for Biodiversity”: By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.

The 20 Aichi Targets are organized under five strategic goals:

  • Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society;
  • Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use;
  • Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity;
  • Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services; and
  • Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management, and capacity building.

This current Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets expire in 2020.

COP 14: At COP 14 in November 2018 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, parties adopted decision 14/34, which set forth a comprehensive and participatory process to update the Convention’s strategic plan, and established an open-ended working group to develop the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at COP 15 in 2020.

The process adopted by parties for the development of the GBF contains a set of principles, the organization of work, and a comprehensive consultation process, including provisions for global, regional, and thematic consultations. The process also required the development of a discussion document summarizing and analyzing the initial views of parties and observers.

Francis Ogwal (Uganda) and Basile van Havre (Canada) were appointed as Co-Chairs of the Working Group.

Preparations for the Working Group

Various events and consultations took place in preparation for the Working Group in order to contribute to an ambitious post-2020 framework and ensure a harmonized approach for its preparation. A high-level Ministerial Roundtable event titled, “Advancing the Biodiversity Agenda and the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework,” was held on 14 March 2019 on the margins of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), in Nairobi, Kenya.

Regional consultations were held in all UN regions in 2019, including: Asia and the Pacific on 28-31 January in Nagoya, Japan; Western European and Others Group and other members of the European Union (EU) on 19-21 March in Bonn, Germany; Africa on 2-5 April in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Central and Eastern Europe on 16-18 April in Belgrade, Serbia; and Latin America and the Caribbean on 14-17 May in Montevideo, Uruguay.

A number of thematic consultations also took place, including:

  • an expert workshop for possible gender elements for the framework held in New York, US, on 11-12 April 2019;
  • a consultative workshop of biodiversity-related conventions held in Bern, Switzerland, on 10-12 June 2019; and
  • a global consultation on the science basis for the framework, held during the ninth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity in Trondheim, Norway, on 2-5 July 2019. This conference convened under the theme “Making biodiversity matter: knowledge and know-how for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework,” and facilitated inputs to ensure the GBF’s development is knowledge-based, just, and inclusive.

First Meeting of the Working Group

The first meeting of the Working Group, which took place on 27-30 August 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, deliberated on the structure of the post-2020 GBF and its future work programme. The Working Group adopted conclusions of the meeting compiled by Co-Chairs Francis Ogwal and Basile van Havre and the report of the meeting, which reflects decisions made by the Working Group, including agreement on:

  • a non-paper on possible elements of the GBF;
  • the preliminary list of meetings, consultations, and workshops for the development of GBF;
  • the dates and venue of the second and third meetings of the Working Group;
  • submissions on the structure of the GBF to be submitted to the Executive Secretary by 15 September 2019;
  • a zero draft text of GBF would be provided six weeks before the second meeting of the Working Group; and
  • a detailed workplan to be prepared by Co-Chairs and the Executive Secretary, and be presented at the informal briefing of the Co-Chairs on 24 November 2019 during the meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA).

The Working Group also agreed to request SBSTTA to provide guidance on specific goals, targets, indicators, baselines, and monitoring frameworks related to the drivers of biodiversity loss for achieving transformative change, within the scope of the three objectives of the convention.

Intersessional Highlights

BBNJ IGC-3: The third session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC-3) on an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) took place at UN Headquarters in New York from 19-30 August 2019. For the first time, delegates discussed treaty text on the basis of a “zero draft” prepared by IGC President Rena Lee (Singapore). The draft was structured along the lines of the package agreed in 2011 on: marine genetic resources, including questions on benefit-sharing; environmental impact assessments; area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, and capacity building and marine technology transfer. Delegates at IGC-3 worked diligently in open informal plenary sessions as well as closed informal sessions, making progress on all the elements of the 2011 package, but acknowledging the need for more work to resolve long standing issues.

Eighth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: The eighth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) met to address a range of policy, implementation, cooperation, and administrative matters of relevance to the Treaty and its Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit-sharing. The main item under discussion concerned a package of measures to enhance the functioning of the MLS, which has been under negotiation for six years and would have resulted in revising the coverage of the MLS and the Standard Material Transfer Agreement used for exchanges of genetic resources in the MLS. Delegates, however, could not reach consensus on such measures, nor on continuing intersessional work on this issue.

11th Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions: The 11th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) took place from 20-22 November 2019 in Montreal, Canada. The Working Group focused on the role of indigenous peoples and local communities and addressed links between nature and culture for the development of the post-2020 framework. Participants also addressed recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and progress towards Aichi Target 18 (traditional knowledge).

SBSTTA 23: SBSTTA 23 convened from 25-29 November 2019 in Montreal, Canada. Participants addressed the scientific and technical base of the post-2020 framework, collating ideas on the 2030 mission and relevant targets. It further focused on biodiversity and climate change, technical and scientific cooperation, and sustainable wildlife management, approving relevant recommendations to forward to the COP.

Further information