Governments embark on transformative agenda to achieve global biodiversity targets and prepare the way forward beyond 2020

Heritage Stewardship – Biological Diversity

Governments embark on transformative agenda to achieve global biodiversity targets and prepare the way forward beyond 2020
18 July 2018 CBD – Convention on Biological Diversity
– Inspired by discussions on the possibilities of transformational change, a keynote address by Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar, and a celebration of indigenous culture, more than 1,000 delegates from around the world concluded two critical meetings of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada…

Meetings Outcomes:
Delegates recognized the need to leverage emerging new scientific research including the work of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), such as the recently released regional assessments. Parties also invited greater collaboration between the IPBES and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

A major topic addressed at the meeting was mainstreaming of biodiversity into sectors that depend on biodiversity, and whose actions cause potential adverse impacts to ecosystems and species. Governments recommended a package of actions for governments, businesses and other stakeholders, to facilitate the incorporation of biodiversity considerations into the energy, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing, and health sectors.

Advances in the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol
Countries noted considerable progress in setting access and benefit-sharing frameworks. However, the delegates underlined, that further efforts are needed to make the Protocol fully operational. The meeting also addressed the way forward for advancing on a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism, and on the question of specialised international instruments related to access and benefit-sharing in the context of Article 4.4 of the Protocol.

Digital Sequence Information
Governments generally recognised the positive contribution of digital sequence information on genetic resources for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, but important divergences in views remain with respect to the implications of this issue for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. The understanding of the different perspectives achieved during the meeting will underpin the important decisions to be taken on this topic in Egypt, decisions that could influence the future work of the Convention and its Nagoya Protocol.

Synthetic Biology
On the question of synthetic biology, due to uncertainty around the impacts of organisms with engineered gene drives, countries were called to apply a precautionary approach for the release of such organisms, including when it comes to experimental releases. Underlining that more research and analysis are needed, governments called for broad international cooperation to assess the possible impacts on biodiversity of this technology.

On risk assessment of living modified organisms, including organisms containing engineered gene drives, countries agreed on a process for identifying topics that may warrant the development of international guidelines. Delegates requested the CBD Executive Secretary to commission a study on organisms containing engineered gene drives and modified fish.