The 21st meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA21) met in Montreal, Canada, from the 11-14 of December 2017. As an open-ended intergovernmental scientific advisory body that provides the Conference of the Parties (COP) with timely advice relating to the implementation of the Convention, the meeting gathered technical experts, civil society and governmental officials from all over the world.
The SBSTTA reports on all aspects of the COP’s work and provides assessments of the status of biological diversity and of the types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, aside from responding to questions that the COP puts to the body. This year, the items considered during the plenary session were the following:
- Scenarios for the 2050 Vision for biodiversity, and links between the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Tools for evaluating the effectiveness of policy instruments for the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.
- Sustainable wildlife management: guidance for achieving a more sustainable bushmeat sector.
- Biodiversity and human health.
- Mainstreaming of biodiversity into the sectors of energy and mining, infrastructure, and manufacturing and processing industry, and health: scientific and technical considerations and use of the programmes of work of the Convention.
As coordinator of the Advisory Committee on Subnational Governments (AC SNG), and manager of the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform (R4BLP), nrg4SD hosted and participated in several events at the SBSTTA21 and its preparation workshops.
IAS Expert Workshop
Following a request of the COP13, the Executive Secretary prepared draft guidance and tools on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) for consideration of the SBSTTA21 and therefore gathered a group of specialists around the subject. From December 6-9, experts from Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand and Sweden, and organizations such as IUCN and nrg4SD, prepared draft supplemental guidance in relation to the incorporation of unintentional introductions of alien species as pets, aquarium and terrarium species; explored the need for tools that could eventually facilitate the necessary control of live alien species via e-commerce and developed technical guidance for conducting cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis for the management of IAS, among other tasks.
The contribution to civil society, representatives of indigenous peoples and subnational governments organizations, such as nrg4SD, to the tasks mandated by the COP13 was fundamental to create a positive outcome that will foster the CBD’s work on IAS.
R4BLP Strategy Meeting
One of the keynote events was the Strategy Meeting of the R4BLP, a flagship initiative of nrg4SD, that is now a global community of 12 proactive regional governments working together to conserve and protect biodiversity, encourage healthy ecosystems, and promote sustainable livelihoods for their citizens. The members present: Aichi, Quebec and Ontario, and the members attending online: Catalonia, Basque Country, Lombardy, Palawan and Wales stressed the importance of cross jurisdictional learning exchanges and how they will continue, in 2018, using their ground experience to contribute guidance to the CBD.
Mr. Erie Tamale, Acting Senior Programme Officer, Capacity-building and Outreach, commented, also present at the meeting, agreed that the learning priorities for 2018 that will the focus of the R4BLP work are highly relevant for the CBD, those are:
- The sustainable use of pollinators;
- Protected areas and other measures for enhanced conservation and management;
- The linkage of Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs; and
- Partnerships with the productive sectors of agriculture for best environmental practices.
Advisory Committee on Subnational Governments’ Meeting during the SBSTTA21
Building on the importance of subnational governments and their contribution to the CBD processes, the members of the AC SNG also met during the SBSTTA21 and initiated the development of a common agenda for SBSTTA22 and COP14, events in which subnational leadership will play a relevant role.
Leaders of the AC of the regions of Aichi, Quebec and Ontario met with Executive Secretary Cristiana Paşca Palmer and sent a unified message that emphasized the importance of decentralized initiatives that contribute to the greater collective effort, and at the same time, help their nations, ultimately, Parties of the Convention reach their biodiversity targets and serve as a testing ground to evaluate strategies and implementation techniques.
The side event “Importance of Subnational Governments for mainstreaming biodiversity into the sectors of energy and mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing industry and health”, organized by the Group of Leading Subnational Governments toward Aichi Biodiversity Targets (GoLS), nrg4SD, ICLEI and CBD took place on December 14.
This event showcased the efforts regions such as Aichi, Campeche, Catalonia, Gangwon-do, Ontario, Québec, and associations like the ANAAE, are taking to reach the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 1-4 in the fields of infrastructure, health and mining.
Additionally, it represented an opportunity to discuss the role of subnational governments, and their supporting organizations, like nrg4SD and ICLEI and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in the efforts of pursuing vertical alignment between parties and regions.
Programme and Relevant Documents
The complete official schedule of the SBSTTA21 is available at the following link.
A list of side-events can be found at this link.