Over the past two months, civil society groups from all over the world within the CBD Alliance network have been discussing, debating and coming to agreement on what they believe to be the key issues for the Hyderabad COP. Together we have prepared a set of 12 COP11 briefing notes on the following agenda items:
Nagoya Protocol on ABS: A tool to fight biopiracy? (Agenda item 2)
Nagoya Protocol on ABS: A tool to fight biopiracy? (Agenda item 4)
Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity: Balancing on one leg? (Agenda item 10)
Forests and REDD+ Safeguards (Agenda item 11.1 and 13.2)
Geoengineering: Dead End for Biodiversity? (Agenda item 11.2)
Biodiversity and Development: Bridging ‘The’ Gap (Agenda item 12)
Inland waters (Agenda item 13.3)
Synthetic Biology as a New and Emerging Issue for the CBD (new and emerging issue)
In 2012 and beyond, we will continue to face compounding biodiversity, food, fuel, economic and climate crises. Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is fundamental to addressing these crises, and charting a truly sustainable path for humanity. We therefore reiterate our call on Parties to strengthen (not weaken) the Convention’s core principles – like the ecosystem approach, the precautionary principle, and an understanding that biodiversity cannot be separated from those humans who nurture, defend and sustainably use it.
Presented below are some of key demands from the CBD Alliance network arising from these briefing notes, calling Parties to make strong commitments in Hyderabad. We call on the SCBD and Parties to commit to implement (the good bits in) past Decisions, instead of always making more (and often weaker) Decisions. We believe that COP 11 must continue to build on the policy achievements of the past – by enforcing and strengthening them.
At COP 11 Parties must:
- Complete the issue of the legally binding ABS compliance mechanism and prepare the Protocol for implementation. Parties must create the necessary legislative, administrative or policy measures to realise the CBD provisions on ABS;
- Create a mechanism to monitor the infractions of CBD provisions on ABS and provide technical and legal advice to affected Parties on legally addressing these infractions within the framework of CBD.
- Adopt measurable indicators, national milestones and regular reporting on the Aichi targets to monitor and incentivize implementation of the CBD and its strategic plan, including a mid-term review to be published as GBO-4.
- Decide on means for better compliance and implementation, bearing in mind that the CBD is a legally binding treaty based on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, set from the start towards implementation and not towards producing papers;
- Fulfil their reporting obligations as soon as possible so that financial contributions and needs are evident, and financial targets can be set in order to fulfil the Aichi Targets. Where needed, industrialized countries must support developing countries in fulfilling their assessments;
- Not endorse risky and untested Innovative Financial mechanisms and policies, and develop and provide a broad range of social, cultural, legal and economic incentives for biodiversity conservation, restoration and truly sustainable use by Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and other small-scale resource users;
- Resolve the issue of rights and tenure in light of existing international commitments to uphold Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ land, resource and tenure rights, including UNDRIP, the FAO voluntary guidelines, and the Rio+20 outcome document;
- Ensure that the decisions at COP11 are consistent with CBD’s commitments to promote the full and effective participation of IPLCs as well as to respect, preserve and maintain their knowledge, innovations and practices;
- Underline the importance of EBSAs as a means towards conserving and sustaining the world’s marine and coastal biodiversity, while at the same time acknowledging the need for, and ensuring, the full and effective participation of IPLCs and civil society in the EBSA description process. Also ensuring that all future work on this draws on their traditional, scientific, technical and technological knowledge.
- Adopt a forest definition that recognizes forests as an ecosystem with its natural diversity and the participation of forest and forest-dependent peoples; and adopt a definition of sustainable forest management that ensures compliance with the CBD and its Aichi Targets, ensuring the conservation of forest biodiversity and primary forests;
- Affirm that there is currently no transparent, global and effective regulatory structure for oversight of geoengineering activities and reaffirm the de facto moratorium of 2010. No other body adequately oversees governance of geoengineering, and the CBD is the correct body to do so;
- Reform legislative, policy and institutional regimes at the national level to build capacity to effectively pursue biodiversity related poverty reduction strategies and plans;
- Ensure that food, health, water, and livelihood security based on the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources are promoted and sustained;
- Defend and protect the smallholder and peasant farmers, herders, fishers and other small-scale food providers who conserve and develop agricultural biodiversity thereby securing future food. In so doing, they must prohibit any systems, methods, processes or technologies, which might damage biodiversity and related ecosystem functions in managed ecosystems.
- Remove all perverse legal and economic incentives that encourage destructive private or public sector investments in biodiversity exploitation or other processes that damage biodiversity;
- Apply the precautionary principle and take a strong position countering expansion of industrial biofuels;
- Reject dangerous technologies associated with the bioeconomy, including GE trees, algae and crops bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, biochar, cultivation of invasive species and development of synthetic biology technologies and synthetic organisms;
- Adopt a moratorium on the environmental release and commercial use of synthetic biology due to the lack of an adequate scientific basis to justify their use and release or to assess associated risks for biodiversity, socio-economic risks, culture and traditional knowledge, practices and innovations.
These briefings were developed by representatives of civil society facilitated by the CBD Alliance. It should not be understood as representing the position of the CBD Alliance nor civil society in general. Rather it is meant to provide background and current information, as well as some viewpoints on key issues for COP11. The views represented in this paper are those it’s contributors. "