International Convention on Biological Biodiversity - Outcome of the 2018 Conference of the Parties


    At its 14th meeting in 2018, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity reviewed progress towards the Aichi Protocol's biodiversity targets. They adopted a programme of work, a budget and the Vision 2050 scenarios for the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report to be published in 2020. This included covered capacity-building, resource mobilization, reporting, review mechanisms and cooperation.

    The COP adopted among others an integrated programme of work and budget and the scenarios for the 2050 Vision which include a.o. mainstreaming, gender, links with health and with climate change, pollinators, wildlife management, protected areas marine and coastal biodiversity, invasive alien species, digital sequence information, synthetic biology, traditional knowledge and liability.

    At this occasion, the COP also stressed the need to further reduce the environmental impact of the operations of its Secretariat by rationalizing resource use and travel, such as by adopting wider use of videoconferencing facilities, to foster transparency and accountability, relevant to the governance of the Convention, including, inter alia, completed and accepted audit reports.

    1. What is biodiversity?

      Biological diversity - or “biodiversity” which is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms - is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend.

      This diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms. So far, about 1.75 million species have been identified, mostly small creatures such as insects. Scientists reckon that there are actually about 13 million species, though estimates range from three to 100 million1.

      Yet another aspect of biodiversity is the variety of ecosystems such as those that occur in deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers, and agricultural landscapes. In each ecosystem, living creatures, including humans, form a community, interacting with one another and with the air, water, and soil around them.

      It is the combination of life forms and their interactions with each other and with the rest of the environment that has made Earth a uniquely habitable place for humans.


      2. What are the main reasons for considering biological diversity as being a major concern?

        Biodiversity provides a large number of goods and services that sustain our lives. It is thus essential for human health and well-being, economic prosperity, food safety and security, and other critical areas necessary for the individual and collective thriving of all humans and all human societies.

        The loss of wildlife biodiversity initiate cascading alterations of ecosystems as species that play important ecosystem functions (e.g., seed dispersal, seed predation, control of prey species). This loss of ecological interactions creates an internal imbalance of the ecosystem that, in turn, gravely reduces ecosystem functions and services, including food resources biocontrol agents, and disease regulation including a.o. provision of pharmaceutical compounds2. Moreover, between 23 and 36% of birds, mammals, and amphibians used for food or medicine are now threatened with extinction3.

        Recognized by a growing coalition of political leaders, civil society, the business community, indigenous peoples and local communities, youth and other key stakeholders, all could safeguard life on Earth through their dramatically increased and coordinated action.

        One of the key agreements adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro was the Convention on Biological Diversity which sets out commitments for maintaining the world's ecological underpinnings as we go about the business of economic development. The Convention establishes three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.

        2 S.S. Myers et al. (2013). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, 18753-18760.
        3 S.H.M. Butchart et al. (2010). Science 328, 1164–1168.

        3. What was the global vision on biodiversity challenges which emerged from the 14th Conference of the Parties?

          At this 14th Conference of the Parties (COP), the 2050 Vision of the Strategic Plan “Living in harmony with nature” was considered to be a follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. The 2050 Vision is that “by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people”. It contains elements that could be translated into long-term goals for biodiversity and provide context for discussions on possible intermediate biodiversity targets for 2030.

          The COP also concluded that the biodiversity goals reflected in the 2050 Vision could reach broader socioeconomic objectives by deploying a combination of measures:

          • a) Increasing the sustainability and productivity of agriculture, increasing and making better use of biodiversity within agricultural ecosystems to contribute to increases in sustainable production;
          • b) Reducing ecosystem degradation and fragmentation and maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services including through proactive spatial planning, the restoration of degraded lands and ecosystems and the strategic expansion of protected areas;
          • c) Reducing overexploitation of fisheries and other biological resources;
          • d) Controlling invasive alien species;
          • e) Adapting to and mitigate climate change;
          • f) Reducing waste and excessive consumption.

          4. What were then the main decisions of this 14th Conference of the Parties on Biodiversity?

            The four main decisions of the COP were to encourage the Parties:

            1. To undertake cross-sectoral dialogues and joint trainings on sustainable wildlife management, among relevant sectors, including the forestry, agriculture, veterinary and public health, natural resources, finance, rural development, education, legal and private sectors, food processing and trade, as well as indigenous peoples and local communities, and other relevant stakeholders with a view to promoting the application of the voluntary guidance for a sustainable wild meat sector in accordance with national circumstances;
            2. To promote and facilitate the use of monitoring tools and databases, through an exchange of best practices and lessons learned, among Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations, with a view to improving information on sustainable wildlife use, including wild meat hunting, consumption, trade and sales, and legality issues;
            3. To further evaluate multidisciplinary approaches to combining better knowledge of the use of and trade in wildlife, taking into account the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities and livelihood alternatives for the customary sustainable use of wildlife, possibly including an understanding of the taxonomy and ecology of the species involved;
            4. To review and strengthening legal frameworks, the identification and promotion of best practices for sustainably managing and using wildlife, and an examination of the provisions of food and livelihood alternatives relating to customary sustainable use of wildlife through, among other things, a review of existing activities relating to the Partnership.

            5. What were the main conclusions of the COP regarding the scenarios for a 2050 Vision for biodiversity?4

              All the conclusions highlighted the urgent need of adopting more integrative (or holistic or systemic) operational methods, the only ones able to combine, the irreductible multiplicity of the challenges, their constraints and the visions of the various stakeholders involved.

              In this perspective, the 10 main conclusions were that:

              • The current trends, or “business-as-usual” scenarios, show continued loss of biodiversity, with major negative consequences for human well-being, including changes that may be irreversible and that urgent action on biodiversity therefore remains a pressing global societal issue;
              • There is a wide range of plausible futures in the Scenarios for future socio-economic development providing space for developing policy measures. These would lead to varying levels of drivers of ecosystem and biodiversity change, such as climate change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and habitat loss;
              • The biodiversity goals reflected in the 2050 Vision could be attained while also reaching broader socioeconomic objectives by deploying a combination of measures;
              • These measures could be developed in various international “policy mixes” depending on the needs and priorities of countries and stakeholders.
              • The pathways towards a sustainable future, while plausible, require transformational change, including changes in behaviour at the levels of producers and consumers, Governments and businesses; The inclusion of participatory approaches in scenario analysis is a valuable tool for building the capacity for decision-making that focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;
              • Further efforts are needed to understand motivations and facilitate societal and disruptive technological developments to lead to transitions that may contribute to the achievement of the three objectives of the Convention where Governments and international institutions can play a critical role in establishing an enabling environment to foster positive change;
              • A more coherent approach is thus needed on biodiversity and climate change to ensure that impacts are reduced and that biodiversity and ecosystems can contribute to solutions related to climate adaptation and mitigation;
              • Scenarios and models may be useful in informing the development and implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework with a potential for scenarios developed at appropriate scales to inform policymaking and implementation at the national level;
              • Such scenario analyses tailored to regional, national or local circumstances provide information to feed into strategic planning for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and directly support the development of national biodiversity strategies and action plans;
              • This 2050 Vision is consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international goals.

              4 Decisions of the Conference of the parties to the Convention on biological diversity 14th meeting, November 2018 

              6. What are the measures that could be particularly considered to be integrated in international “policy mixes”?

                The measures to be particularly considered in international “policy mixes” depend on the needs and priorities highlighted in the report for countries and stakeholders. Visioning and systemic exercises, at multiple scales and with strong stakeholder engagement are indeed needed to further elucidate global options and promote action. This can be done by allowing stakeholders to recognize the relationships between biodiversity and other sectors, and how enhanced benefits can increase human well-being.

                In particular, it was considered in the COP report that:

                • a) Transformational change in the pathways towards a sustainable future, requires changes in behaviour at the levels of producers and consumers, governments and businesses and thus further understanding of the motivations of these changes; Societal and disruptive technological developments can lead to transitions that may contribute to, or counter, sustainability and the achievement of the three objectives of the Convention. Governments and international institutions can play a critical role in establishing an enabling environment to foster positive change;
                • b) A coherent5 approach on biodiversity and climate change should ensure that impacts on biodiversity of climate change are really reduced, as biodiversity and ecosystems can contribute solutions related to climate adaptation and mitigation. But also that these climate change adaptation and mitigation measures do not negatively impact biodiversity through changes in land management;
                • c) Scenario analyses should be tailored to regional, national or local circumstances to feed into strategic planning that directly support their development of sustainable national biodiversity conservation strategies and action plans;
                • d) For building the capacity for decision-making, inclusive participatory approaches in scenario analysis would be a valuable tool by allowing stakeholders to recognize the relationships between biodiversity and other sectors, and how enhanced benefits can increase human well-being.

                5 And thus truly and methodologically holistic : see below …

                7. What were the main decisions of the COP regarding particularly the energy and mining sectors, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing sectors?6

                  The COP encouraged Parties, and invites Governments and relevant stakeholders, notably public and private entities engaged in these critical sectors:

                  1. To promote the full and effective participation of relevant sectors, indigenous peoples and local communities, academia, women, youth and other relevant stakeholders, where applicable through consultations with indigenous peoples and local communities; this in order to establish and strengthen coordination mechanisms to facilitate addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss;
                  2. To apply best practices on environmental impact assessments and biodiversity mainstreaming to lead to decisions to establish long-term strategic approaches for mainstreaming biodiversity. This in order to promote and strengthen best practices on sustainable consumption and production, including those of public and private financial institutions in relation to the approval of projects and investments in these sectors;
                  3. To apply a mitigation hierarchy when planning and designing new projects and plans and to build capacity and foster capacity-building;
                  4. To evaluate and pursue opportunities to utilize ecosystem-based approaches, such as integrating services in the planning and development of cities biodiversity and ecosystems functions;
                  5. To review and, when appropriate, use existing tools and encourage the application of innovative technologies issued from research and development regarding mainstreaming biodiversity, including policies oriented to business planning, design, supply and value chains, sustainable procurement and consumption;
                  6. To foster such mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in socio-economic and business policies and planning, including through incentives for best practices in supply chains, sustainable production and consumption;
                  7. To review and, as appropriate, update legal frameworks, policies and practices to promote the mainstreaming of biological diversity in these sectors, including through safeguard, monitoring and oversight measures;
                  8. To provide, as appropriate, effective incentives and appropriate governance mechanisms that strengthen best practices and best available and innovative techniques and to establish knowledge platforms to bring together government agencies at different levels;
                  9. To invite multilateral financial institutions and other sources of financial investment, such as development banks, insurance companies and the business sector as a whole, to increase and improve, as appropriate, the implementation of best practices for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

                  6 Including the voluntary guidelines on biodiversity-inclusive impact assessment adopted by the Conference of the Parties in its decision VIII/28.

                  8. Regarding alien species control and dissemination, what are the main decisions and recommendations adopted by the COP 14?

                    Though relatively little is known about host ecology, dynamics and the disease risk to people in contact with hunted wildlife, there is enough evidence to suggest that wildlife is an important reservoir of zoonotic pathogens that can present a clear public health risk of epidemics. Health and epidemiology issues can arise between humans and wildlife as the risk of zoonotic pathogens are still present.

                    In this specific context, the COP urges Parties and governments to prevent unintentional introductions of invasive alien species associated with trade in live organisms through the coordination with the authorities responsible for customs, border controls, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures and other relevant competent bodies at the national and regional levels. The COP also encourages to develop and share a list of regulated invasive alien species, based on the results of risk analysis, where appropriate.

                    Certain wild meat species are indeed likely to provoke pathogen spillover to humans, and livestock and this risk could increase through the unregulated and uncontrolled butchering and skinning of wild animals used for meat. Multisectoral approaches combining appropriate policy mechanisms from the agricultural, biodiversity, food security, health, infrastructure, mining and logging sectors, are therefore required for successful sustainable wildlife management.

                    8. What then should be done in practice to control these alien species dissemination?

                      States should conduct monitoring of invasive alien species which can unintentionally arrive in their territories, particularly in susceptible areas (e.g. ports, cross-docking and warehousing facilities, off-dock container yards, connected roads and railways) where their entry, establishment and early stage of spreading may occur.

                      When unintentional introduction in susceptible areas is observed, States should intensify the monitoring of invasive alien species in nearby areas where there are concerns about protecting biodiversity, and carry out rapid responses to contain, control and, where possible, eradicate the invasive alien species.

                      In practice, a sender/exporter of live organisms should demonstrate that the commodity being exported, including its associated shipping materials (for example, water, food, bedding), poses no sanitary or phytosanitary risk to the importing country’s biodiversity.

                      Carrier conveyances for consignments of live organisms should meet existing international guidance established under international organizations. Water(s), air and air supplying devices for aquatic live organisms and any associated media to be used during transport should be free of pests, pathogenic agents and invasive alien species which are of concern to an importing country or biogeographic areas receiving them and should be treated as required.

                      If contaminants have been detected in the consignment, measures taken to prevent introduction and spread of invasive alien species, pests and pathogens and the health status of the animal and the phytosanitary conditions of the plant should also be recorded. States should apply appropriate national border risk management measures in accordance with existing international guidance and national regulations and policy to minimize the risk of unintentional introduction of invasive alien species associated with trade in live organisms.

                      10. Regarding biodiversity in relation with health, what are the main decisions and recommendations adopted by the COP 14?

                        Regarding biodiversity in relation with health, the COP invites Parties and governments:

                        1. To support, among other holistic approaches, capacity-building for the efficient and effective use of the Guidance on integrating biodiversity considerations into One Health approaches7;
                        2. To consider gender-differentiated impacts and responses in the integration of biodiversity and health linkages in their policies, plans and actions;
                        3. To promote dialogue among ministries and agencies responsible for the sectors of health to foster integrated approaches. In particular those incuding domestic animal and wildlife health, environment, pollution (such as marine plastic debris), pesticides, antimicrobial resistance, agriculture, nutrition and food security, food safety, planning (including urban planning), climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction;
                        4. To further develop communication, education and public awareness tools on the importance for public health of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem-based approaches. Also make efforts to review, adjust and improve biodiversity-health linkages in the environmental assessment of relevant projects;
                        5. To provide effective incentives in the health sector to mainstream biodiversity where appropriate and consistent with international obligations;
                        6. To require further support from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the development and implementation of measures, guidance and tools for promoting and supporting the mainstreaming of biodiversity and health linkages in the health sector;

                        The COP requires also, subject to the availability of financial resources, from its Executive Secretary and the WHO:

                        • a. To develop a draft global action plan to mainstream biodiversity and health linkages into national policies, strategies, programmes;
                        • b. To develop integrated science-based indicators, metrics and progress measurements tools on biodiversity and health;
                        • c. To develop targeted messaging approaches on mainstreaming biodiversity for the health sector;
                        • d. To promote and facilitate dialogues on biodiversity-health approaches with relevant national, regional and subregional stakeholders, and organizations and the Executive Secretary to report on progress to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.


                        11. Regarding climate actions in relation to biodiversity, what are the main decisions and recommendations adopted by the COP?

                          In the area of climate actions, the COP with their invited Parties and governments adopted voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, contained in the annex to the present decision.

                          In particular, the COP:

                          • Encourages parties to integrate climate change issues and related national priorities into national biodiversity strategies and action plans and to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem integrity considerations into national policies, strategies and plans on climate change;
                          • Encourages Parties, Governments and relevant organizations, to take into account domestic priorities, circumstances and capabilities and to make use of the voluntary guidelines. This in line with the ecosystem approach8 when designing and implementing ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, recognizing that this may also jointly contribute to climate change mitigation;
                          • Endorses key messages that support achieving the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals through the use of the ecosystem-based approaches of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to climate change adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk reduction, and combating land degradation;
                          • Encourages to conduct such activities with the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, women, youth and elders, recognizing that the effects of climate change are disproportionate, by appropriately recognizing and supporting the governance, management and conservation of the territories and areas of indigenous peoples and local communities.
                          Illustration of the core concepts of the contribution of Working Group II
                          Illustration of the core concepts of the contribution of Working Group II of the COP to the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

                          The COP also recommends:

                          • a) To identify regions, ecosystems and components of biodiversity that are or will become vulnerable to climate change at a geographic scale and assess the current and future risks and impacts on biodiversity and biodiversity-based livelihoods;
                          • b) To foster a coherent, integrated (holistic …) and co-beneficial implementation of the actions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement9, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development10, the Convention on Biological Diversity, taking into account the importance of ensuring the integrity and functionality of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity;
                          • c) To make use of the voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction at all relevant levels for the Parties, Governments and international organizations in a position to do so.

                          Further, it also request:

                          • To review new scientific and technical information including by taking into account traditional knowledge and the findings of Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels;
                          • The support of Executive Secretary of the Parties, to the undertaking of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction infunction of the availability of its resources.

                          8 Decision VII/11
                          9 United Nations, Treaty Series, Registration No. I-54113.
                          10 See General Assembly resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015.

                          12. What is the so-called Ecosystem-based Adaptation approach to climate change?

                            Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is defined as the use of biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, as part of an overall adaptation strategy, contributing to the well-being of societies, including indigenous peoples and local communities, and helping people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

                            In this context, Eba approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction should be holistic approaches that use biodiversity, and ecosystem functions and services to manage the risks of climate-related impacts and disasters. The complexity of such a framework may require the development of a Theory of Change that can be used to think through and plan actions and interventions which address a specific societal or biodiversity problem11. Such an holistic approach is mandatory to support integrated local, national, and transboundary action to build partnerships among relevant organizations, institutions and other relevant stakeholders to: build enforcement and monitoring capacities; develop and implement alternatives for nutrition and livelihoods; and increase awareness, research exchanges and for example in particular education regarding hunting of and trade in wild meat (see question 11).

                            EbA aims to maintain and increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of ecosystems and people in the face of the adverse effects of climate change. Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) is the holistic, sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems to reduce disaster risk, with the aim of achieving sustainable and resilient development12.

                            11 A Theory of Change maps out the logical steps that are needed for an intervention to lead to a desired outcome and ultimately to broader societal and conservation impacts.
                            12 Estrella, M. and N. Saalismaa. 2013. Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction: An Overview, In: Renaud, F., Sudmeier-Rieux, K. and M. Estrella (eds.), The Role of Ecosystem Management in Disaster Risk Reduction. Tokyo: UNU Press.

                            13. Regarding climate actions, what should be the role of transboundary and cross-sectoral cooperation, coordination and policies?

                              As climate change impacts and disaster risks extend beyond political boundaries, an integrated landscape or systems approach would help problem-solving across sectors and boundaries. For example, transboundary cooperation can enable the sharing of costs and benefits and prevent potentially negative impacts of measures taken unilaterally. Transboundary cooperation can also provide opportunities for socioeconomic development and managing issues at appropriate ecosystem scales.

                              Transboundary and cross-sectoral considerations can be integrated into EbA and Eco-DRR. There are seven key principles in applying resilience thinking, distilled from a comprehensive review of different social and ecological factors that enhance the resilience of social-ecological systems and the ecosystem functions and services they provide13:

                              • 1. Integrating the different scales of critical ecosystem functioning needed for adaptation and disaster risk reduction in EbA and Eco-DRR;
                              • 2. Developing a common understanding of vulnerabilities at the transboundary scale and for different sectors through the use of common models and scenarios and agreed-upon methodologies and sources of information;
                              • 3. Applying a resilience lens to designing EbA and Eco-DRR interventions that provide adaptation and disaster risk functions. This involves managing interactions between people and nature, as social-ecological systems to ensure continued and resilient provisioning of essential ecosystem functions and services.
                              • 4. Creating on this basis a greater coherence between regional/transboundary EbA and Eco-DRR-strategies and policies to contribute to improved effectiveness of the planned actions;
                              • 5. Learning from existing ansd well-established cross-sectoral planning mechanisms, such as the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and aso land-use planning, to strengthen cross-sectoral cooperation and enhance uptake of EbA and Eco-DRR into relevant sectoral frameworks;
                              • 6. Setting up a Commission or task group with transboundary partners and sectors; representatives to develop a joint vision, goals and objectives for EbA and Eco-DRR;
                              • 7. Adopting an iterative monitoring and evaluation process to ensure that transboundary and cross-sectoral EbA and Eco-DRR strategies continue to meet national adaptation and disaster risk reduction targets and maximize the potential for multiple benefits.

                              13 See COP decision 14/5 page 24 

                              14. Regarding conservation and sustainable use of pollinators, what were the main decisions and recommendations adopted by the COP?

                                The COP urges Parties and invites governments to address the drivers of wild and managed pollinators decline in all ecosystems, including the most vulnerable biomes and agricultural systems. Especially close attention shoud be paid at both the local and regional scales to the risk of introducing and spreading invasive alien species: plants, pollinators, predators, pests, parasites and pathogens that are harmful to pollinators and to the plant resources on which they depend.

                                Land degradation also should be avoid or reversed to restore lost or fragmented pollinator habitats. In this context, the COP adopted the Plan of Action 2018-2030 for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators for its implementation according to national legislation and national circumstances14.

                                Indeed, pollinators and pollination are of key importance for all ecosystems while strong declines of some pollinator taxa over the last few decades have been observed15. This service is namely provided by managed bees, wild bees, and other insects, such as flies, butterflies and beetles, as well as vertebrates, such as bats, birds and some primates. These are recognized a vital ecosystem service for agriculture and for the functioning and health of ecosystems, including those beyond agricultural and food production systems, particularly to the livelihoods and culture of indigenous peoples and local communities.

                                At the same time, as global agriculture has become increasingly pollinator-dependent, much of this dependence is linked to wild pollinators16. in Africa, the frequency and intensity of fires, which, in turn, affect the reseeding and re-sprouting of plants, affect different ecosystems due to a high degree of pollinator-plant specialization. Such specialization suggests a marked susceptibility to pollinator loss, and reliance on a single species of pollinator is potentially risky in the face of global changes.

                                Appropriate international and national policies are thus needed in order to provide an effective enabling environment to support activities by farmers, land managers, beekeepers, the private sector and civil society. Pollination concerns are often a cross-cutting issue, and policies should be designed to integrate pollinator and pollination considerations not only into the context of sustainable agricultural transitions, but also across sectors (for example forestry and health).

                                In this context, actions that develop and implement coherent and comprehensive policies that enable and foster activities to safeguard and promote wild and managed pollinators, should be integrated into the broader policy agendas for sustainable development. This should include among others:

                                • 1. To apply nature-based solutions and reinforce positive interactions; e.g. integrated pest management, on-farm diversification, ecological intensification, restoration to increase landscape connectivity;
                                • 2. To develop and promote guidance and training on best practices for pesticide use (e.g. techniques, technology, timing, non-flowering crops, weather conditions) based on the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management of FAO and the World Health Organization;
                                • 3. To reduce the use of and gradually phase out existing pesticides that are harmful to or that present an unacceptable risk to pollinators, including cosmetic pesticides and harmful agricultural chemicals, and avoid the registration of those that would be also harmful or present an unacceptable risk to pollinators;
                                • 4. To protect and promote indigenous and traditional knowledge, innovations and practices related to pollinators and pollination and support participatory approaches to the identification of diagnostic characteristics for new species and monitoring;
                                • 5. To monitor the movement and trade of managed pollinator species, sub-species and breeds among countries and within countries and develop and promote mechanisms to limit the spread of parasites and pathogens to managed and wild pollinator populations;

                                In practice, the COP recommended to encourage farmers, beekeepers, land managers, urban communities, indigenous people and local communities and other stakeholders to adopt pollinator-friendly practices and address direct and indirect drivers of pollinator decline at the field and local level; and to develop and deploy monitoring of wild and managed pollinators in order to assess the magnitude of the decline and to evaluate the impact of deployed mitigation actions.

                                On this way, it invites the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to facilitate the implementation of the Plan of Action, following the successful approach of the previous plan involving ministries of agriculture and environment at the national level. It invites also Parties, other governments, research institutions and organizations that are in a position to do so, to support countries that need:

                                • To increase taxonomic capacity in order to improve knowledge about pollinators, their status and trends;
                                • To identify drivers of change in their populations;
                                • To develop appropriate solutions to enable effective adoption and implementation of the proposed action plan.

                                14 Review of pollinators and pollination relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in all ecosystems, beyond their role in agriculture and food production (CBD/COP/14/INF/8).
                                15 Data however on the status and trends of wild pollinators are limited and largely restricted to some regions of Europe and the Americas,
                                16 IPBES (2016).  Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production

                                15. For managing and improving specifically the sustainability of wild meat supply at the source, what are the steps proposed by the COP?

                                  In those cases where wild meat is an important part of the diet of rural communities, and can be regulated to ensure its sustainability, it may, in fact, be a better alternative than livestock production with its concomitant impacts on land-use change.

                                  Several models for management of wildlife resources at the community level have been suggested and tested. These models are meant as examples as possible approaches but may not be applicable in all countries or settings. Generally, these represent forms of co-management between communities and the state and/or private sector entities involved, such as those in infrastructure and extractive industries such as road construction, logging and mining.

                                  In many countries, hunting regulatory frameworks need to be updated in order to adjust to their current situation and national realities. Otherwise, wildlife laws are difficult to apply and enforce, and are unlikely to be successful in reducing hunting pressure on key species and ecosystems. Wildlife management, including wild meat species management, should be an essential part of the management or business plans for extractive industries (oil, gas, minerals, timber, etc.) operating in tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems. Sustainable wild meat management considerations could also be further integrated into forest certification schemes17 and criteria and indicator processes for sustainable forest management to mitigate the impacts of human activities on wildlife.

                                  Among a series of actions proposed in a Technical Guidance Document, devolution of wildlife rights to local populations, where appropriate is proposed, and in line with the Plan of Action on Customary Sustainable Use under the Convention, enhancing appropriate forms of land tenure, including ownership to increase their incentive to sustainably manage the resource and exert enforcement against external actors. In this, communities should be supported by a competent and trusted national agency with the authority to arrest and prosecute law breakers in a timely manner18 .

                                  The global demand for animal protein is indeed increasing due to a rapidly growing human population, urbanization, and increasingly successful global efforts to alleviate poverty. This is driving a dramatic increase in the demand for wildlife (both terrestrial and aquatic), and this demand is foreseen to accelerate over the coming decades. With rapidly increasing human populations and urbanization, increasing the availability of cheaper, sustainable substitutes through local production and importation is both possible and a priority. This should be combined, however, with a proper enforcement of wildlife use at wholesale, retailer and consumer levels. An enabling environment should be developed and incentives provided to encourage the development of self-sufficient private enterprise and private-public partnerships to supply substitutes,

                                  Again, a holistic approach should be developed along the wild meat value chains, focused on conserving and sustainably using the resource at the source (rural areas) and reducing the demand in urban centres.

                                  It is considered for example that communities have the social cohesion sufficient to take collective actions to address shared problems (i.e., they trust one another and feel kinship with their community neighbours). Indeed, local communities and hunters are explicitly interested in benefiting from their rights to use wildlife, including customary rights. Communities have clear, acknowledged procedures for resolving policy and practice differences within the community or group but they have to take the responsibility to be accountable for its sustainability and habitat conservation.

                                  Responsible consumption of certified sustainably-sourced wild meat should thus be promoted, since certification has the potential to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of wild species by influencing consumer choices for sustainably-sourced products. It is also recommended in the implementation of the respective laws to enhance cooperation and coordination among wildlife trade enforcement officers and officials, prosecutors and judges and other relevant personnel, and enable prosecutors and judges to prosecute and sentence on cases of illegal wild meat harvest and trade.

                                  A local governance authority should then be made responsible for each land-use zone. If the State is not devolving full control to the local authority (i.e. when the State retains responsibility for protected areas, species or local food security), then there should be clearly laid out criteria for assessment of good local governance and the consequences of poor governance.

                                  17 Such as the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
                                  18 There are CBD decisions on “indigenous and community conserved territories and areas” (also known as territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities).

                                  16. Regarding matters related to marine and coastal biodiversity, what was decided by the COP?

                                    The COP urged Parties to increase their efforts in particular with regard to:

                                    • Avoiding, minimizing and mitigating the impacts of marine debris, in particular plastic, including microplastics, pollution, on marine and coastal biodiversity and habitats;
                                    • Addressing the potential impacts of deep-seabed mining on marine biodiversity;
                                    • Protecting biodiversity in cold-water areas, noting in particular the finalization of the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean.

                                    This should include a.o. impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise on marine and coastal biodiversity, and means to avoid, minimize and mitigate these impacts.

                                    The COP requested the Executive Secretary to transmit the outcomes of the first and second meetings of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative Global Dialogue to relevant global and regional processes, and to collaborate with Parties, Governments, relevant organizations and donors to facilitate on-the-ground implementation of these outcomes. It invited then the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and regional fishery bodies to contribute to provide scientific information, experiences and lessons learned, including relevant reporting from the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries Questionnaire, as an input for the 5th edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook.

                                    17. Regarding matters related to synthetic biologic and its potential issues, what was decided by the COP?

                                      The COP recognized that synthetic biology19 is rapidly developing and a cross-cutting issue, with potential benefits and potential adverse effects and that developments arising from research and development in the field of synthetic biology may pose challenges to the ability of some countries, especially developing countries, in particular those with limited experience or resources, to assess the full range of applications and potential impacts of synthetic biology vis-à-vis the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

                                      The COP noted also the conclusions of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Synthetic Biology20 that, given the current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities might be warranted when considering the possible release of organisms containing engineered gene drives that may impact their traditional knowledge, innovation, practices, livelihood and use of land and wate.

                                      The COP further agreed that broad and regular horizon scanning, monitoring and assessing of the most recent technological developments is needed for reviewing new information regarding the potential positive and potential negative impacts of synthetic biology (such as effects arising from organisms containing engineered gene drives, before these organisms are considered for release into the environment), vis-à-vis the three objectives of the Convention and those of the Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol21.

                                      It emphasized the need for a coordinated, complementary and non-duplicative approach on issues related to synthetic biology under the Convention and its Protocols, as well as among other conventions and relevant organizations and initiatives.

                                      The COP calls upon Parties and governments, taking into account the current uncertainties regarding engineered gene drives, to apply a precautionary approach22 in accordance with the objectives of the Convention, and also calls upon Parties and governments to only consider introducing organisms containing engineered gene drives into the environment, including for experimental releases and research and development purposes, when:

                                      • a) Scientifically sound case-by-case risk assessments have been carried out;
                                      • b) Risk management measures are in place to avoid or minimize potential adverse effects, as appropriate;
                                      • c) The “prior and informed consent” of potentially affected indigenous peoples and local communities is sought or obtained where appropriate, as well as the “free, prior and informed consent” or “approval and involvement”23, where applicable in accordance with national circumstances and legislation.

                                      The COP eventually decided to update the Technical Series on Synthetic Biology for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice based on the peer review of scientific information and other relevant information and to further pursue cooperation with other organizations, conventions and initiatives, including academic and research institutions, from all regions, on issues related to synthetic biology, including the exchange of experiences and information.

                                      19 Synthetic biology is a multidisciplinary area of research that seeks to create new biological parts, devices, and systems, or to redesign systems that are already found in nature. It is a branch of science that encompasses a broad range of methodologies from various disciplines, including such as btechnology, genetic engineering, molecular biology and engineering. 
                                      20 This Ad Hoc Expert Group on Synthetic Biology has among its duties to consider whether any living organism developed thus far through new developments in synthetic biology fall outside the definition of living modified organisms as per the Cartagena Protocol and prepare a forward-looking report on synthetic biology applications that are in early stages of research and development, vis-à-vis the three objectives of the Convention, by compiling and analysing information, including but not limited to peer-reviewed published literature.
                                      21 The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is an additional agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It aims to ensure the safe transport, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biodiversity, also taking into account risks to human health. The Cartagena Protocol is reinforced by the Nagoya - Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress which specifies response measures to be taken in the event of damage to biodiversity resulting from LMOs. such as implement measures to recover any costs incurred from the operator.
                                      22 See decision XIII/17
                                      23 Decision XIII/18

                                      18. For avoiding or managing conflicts of interest in relation with biological diversity issues, what is the procedure put in place?

                                        For this procedure, a conflict of interest constitutes “any current circumstances or interest that could lead a person to reasonably believe that an individual’s objectivity in carrying out his or her duties and responsibilities for a specific Expert Group may be in question or that an unfair advantage may be created for any person or organization”24.

                                        The Secretariat of the COP will review the information provided to identify any potential conflicts of interest and, if so, whether it is related to the subject or work of a specific Expert Group and may affect, or be reasonably perceived to affect the expert’s objective and independent judgment. The procedure applies to all experts, including experts acting as chairpersons, nominated by Parties, Governments, observers to the Convention and its Protocols and any body or agency, whether governmental or non-governmental.

                                        Depending on the issue under consideration and on the basis of an assessment by the Secretariat, as appropriate in accordance with the modus operandi of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, the nominees to be selected will be approved and invited to serve as members of the Expert Group concerned on the basis of:

                                        • a) The terms of reference of the Expert Group;
                                        • b) The criteria that may be set out in the notification for nominations;
                                        • c) The review of information received through the conflicts of interest procedure and any related consultations.

                                        Each expert is expected to disclose any situations, financial or otherwise, that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity and independence of the contribution that the expert makes and thus affect the outcome of the work of this specific Expert Group. In addition to completing a nomination form25, (s)he will complete and sign an interest disclosure form as set out in the appendix below prior to the selection of members of the Expert Group concerned. When an expert already serving in another Expert Group is faced with a potential conflict of interest due to changed circumstances that might affect the expert’s independent contribution to the work of the Expert Group, the expert shall immediately inform the Secretariat of the COP and the chair of the Expert Group of the situation.

                                        In cases where an expert is not selected due to a conflict of interests, the expert and the relevant Bureau will be informed. Any substantial failure to disclose an interest by an expert may result in the exclusion of the expert from the selection procedure of members of the Expert Group. When the Secretariat of the COP becomes aware of information or documentation that supports the determination on the existence of a conflict, the Secretariat will discuss the issue with the expert and bring it to the attention of the chairperson of that Expert Group and to the attention of the relevant Bureau for their guidance.

                                        If such disagreement or change of situation occurs in relation to the chairperson of that Expert Group, the Secretariat will discuss the issue with that chairperson and bring it to the attention of the relevant Bureau for its guidance and will proceed according to the instructions of the respective Bureau.

                                        24 A distinction is made between “conflicts of interest” and “bias”. “Bias” refers to a point of view or perspective that is strongly held regarding a particular issue or set of issues. Holding a view that one believes to be correct but that one does not stand to gain from personally, does not necessarily constitute a conflict of interest but may be a bias.
                                        25 The nomination form is based upon the form required for the roster of experts under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (decision BS-I/4, annex I, appendix).

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