This position paper is addressed to the German and EU delegations to the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 14), the third meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol (COP-MOP 3) and the ninth meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol (COP-MOP 9), which will be held from 17-29 November 2018. It forms the joint input from the Biological Diversity working group of the German NGO Forum on Environment and Development, in which BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany), NABU (BirdLife Germany), Heinrich Böll Foundation, WWF Germany, Ecoropa, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany) and FDCL (Centre for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America) collaborate.
The paper is primarily based on the draft decisions for the COP 14 as outlined in the document CBD/COP/14/2. We hope that our concerns will be addressed by the official EU delegation and supported in the process.
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Biodiversity is declining rapidly worldwide, numerous ecosystems are degrading at an unprecedented rate, and with ongoing climate change certain ecosystems, such as coral reefs, will be almost completely destroyed by 2050, as was concluded for the 2°C scenario described in the recently published IPCC report.
The achievement of the existing Aichi Biodiversity Targets in and by the EU and its Member States still has priority. In spite of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, only a few of the Aichi Targets have been achieved in the EU. This situation is much the same in most other countries. This is why Item 8 of the draft decisions (document CBD/COP/14/2), which calls upon all Parties to the CBD to significantly accelerate their efforts to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity by the deadline of 2020, is of fundamental and central importance.
A key issue will be the long-term strategic direction of the CBD (successor framework to the current Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020), and, although no discussion on the content itself has been included on the agenda of the COP 14 as of yet, the first steps will be taken at the meeting. For example, the draft decision on the 2050 Vision outlines a number of points on which we provide several comments (Item 17), and the individual steps in the preparatory process for the post-2020 framework will be determined on the sidelines of the COP. For us, it is of utmost importance that the process be comprehensive and transparent and allow for the broad participation of experts, stakeholders and parties to the CBD, both in the collection of ideas and through opportunities to comment on future draft documents.
In terms of content, the new plan should build upon the previous Aichi Targets, due to the fact that they have yet to be achieved and in order to ensure that continuity and comparability can be maintained. From the very beginning, the negotiations should aim to establish a high level of ambition, provide for a mandatory peer-review or compliance mechanism and ensure sufficient financial resources for the implementation of the new strategic plan.
The gaps in achieving the Aichi Targets are due less to the targets themselves than to the insufficient political will and the Convention’s lack of compliance and review mechanisms. In this context, Item 12 is of particular importance, even though more far-reaching approaches are necessary. What is needed is not only a systematic assessment and review system that makes it possible to identify the problems both globally and for each individual country in order to offer targeted help and manage countermeasures, but also a compliance mechanism (e.g. as has been adopted under the Aarhus Convention).
Other important issues are the mainstreaming of biodiversity (Item 22), which should include concrete sector-specific measures and should not be kept at a voluntary level, for example in the sense of sector-specific, multi-year work programmes. Also important is the adoption and implementation of the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators (Item 23) taking into account all elements, including the reduction and elimination of pesticides, and the issue of synthetic biology (Item 27), which is a form of genetic engineering and should be subject to the same precautionary measures as the other forms of genetic engineering to date. Closely associated with synthetic biology is digital sequence information (DSI, Item 18), whose use should not be allowed to undermine the Nagoya Protocol.
We have also provided comments on Item 15 (conflict of interest procedure), Item 17 (2050 Vision) and Item 9 (adequate financial resources). Our input is structured in the order of the items outlined in the document CBD/COP/14/2.