Volume 88 Number 13 | Saturday, 18 November 2017
One Action, Five Outcomes: Aligning National Actions to Amplify the Achievement of Global Goals16 November 2017 | Bonn, Germany
This High-Level Breakfast Roundtable, hosted by Cristiana Pa?ca Palmer, UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), took place on 16 November 2017, at the Marriott Hotel, in Bonn, Germany, on the margins of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The event encouraged invited guests to champion actions that achieve multiple outcomes at the national, regional and global levels, particularly on poverty eradication, climate change, disaster risk reduction (DRR), land degradation and desertification, and biodiversity goals, by acting to conserve, sustainably use and restore biodiversity and ecosystems.
Luc Gnacadja, Special Representative of the Local Climate Adapted Living (LoCAL) Programme Board, former Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and former Minister of Environment and Urban Development, Benin, moderated the event.
CBD Executive Secretary Pa?ca Palmer stressed that biodiversity is an essential solution to climate change, and is a cost-effective low-hanging fruit that is underused. She called on ministers to commit to enhancing their implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020. She highlighted that the CBD is not only concerned with the conservation of charismatic species, but also with the protection of the critical infrastructure that is essential for life on earth. She also stressed the need to involve the business and investment communities in the sustainable management of biodiversity.
On mainstreaming national actions, Tommy Remengesau Jr., President of Palau, highlighted the Micronesia Challenge, a commitment to preserve natural resources launched in 2006, with the CBD, and supported by other partners. He highlighted a Protected Area Network Fund in his country where funds are derived from tourist levies, and recognized the CBD as a partner in the Global Island Partnership.
Nicolas Hulot, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France, reflected on how climate is winning the “combat for the conscience” and biodiversity is not, and called for enhancing ambition on biodiversity conservation including linkages with climate change.
Kahled Mohamed Fahmy Abdel Aal, Minister of Environment, Egypt, looked ahead to hosting CBD COP 14, calling for continuing discussions from COP 13, feeding them into the upcoming COP and also into COP 15 in China, and pledging support to the Troika and the CBD. He highlighted mainstreaming and emphasized the need to include desertification and land degradation in the discussion.
Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, called for ensuring that biodiversity is at the helm of all efforts by not only focusing on restoration but also on preservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources. Turning to national efforts, she explained how biodiversity guidelines for the mining industry were negotiated over a five-year period, and highlighted efforts to engage young and unemployed people to eradicate alien invasive species.
Jan Szyszko, Minister of Environment, Poland, announced plans to convene a special meeting to address biodiversity and climate change during UNFCCC COP 24 in Poland.
Gou Haibo, Special Representative for Climate Change Negotiations, China, explained that his country attaches great importance to the economic valuation of biodiversity, citing examples from the forestry sector. He further explained that a holistic approach to addressing poverty eradication, climate change, DRR, land degradation and desertification, and biodiversity goals must be adopted.
Elsa Galarza, Minister of Environment, Peru, advocated a people-centered approach involving all sectors, declaring that “if people value what they have they will become wardens of biodiversity.” She also reflected on the need for new strategies for technology and finance to integrate action.
Vincent Biruta, Minister of Environment, Rwanda, explained that as a small, highly populated country Rwanda has no choice but to manage biodiversity. He highlighted that a fourth national park was created in 2015, illegal mining has been addressed, and a revenue-sharing mechanism was established to benefit the local community. He also explained that natural capital accounting had been implemented to make the trade-off between various economic activities.
Yasuo Takahashi, Vice Minister, Global Environmental Affairs, Japan, highlighted research for mitigation and adaptation enhanced by the conservation of ecosystems. Highlighting capacity building for developing countries through the Japan Biodiversity Fund, he outlined plans for the Satoyama Initiative, which aims to conserve and advance socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes.
Jean Kapata, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Zambia, stressed that engaging finance ministries is vital for addressing biodiversity conservation, and highlighted efforts to combat land degradation by encouraging every household to plant at least one tree.
Sergio Bergman, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Argentina, called for moving onto “hard conversations” and translating the discussion into “numbers” to address the need to create linkages with business. Turning to his country’s presidency of the G20, he offered to include a focus on biodiversity in the meeting’s agenda.
Lamenting a lack of political support for biodiversity, Enrique Lendo Fuentes, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico, emphasized the need to make the business case for it, similar to the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) global initiative. He also proposed leveraging experiences and targeting mechanisms such as the World Economic Forum.