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SBSTTA 16 Adopts Recommendations on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity, Biodiversity and Climate Change

L-R: Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary; SBSTTA 16 Chair Senka Barudanovic; and David Cooper, CBD Secretariat 5 May 2012: The 16th session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 16) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted 15 recommendations, including two packages of recommendations on marine and coastal biodiversity, and biodiversity and climate change. It also addressed the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and in-depth review of the work programme on island biodiversity (PoWIB), inter alia.

The recommendations on marine and coastal biodiversity cover: ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs); sustainable fisheries and adverse impacts of human activities on the marine environment; and marine spatial planning and voluntary guidelines for the consideration of biodiversity in environmental assessments in marine areas.

The recommendation on EBSAs includes criteria for the description and prioritization of EBSAs, including lists and maps of suggested EBSAs developed in a series of regional workshops. While delegates generally felt that the progress on EBSA criteria and the guidelines for assessments together constituted an important milestone in the protection of marine biodiversity, they could not agree to recommend that the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) should endorse the use of the criteria or the guidelines in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

A second package of recommendations was adopted on biodiversity and climate change, namely on: biodiversity safeguards, indicators and mechanisms to monitor impacts of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) on biodiversity; integration of biodiversity considerations into activities related to climate change; and impacts of geo-engineering on biodiversity and gaps in regulatory mechanisms.

SBSTTA 16 also considered its relationship with the recently established IPBES and recommended that the COP consider which scientific and technical matters could be considered by IPBES and how the CBD should communicate its scientific and technical needs to IPBES.

SBSTTA 16 also adopted recommendations on: an in-depth review of implementation of PoWIB; progress in implementing decisions on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), biofuels and biodiversity; incentive measures; capacity building for the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI); new and emerging issues; the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO); and collaborative work in the areas of agriculture, forests and health.

SBSTTA convened from 30 April-5 May 2012, in Montreal, Canada. The recommendations will be forwarded to the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP 11), to be held from 8-19 October 2012, in Hyderabad, India. [SBSTTA 16 Website] [IISD RS Meeting Coverage]