From South Korea to Mexico – Toward CBD COP 13
Seishu Okuda, Associate Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Nine months have already passed since the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 12) was held in Pyeongchang, South Korea in October 2014. During the two weeks, many people from around the world gathered to discuss and negotiate a range of biodiversity issues. Now that I think back about the meeting, the two weeks passed very quickly, but it was very dense at every moment and I have many memories of the venue, richly endowed with nature, the chill in the morning and night, the dim red moon on the night of a total lunar eclipse, the opening plenary of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, and the many discussions late into nights – these things remain vivid in my mind.
The Award Ceremony of the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity is one of my precious memories of COP 12. Thanks to the cooperation of the government of South Korea, we were able to hold the wonderful Award Ceremony in conjunction with a ministerial luncheon. The three Prize Winners have all been active in their respective fields and I feel proud to have been involved in their recognition through the MIDORI Prize.
Based on the fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook which was officially released at COP 12, the interim assessment of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets was discussed at COP 12. According to the interim assessments, the efforts of Parties have made some progress but are not sufficient enough to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by 2020. The international community will need to make further efforts toward the realization of the world living in harmony with nature.
The next Conference of the Parties, COP 13, will be held in Cancún, Mexico in December 2016, when we will be at the halfway point to 2020, the target year of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The government of Mexico has decided that they would make the mainstreaming of biodiversity a major topic of the high-level segment, so efforts for the mainstreaming of biodiversity will also be a big issue at COP 13.
Before COP 13, the nineteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 19) will be held in November 2015. Following this, SBSTTA 20 will be held in April 2016, and the first meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 1) will be held in May 2016. All these meetings will be held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and the discussions at the meetings will become recommendations to be further discussed at COP 13.
In September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as international goals will be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It is also important to make progress in achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in cooperation and harmony with such new development goals.
The issues in biodiversity are wide-ranging and there is no simple “recipe” for solving such issues at any one meeting, but we need to progress step-by step toward the world living in harmony with nature.
(Seishu Okuda, Associate Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity)