Scientific Body of CBD concludes its 16th session

09 May 2012 | News story

On 5 May 2012, SBSTTA concluded its 16th meeting with the adoption of eight recommendations for COP11 after an intense week of negotiations.

From 30 April 2012 to 5 May 2012, the Sixteenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) was held in Montreal, Canada. Parties, international organizations, such as IUCN, and other stakeholders were present at the meeting and participated in the negotiations. SBSTTA16 adopted eight recommendations on various biodiversity related issues to be considered by the Conference of Parties, as well as the reports of the Working Groups and the meeting report.

Topics discussed in detail in the six days included biodiversity and climate change, biodiversity and the marine environment and the relationship between the CBD and the recently established Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The issue of biodiversity and the marine environment has been somewhat challenging in the CBD framework due to the complexity of legal issues covering areas beyond national jurisdiction. Species and ecosystems extend beyond coastal areas and national waters. Due to a perceived limitation of SBSTTA’s mandate at COP10, discussions on developing scientific criteria for the definition of ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) were complicated. IUCN has contributed significantly to the understanding of this topic and the development of possible criteria. After difficult discussions and extensive negotiations, SBSTTA16 decided to forward the report on EBSAs to the COP, utilizing square brackets to make clear that it is the COP who will decide whether or not it will be endorsed.

IUCN actively participated in the discussions. In its opening statement, IUCN underlined the need to move into implementation of the Strategic Plan and its Aichi Targets and also addressed the relationship between IPBES and SBSTTA. The importance of keeping the work of the two bodies coordinated and cohesive was stressed, a point that was echoed by many other delegations. Other topics IUCN specifically made comments to included Marine Spatial Planning, EBSAs, the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, Biofuels and Incentive Measures.