Full speed ahead with regional cooperation for biodiversity in South-East Europe

The economies of South-East Europe (SEE) have confirmed their commitment to foster regional cooperation on biodiversity related issues and jointly progress towards achieving international commitments, including the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

3rd meeting of the SEE Biodiversity Task Force, Tirana, Albania

“Great progress was done in the first two years of the existence of SEE Biodiversity Task Force (BD TF), a result of the determination of its members and their respective structures to develop meaningful regional cooperation on biodiversity, and committed work of the IUCN ECARO, hosting the BD TF Secretariat. The BD TF managed to provide evidence for informed decision-making, conducted case studies and formulated recommendations as well as operational documents securing its optimal functioning, and enlargement of this platform,” said Kristina Kujundzic, Senior Project Manager of the GIZ-ORF SEE Implementation of Biodiversity Agreements (ORF BDU).  

Following positive evaluation of the BD TF’s contribution to biodiversity relevant commitments and in particular the Environment Dimension of the 2020 SEE Strategy implemented by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) - Regional Working Group Environment, its mandate has been extended till 2020. The third meeting of the SEE Biodiversity Task Force took place on 24-25 June, in Tirana, Albania, and was instrumental allowing its members to set the ambitious agenda for BD TF, with the support of IUCN as its Secretariat and GIZ/ORF BDU. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment of Albania, who will be chairing the Task Force in 2019. High expectations lead to great results of the meeting:

  • BD TF is to open its membership to associated, non-voting members,
  • its operational documents were reviewed and updated, and
  • the delivery of the Work plan 2019-2020 will be pursued through the agreed action groups of the Task Force, and it includes continuous engagement with global processes,  capacity building, communication, multi-stakeholders’ engagement and securing overall sustainability of the BD TF. 

“This meeting clearly reflected a great cooperation spirit BD TF has been showing thus far. Our conclusions will have a lasting impact on the way the Task Force operates, in the first place by creating a mechanism to open it for cooperation with like-minded partners,” stressed Bruno Leles, from the BD TF Secretariat hosted by IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECARO).

Update on recent activities of the South-East Europe Biodiversity Task Force

Shpresa Harasani, the BD TF Chair and Bruno Leles, from the BD TF Secretariat, presented the so-far achievements of the Task Force at the 9th Meeting of the Regional Working Group on Environment – a forum coordinated by RCC, on 2 July 2019, in Tirana, Albania. Participants praised the hard work of BD TF members to make the Task Force an international reference on multi-stakeholders’ cooperation for the conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources. Recent highlights of BD TF work included the BD TF presence at the CBD Conference of Parties (COP14).

“With the plethora of benefits that regional cooperation entails and triggers, it is no surprise that the SEE Biodiversity Task Force has gained such traction in its first year of existence. The joint side event at COP14 proved the fitness of this relatively young and emerging cooperation platform,” wrote Boris Erg, Director of IUCN's Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia in his blog entry from CBD COP14 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. “It is clear that participating economies feel strong ownership of this regional process, and are ready to make an additional effort to operationalize it to its full capacity, including positioning it at the centre of regional discussion on the CBD and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he concluded.

Regional consultations on post-2020 global biodiversity framework for the Central and Eastern Europe hosted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia in April 2019, engaged the Parties and stakeholders in the global consultation process on experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and its Aichi targets. The meeting featured the intervention delivered by Jelena Ducic on the BD TF that focused on the “Current state of affairs and future trends” and ways the post-2020 dialogue could benefit from regional cooperation mechanisms and knowledge-based initiatives.

Further activities of the BD TF include the intervention in  Eastern Europe Region at 7th meeting of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in April 2019, in Paris, France, where Jelena Ducic, as BD TF representative highlighted conclusions of regional ecosystem services assessment and valuation (ESAV) case studies and recommendations made on its future use as vehicle  to strengthen development planning and cross-sectoral collaboration in South-East Europe.

BD TF continued to contribute to the discussions on CBD Post 2020 biodiversity agenda, during the IUCN Regional Conservation Forum for Europe, North and Central Asia, on 1 July 2019, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Vlatko Trpeski and Ismail Hetemaj in their capacity of BD TF members contributed to one of the workshops that was exploring the role and potential contributions of regional networks to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The workshop was co-organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands and the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, with the contribution of the SEE Biodiversity Task Force.

To contact SEE Biodiversity Task Force email: bdtf.secretariat@iucn.org   


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