COP15: Latin America and the Caribbean at the forefront

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Triggering implementation of the post-2020 GBF through biodiversity mainstreaming and innovative governance.
The clock is ticking. CO15 is around the corner and a transformative GBF should see the light in Montreal in a couple of weeks from now.

As it stands, the first draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) considers specific targets and indicators related to the mainstreaming of biodiversity. The CBD has called on all its Parties to trigger regional and national efforts to support and contribute to this process, generating clear and ambitious long-term objectives for the recovery of biodiversity and nature, and promoting a more effective implementation of actions at the global, regional, national, local and sectoral levels, engaging all actors through a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approaches.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is a repository of examples of positive biodiversity initiatives in which inclusive and active participation of relevant actors is part of the progress to break the silos between sectors and actors.

Here, subnational and local governments are already transforming and articulating channels for the mainstreaming of biodiversity, with innovative governance including gender perspective. These experiences may serve as global references for promptly implementing the post-2020 GBF.

The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) advocates indeed for a transformative change, involving a structural whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach through a major push for sustainability, developing national ecosystem accounts, reorienting policies and investments, implementing an innovative agenda with a focus on gender, changing the current short-term vision for urgent action that comprehensively addresses long-term multidimensional challenges and helps to achieve the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the CBD objectives.

Previously this year, at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, Jeannette Sánchez, Director of the ECLAC Natural Resources Division, noted that “Investing in biodiversity involves maintaining, sustainably using and recovering natural heritage. The payback is multidimensional: social, environmental, in human rights and in market economy”.

Jeanette also pointed out that “Biodiversity and the actions of agents of change such as women, indigenous peoples and local communities must be strategically considered, given their great potential to contribute to the big push for sustainability promoted by ECLAC”.

At a critical moment that needs to see initiatives that overcome inertia and build-back with higher standards, ECLAC and our project propose to support two strategic axes of action in selected countries within LAC region:

  1. to strengthen regional processes and vision involving all stakeholders and sectors for the identification, analysis, communication, appropriation and replication of good practices aimed at triggering the regional mainstreaming of biodiversity; and
  2. to strengthen capacities of LAC countries to trigger the mainstreaming of biological diversity and innovative governance through the production of tools to facilitate a proactive and rapid implementation of some of the key post-2020 GBF targets.

This renewed collaboration took root back in 2020, when our project worked with ECLAC and its countries and implemented a workshop in Santiago de Chile aimed at gathering experts from biodiversity knowledge institutions from the LAC region and negotiators to the CBD. At that time, the aim was to contribute to filling thematic gaps in view of negotiations for the global framework. Besides national institutions, representatives from several regional and international institutions, such as the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, UNEP’s, FAO’s and IUCN’s regional offices, as well as the IPBES Chair and a Chair of the IPBES Americas Assessment were invited. As a result, a report called Latin American & Caribbean perspectives and a 4-page brief on the same topic were published.

Today, as countries are moving into the adoption and implementation of the post-2020 GBF and seeking to integrate its targets into NBSAPs and sectoral plans and policies, multiple new challenges emerge, especially on how to mainstream biodiversity throughout productive and economic sectors.

Offering spaces for dialogues among key actors

At recent consultations carried-out by ECLAC, many actors highlighted the strategic importance of organizing dialogues on a regional basis, pointing-out that there are not enough spaces for an exchange of ideas for all stakeholders, especially in the LAC region.

This initiative creates a much-needed platform for key actors—national & subnational governments, IPLCs, women, youth, and representatives of productive and economic sectors, among others—to discuss priority issues for a rapid implementation of key targets of the post-2020 GBF in a setting that is removed from the more politicized arena in which formal discussion will take place.

Most negotiators have cited again recently the lack of opportunity for and the vital importance of these types of informal conversations, which can help to advance coherence and ultimately support the consensus building process for the forthcoming GBF implementation.

”In a critical time for Nature, when a prompt implementation of an adopted Global Biodiversity Framework embraced by state and non-state actors is dearly needed, this initiative will play a role in creating a regional vision for transformative actions and innovative governance approaches that integrate environmental, social and economic concerns.”, as our project’s team leader Hugo Rivera Mendoza points out.

As a kick start of this renewed collaboration, COP15 is giving us a timed opportunity to highlight and share at a side-event the main findings, lessons learned and recommendations of ECLAC’s study on biodiversity mainstreaming and innovative governance in the agriculture, fisheries, forestry, finance, manufacturing, infrastructure and tourism sectors to move towards a nature-positive coherent system, and from experiences of cases from other regions and key stakeholders to be included in the debate (e.g., IPLC/business/women).

The following key speakers will take the floor at ECLAC’s event Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean: biodiversity mainstreaming & governance for transformative change taking place on December the 10th in Montreal at 1:15 pm (EST) in the JUSCANZ Meeting Room 510C:

  • Marcia Tambutti (Biodiversity expert, ECLAC), Georgina Catacora Vargas (President, Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology), Víctor Alvarado (independent consultant) & Aleksandar Rankovic (independent consultant and author) who will present the lessons learned and recommendations from ECLAC’s study biodiversity mainstreaming and innovative governance;
  • Marcos Regis da Silva, (Director Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research), Ameyali Ramos, (ICCA Consortium) (tbc), René Gómez-García, (Chief of Sustainability, Climate Change &
  • Natural Resources, CAF) (tbc) who as LAC experts will introduce other perspectives and reflections;
  • Salah Mhamdi (Executive Director of the National Chamber of Cement Producers, Tunisia), Romy Andrianarisoa (President of the Sustainable Development and Business Ethics Commission of the Union of Malagasy companies, Madagascar), Louis-Yanzon Ye (General Secretary of the Cotton inter-branch association of Burkina Faso) who will give their vision of LAC experiences from the African region (BioDev 2030 project experience).

After COP15, there will be opportunities for ECLAC and our project to support CBD Parties in LAC region to fast-track immediate technical support to LAC countries by strengthening their capacities once the GBF is formally agreed in Montreal.

Now waiting for the long-awaited adoption of a transformative agreement in Montreal.

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