High-level event of the UN Regional Economic Commissions at CBD COP15

Contribution of all five UN Regional Economic Commissions to the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework
The impacts of climate change, pollution and the loss of biodiversity are the most pressing environmental challenges for our planet. In 2022, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) coordinated the United Nations five Regional Commissions (RECs), which also comprise the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to define their committment for the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal GBF

At the CBD COP15 in Montreal, one key activity organised under the leadership of UNECE is a high-level event of the Regional Commissions (RCs) with the support of the EU funded project “Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework EU Support”.

This event gave the opportunity to highlight the regional contribution to achieve a global goal: to save biodiversity on Earth by implementing SDG 14 (“Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”) and SDG 15 (“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”).

Moderated by the international journalist Femi OKE, the five Executive Secretaries shared their visions on how biodiversity loss can be halted in the regions and proposed an action-oriented announcement supporting an UN common approach on biodiversity.

During the event, the Executive Secretaries of the five Regional Commissions showcased how they are working to align biodiversity targets into their portfolios and explained the governance models in place to enhance coordination and technical support on biodiversity.

As Regional Commissions, we have a shared responsability and the means to contribute to stop the loss of biodiversity on the planet“, stated Ms. Algayerova, the Executive Secretary of UNECE. “With this joint statement, we Executive Secretaries of the five UN Regional Commissions, express our determination to act together to support member States’ efforts to implement SDG 15 of the 2030 Agenda to “protect, restore and promote sustainableuse of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. We owe this to the next generations.

© Olga Algayerova Executive Secretary, UNECE. / Photo: Aurélie Lécrivain.

The event pointed out a joint message of collaboration and collective action, with best practices across regions, on key enablers of progress and broad stakeholder engagement to advance specific goals or targets of the post-2020 framework.

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, The Executive Secretary of ECLAC announced that “ECLAC is developing a strategic approach and disseminating best sustainable practices on mainstreaming and transformative governance. The approach considers multi-stakeholder dialogues, internal capacity building, national and subnational technical assistance and strengthening multilateralism.”

It is crucial that we strengthen valuation of natural capital including biodiversity; and undertake rigorous and results-oriented policy analysis on biodiversity linkage with green growth, sustainable livelihoods, and job creation.Antonio Pedro, Executive Secretary, The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

In a video message, Rola Dashti, the Executive Secretary at UNESCWA, focused on the need for Arab regional coordination, planning and adequate financing to advance joint solutions to transboundary problems. Biodiversity loss, like climatechange and desertification, is a shared challenge. She highlighted that a holistic, coordinated and inclusive approach for protecting biodiversity in the Arab region is required, in keeping with the interlinkages between the three Rio Conventions.

© Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary, UNESCWA. / Photo: Aurélie Lécrivain.

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of ESCAP expressed the committment of her commission to implement the new GBF by highlighting that “The regional level is the bridge between the national and the international level.”

Ministers Representatives from Egypt and the Maldives were invited to reflect on the role of the Regional Commissions in facilitating regional cooperation and coordination on biodiversity conservation and its sustainable management.

Abdullah Naseer, Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change And Technology of Maldives reminded that “Small island states’ Exclusive Economic Zones make up almost a quarter of the world’s oceans signifying their importance in marine and coastal biodiversity.” 

© Abdullah Naseer, Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change And Technology of Maldives. / Photo: Aurélie Lécrivain.

Tamer Abogharara, Advisor to the Minister of Environment for International Relations of Egypt declared that “All actors, from civil society to private sector to youth, have to act togehter in order to achieve the ultimate goal we have, which is to preserve biodiversity.” 

Representatives of civil society, financial institutions and business were also invited to discuss with them how to jointly support governments in the implementation of the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.

Jeremie Pellet, Chief Executive Officer at Expertise France declared that “The Biodiversity is essential to achieving the majority of the SDGs. We need to involve as many people as possible in the definition of the GBF. (…) As part of the Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU support project, Expertise France is facilitating multi-country dialogues to help develop common positions for the GBF negociations.”

Youth from different countries were also present to share their views “We’ve got the biggest number of young people in Africa. I want to emphasize the inclusion of young people within the GBF process. It is very important to include them in order for them to be able to implement the GBF.” Osiphesona Ngcanga, GYBN South Africa. 

Referring to this event, Hugo Rivera Mendoza, Team Leader of the project noted that “This initiative will be a key contribution to a prompt implementation of an upcoming global deal for Nature, taking into account the potential and context of the economic regions. The Regional Commissions have a role to play in ensuring the integration of environmental, economic and social elements of a successful global framework.”

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