SBSTTA23: From science-policy’s messages for transformational change to post-2020 political decisions and actions

Raising awareness on science-policy platform messages to ensure transformational change.

Project final SBSTTA23 side-event, held on November 29th, raised awareness on science-policy platform messages to participating decision-makers including CBD national focal points. It provided grounds for a more effective communication and integration of science messages into policy making for transformational change.

Canada, Cities, Implementation, Nature-Based Solutions, Transformative change.

The event allowed the sharing of experience and vision among various decision-makers and representatives for science-policy platforms, as part of a brainstorming on transformational change that will be carried out through the post-2020 biodiversity framework and beyond.

Over 100 participants took part to the event with interventions of 4 speakers:

  • Ana Maria Hernandez, IPBES
  • Marina Weissenberg, Finland
  • Takafumi Osawa, Japan
  • Ingrid Coetzee, ICLEI
  • Aleksandar Rankovic, IDDRI

The event began with a statement: while science-policy platforms have coordinated and delivered clear and consistent messages to decision-makers and help design sound policy frameworks, biodiversity policies implementation remains very poor and limited both in its scope and impact.

“Decision-makers do not always see that their choices have an impact on the ground. How can we design a framework that shows direct results and triggers national action?” Marina Weissenberg, EU Finnish Presidency.

The participants provided reactions and comments. It was noted that there are different kinds of decision-makers, and that even citizens were decision-makers. Towards these publics, the biodiversity community should be more explicit on the transformations it is calling for in societies, but this is a point on which there is usually insufficient detail. There is also a need to strengthen dialogue with the business world and show that there are different visions even in the business world. Intergenerational dialogue also should be a priority

Reflections on the Aichi Targets stressed that Aichi Target 11 seemed to have had the most traction in policy discussions, while other targets seemed seldom known, suggesting that SMART target could indeed be helpful for implementation.

The value of IPBES for policy discussions was highlighted, with an influence already perceived in the six months that followed the publication of the Global Assessment. It was noted, however, that it was complicated for politicians to take commitments for which is was difficult to perceive gains in political credit. Since the accountability is weak at the CBD, there is no strong incentive to follow-up on implementation. There is also a need for stronger grassroots mobilization for biodiversity, notably from youth movements. The role of cities was also highlighted: they have a critical role in implementation, and can develop alternative planning approaches.

A cross-cutting discussion stressed the following points:

  • The issue of business involvement should also be seen as an issue of incentives structure. When incentives (subsidies, regulation) change, business involvement with biodiversity issues will change as well, it is not only a question of sharing understanding.
  • There is a range of decision-makers, but there is also a range of aspirations in societies, embedded into their respective socioeconomic and political sectors. On this point, it is important to see that the success of Aichi Target 11 might not be due only to its quantitative aspect, but also to the fact that addressed protected areas. This is a topic which is usually the responsibility of environmental constituencies, while other targets were confronting other organized sectors that are not easy to transform.
  • The environmental constituency is usually weak compared to other constituencies. It is usually easier not to be held accountable on the environment that on other socioeconomic questions.
  • There is a key question of reforming education policies. The post-2020 framework could include specific aspects on the inclusion of biodiversity in school programmes.






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