SBSTTA23: Latin American & Caribbean perspectives – Montreal

Addressing stronger integration of biodiversity actors through a regional perspective.
This side-event held on November 28th during Montreal SBSTTA23 presented the first reflections, products (series of videos, workshop summary) and the next steps of a collective work undertaken by high-level biodiversity LAC experts from biodiversity knowledge and management institutions, governments (including negotiators), academia and from organizations with a regional or global perspective, met at ECLAC headquarters (Santiago, Chile). Participants shared their concrete experiences of on-the-ground implementation, visions of national policy development for the strengthening of science and policy interactions and the development of a regional vision for the post-2020 framework.

The LAC region can be seen as a laboratory for transformative change, for changing patterns of production and consumption. There is already a lot happening on the ground, and even if central government can appear reluctant, local territories and communities are often already involved in changing practices. Capturing this at the national scale, and reflecting this into national public policies, is a challenge currently being faced. There is a need for discussion and reflection spaces, in order to better identify how to answer this challenge.

The region as an important network of protected areas. Conservation practices contain a interesting blend of sustainable use and strictly protected areas. The potential of sustainable use protected areas should be explored further. There are lots of pilot projects across the region, aiming at engaging the other sectors. More assessment of their effectiveness is required.

More generally, there is a lack of capacity for the implementation of biodiversity policies. A lot of information is generated by different institutions in the region, but it is underused because of this lack of capacity for implementation.

“Latin America suffers from typical roman law implementation symptoms – i.e. an over-leniency and flexibility in implementation that undermines the required detailed follow up required of progress.” Hesiquio Benitez, CONABIO – Mexico

Working with other sectors appears necessary as changes on their side is needed, but they seldom engage with biodiversity issues spontaneously. The environmental ministries should be empowered to better engage with their sectoral counterparts.

Concerning the post-2020 framework, several wishes were expressed:

  • Scientific inputs should be better used in decision-making processes.
  • Sustainable use should be more tightly linked with questions of livelihoods.
  • The framework should serve as an umbrella framework and foster collaboration and synergies among international governance regimes.
  • The framework should induce more sobriety in the use of resources.
  • At COP15, the vision that should be displayed to the rest of the world is that the CBD is not alone.
  • Find how to make sectors concerned by biodiversity, otherwise there will be insufficient political will.
  • The main reported implementation issues are usually the lack of political will, the lack of funding, and the lack of capacity. The framework should help address them.


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