UN Biodiversity Conference - COP13 (Cancun, 2nd - 17th December 2016)
Starting on 2nd December 2016, the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known as ‘COP13’, focuses on mainstreaming biodiversity across relevant sectors, especially agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism, to contribute to the sustainable development goals, climate action, food security and other human development goals.
At the UN Biodiversity Conference in Cancun the world is meeting to take the steps needed to build a future of life in harmony with nature. The conference provides a critical opportunity for countries to address strategic actions to enhance implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and promote the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity targets.
As said by Dr. Braulio Ferreira De Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention, “Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism are important sectors whose activities need to take biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into account in a coherent manner.”
Biodiversity loss caused by agriculture, infrastructure expansion and climate change will be relevant. For instance, it is estimated that 40 per cent of land currently used for extensive agriculture will be lost by 2050. However, global agricultural production will need to increase by 50 per cent to feed the world population by 2030, making sustainable agriculture a pressing issue.
On 3rd December 2016, countries adopted the Cancun Declaration, that represents an unprecedented recognition from the international community that biodiversity protection must involve different governmental and economic sectors and not just environment ministries.
With the Declaration the parties committ themeselves to work at all levels within their governments and across all sectors to mainstream biodiversity, establishing effective institutional, legislative and regulatory frameworks, tailored to nation needs and circumstances, and incorporating an inclusive economic, social, and cultural approach with full respect for nature and human rights, through several actions. Some of the actions provided by the Cancun Declaration are:
- Update and implement National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, to strengthen the mainstreaming of biological diversity.
- Incorporate biodiversity values into national accounting and reporting systems.
- Encourage sectors that depend or have an impact on biodiversity to adopt integrated approaches for its conservation and sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
- Promote the generation and use of biodiversity-related knowledge and information and make it readily available to society to support decision-making at all levels.
- Enhance international cooperation and encourage innovation and the transfer of appropriate technologies.
- Improve the regulatory framework for private sector activities, enhance incentives and promote tools for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
- Support sustainable production and consumption throughout value chains, thesafe and sustainable application of technologies, and the phasing out of harmful incentives and strengthening of positive incentives.
The annex to the Cancun Declaration provides a Guidance for mainstreaming conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Tourism Sectors.
The annex affirms that biodiversity is the basis of agriculture and that meeting global food demands in a sustainable way is achievable, but it will require significant actions to change some existing policies and practices through - among others:
- The adoption of a holistic integrated view and assessment of ecosystems and of the interlink ages between agriculture and biodiversity;
- The prevention of agricultural pollution, and the efficient, safe and sustainable use of agrochemicals, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs;
The safe and sustainable use of appropriate technologies, and the integrated, efficient and sustainable management of energy, water and soil resources;
- Sustainable consumption and production patterns, including more diversified diets based on a broader range of biodiversity, as well as the promotion of best practices in post-harvest agricultural product management in order to reduce waste and loss of food, among other measures.
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To read the Cancun Declaration click here