Bioprospecting under the Nagoya Protocol: a conservation booster?
Claudio Chiarolla et al
IDDRI Policy Brief no 14/2013

Some proponents of access and benefit sharing (ABS) mechanisms believe that bioprospecting, if better regulated under ABS legislation and the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), will incentivize and fund biodiversity conservation. By combining economic and legal analysis, the authors of this brief challenge this view. First, the Nagoya Protocol was not primarily designed to conserve biodiversity. Second, the provisions that call upon the Parties to allocate the advantages arising from bioprospecting towards the conservation of biodiversity are hortative in nature. Nevertheless, beyond its relatively narrow focus on the utilization of genetic resources and associated tradition knowledge, the Nagoya Protocol can be helpful to empower stakeholders, whose rights, duties and responsibilities are crucial for the conservation of biodiversity. Read the brief …

Regional Capacity-building Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean on Traditional Knowledge under the CBD
9-11 December 2013 (Cochabamba, Bolivia)

Organized by the Secretariats of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), this workshop will provide an overview of the CBD, including its Strategic Plan for Biological Diversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi targets, and focus on issues related to: the participation of indigenous and local communities in the work of the Convention; CBD Articles 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and 10(c) (customary sustainable use) and current work in preparation for the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD; the interlinkages between biological and cultural diversity; and the dialogue among diverse knowledge systems: connecting traditional knowledge systems and science. Visit the meeting’s webpage, including links to additional information material and tools for capacity building …

Seventeenth meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
14-18 October 2013 (Montreal, Canada)

Held immediately following the eighth meeting of the CBD Working Group on Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), the seventeenth meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 17) convened from 14-18 October 2013 in Montreal, Canada. Featuring a new format aiming to enhance its scientific and technical focus, including panel presentations, delivery of statements and the convening of two Friends of the Chair drafting groups, SBSTTA 17 focused on the scientific and technical needs related to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi targets, and its contribution to the intersessional process of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

In the recommendation on scientific and technical needs related to the implementation of the Strategic Plan, SBSTTA identifies a number of key scientific and technical needs, including on better ways to draw on social sciences; better ways to include relevant traditional knowledge (TK) systems; and strengthening non-monetary valuation tools and methodologies for the maintenance of ecosystem functions. Specifically on TK, SBSTTA identified the need for better ways to include relevant indigenous and traditional knowledge systems and the collective actions of indigenous and local communities to complement scientific knowledge in support of the effective implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices. Furthermore, in the recommendation on IPBES, SBSTTA emphasized the role of TK systems and of intercultural and scientific dialogues; and the inclusion of a broad range of approaches, visions and models related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use at multiple scales in IPBES work to complement information, tools and methodologies for policy making.

Visit the meeting’s webpage, including links to documents … View the meeting’s in-session documents … Read the IISD Reporting Services daily and summary reports …

Eighth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity
 7-11 October 2013 (Montreal, Canada)

The Working Group on Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and related provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) forwarded a number of recommendations to the Conference of the Parties (COP), including: a draft plan of action on customary sustainable use; a process for developing voluntary guidelines for the repatriation of traditional knowledge; and a process for advancing work on several tasks that will contribute to work under the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS), including guidelines on prior informed approval for use of traditional knowledge, fair and equitable benefit-sharing, and reporting and prevention of unlawful appropriation of traditional knowledge.

The Working Group also addressed a progress report on the implementation of the work programme on Article 8(j) and related provisions, and mechanisms to promote the effective participation of indigenous and local communities in CBD work; sui generis systems for the protection, preservation and promotion of traditional knowledge; and recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

An in-depth dialogue focused on connecting traditional knowledge systems and science, such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), including gender dimensions. Delegates also discussed whether to change the terminology “indigenous and local communities” used under the Convention to “indigenous peoples and local communities” used in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Rio+20 Outcome Document, and requested the Secretariat to prepare an independent analysis, including by seeking advice from the UN Office of Legal Affairs, to facilitate further consideration of the matter at COP 12.

Visit the meeting website, including links to documents … Read the CBD press release … Read the IISD Reporting Services daily reports …

Governance of Protected Areas: From understanding to action
Vol. 20 of the IUCN Best Practice in Protected Areas Guidelines Series
IUCN, with ICCA Consortium, GIZ, CBD Secretariat, 2013

This publication reflects the growing importance of governance issues in conservation. Over the past decades there has been a dramatic change in understanding about how governance of protected areas impacts on the achievement of their conservation goals. IUCN has defined four different forms of governance of protected areas. Along with state-run protected areas, managed by government employees, there are protected areas established and managed by indigenous peoples, local communities, ecotourism organisations, nonprofit trusts, private individuals, commercial companies and religious institutions, as well as a wealth of shared-governance arrangements between them. Finding the right mix of governance types within a protected area system and improving the quality of governance of individual sites remains one of the key challenges for bridging the implementation gap in CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, particularly in relation to effective participation, human rights, equity and benefit sharing. Part 1 of the publication deals with concepts and principles to understand the four main protected area governance types recognised by IUCN, featuring numerous examples from all over the world, and their role in the wider conservation landscape; as well as outlining criteria for quality of protected area governance. Part 2 offers practical guidance for countries willing to embark on the process of assessing, evaluating and improving governance for their systems of protected areas or for individual protected area sites. Access the resource website …

Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP11
17-26 September 2013 (Windhoek, Namibia)

Held in parallel with the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and hosted by the Rio Conventions Secretariats and the Global Environment Facility, the Rio Conventions Pavilion meets under the overarching theme of “Shaping our Future: Rio+20 outcome follow-up and moving towards the post 2015 development agenda.” On 17 September 2013, the Indigenous and Local Community Sustainable Land Managers Day was held, organized by UNDP/Equator Initiative and other partners. The day included sessions on: reviving drylands – sustainable use of water in Sub-Saharan Africa; beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – combating desertification, climate change and biodiversity loss post-2015; engaging with extractive industries – can it work; overcoming the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought – best practices for sustainable land management and the strengthening of alternative livelihoods; and knowledge exchange for capacity building – networks and learning platforms. In the evening a reception was hosted by the World Indigenous Network (WIN), during which the Equator Initiative launched a book titled “Community-Based Sustainable Land Management: Best Practices in Drylands from the Equator Initiative.” Read the IISD Reporting Services’ report on the day … Visit the Rio Conventions Pavilion website …

Valuing the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands
CBD Technical Study no 71, CBD Secretariat, UNCCD Global Mechanism and OSLO Consortium, 2013

This peer-reviewed report was published as a response to the request by the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) for a report on the value of dry and sub-humid lands, taking into account the role of pastoralists and other indigenous and local communities in the conservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands and their associated traditional knowledge (COP Decision X/35). It includes an introduction on drylands biodiversity, valuation, and how valuation can help in the drylands context; and sections on: the value of drylands biodiversity and ecosystem services – current state of economic information; filling knowledge gaps – conducting valuation studies; and using valuation information in policy-making. The report concludes that dryland ecosystems are the result of centuries of human-animal-environment interaction, largely by pastoral groups. Many people in the drylands pursue livelihoods that conserve biodiversity in innovative ways, but well-managed pastoralism has the possibility of making a difference for many more. Drylands agriculture, following sustainable land management practices, can also contribute to positive socioeconomic and biodiversity outcomes. Because they are economically and culturally viable, the probability is that, given the opportunity, dryland ecosystems will be conserved informally by communities living in the area. Many traditional land management practices have proven to be more economically viable than “modern” alternatives, and simultaneously provide conservation benefits. When market failures occur, however, opportunities arise to revisit policies and see what needs to be adjusted. Download the report [pdf] …

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2013
9 August 2013 (UN Headquarters and worldwide)

This year’s International Day theme was “Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.” The theme aims to highlight the importance of honouring agreements between States, their citizens and indigenous peoples, emphasizing the principles of friendship, co-operation and peace. A special programme of activities took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US. At the opening, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the post-2015 development agenda should incorporate the rights, perspectives and needs of indigenous peoples, who have made clear that they want development that takes into account culture and identity and the right to define their priorities. UN Assistant Secretary-General Shamshad Akhtar, on behalf of Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, called on everyone to adopt a stronger level of commitment to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Paul Kanyinke Sena, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), stressed the need to address injustices of the past, especially in the post-colonial context of nation building, calling for greater efforts in Africa, and highlighting that honouring treaties, agreements and other arrangements allows for conflicting notions of territoriality, cultural practice and ideas of development to be reconciled for the greater common good. UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay noted that “even when signed or otherwise agreed more than a century ago, many treaties remain the cornerstone for the protection of the identity, land and customs of indigenous peoples, determining the relationship they have with the State.” CBD Executive Secretary Braulio de Souza Dias provided an overview of instruments developed under the Convention related to traditional knowledge, noting they will all contribute to the achievement of Aichi target 18 – that by 2020, the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities and their customary use of biological resources are respected and fully integrated and reflected in the implementation of the Convention, with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities.

Irina Bokova, Director-General, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that global sustainability must build on local foundations reflecting the views and needs of local communities, including indigenous peoples; and highlighted UNESCO’s leadership of inter-agency work to include indigenous knowledge in the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). WIPO Director General Francis Gurry stressed that indigenous peoples and local communities have a direct stake in the negotiations underway at WIPO with the objective of reaching agreement on an international legal instrument/s which will ensure the effective protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya stressed that the right of indigenous peoples to recognition and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constrictive arrangements is a key right recognized in UNDRIP. The International Land Coalition affirmed the role of indigenous peoples as custodians of land, water and biodiversity, and highlighted the 2013 Antigua Declaration, which expresses concern over land grabbing and criminalization of customary forms of land and resource use. Visit the Day’s webpage, including links to programme and statements …

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