CBD implementation body ends meet without consensus on many crucial decisions 

The Nairobi UN Biodiversity Meetings, 26th session of SBSTTA and 4th session of SBI met to advance progress on the Biodiversity Plan. Photo: Qhapaj Conde / X

The fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI4) ended without finalisation of recommendations to be presented at the 16th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP16) being held in Cali, Columbia in October this year.

Much of the text is still riddled with brackets and these will once again be dealt with at the next SBI scheduled just before COP16.

More than a 1,000 delegates had gathered in Nairobi to negotiate crucial issues related to resource mobilisation, capacity-building and technical and scientific cooperation among countries and organisations. Delegates also discussed ways to monitor and review progress in implementation of the Biodiversity Plan. 

Read more: Road to COP16: Two subsidiary bodies of Convention on Biological Diversity begin talks in Nairobi

The Biodiversity Plan (earlier called the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework) was adopted in December 2022 and has 23 targets and four goals set to be met by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

Discussions at the meeting revealed that funding continues to be a sticky point in the implementation of the Plan. “Part of the ambition of the Biodiversity Plan lies in the calls for resource mobilisation and technical and scientific cooperation,” said David Cooper, acting executive secretary of the Convention. 

The deadline to ensure developed countries uphold their commitments and provide new, additional and adequate financial resources to developing countries is 2025. A system to generate at least $20 billion per year through international financial flows has to be put in place by next year. 

To mobilise funds, the United Nations Environment Programme and China have come together to launch the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, which would support biodiversity conservation in developing countries. However, this is yet to be operationalised. This is in addition to the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund established last year under the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

GEF has been responsible for generating funds for biodiversity since its establishment in 1992. The resources mobilised through GEF for biodiversity in the latest replenishment (GEF-8) are the largest yet. The outcomes of SBI4 will feed into the negotiations on the next replenishment (GEF-9) by the Facility’s member countries.

For ensuring implementation, Parties at SBI4 have selected 18 organisations around the world to support action across the countries. These centres will fill gaps in international cooperation and cater to the needs of countries in the regions that they cover. 

Read more: Road to COP16: Convention on Biological Diversity’s scientific body ends meet with recommendations on key issues

Participants in Nairobi also reviewed progress in the alignment of the National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans (NBSAP), which are key to ensure that countries meet the goals and targets. The progress on NBSAPs will be reviewed at SBI 5, just before COP16. 

Parties have to submit their NBSAPs at COP16 according to the decision taken at COP15. Till date, only eight countries have updated and submitted their plans. 

Another topic discussed at the SBI was that of digital sequence information, regarding which parties are trying to develop and operationalise a multilateral mechanism, as agreed at COP15. The group working on this will meet in Montreal soon to finalise the plan to be presented at COP16.

“While we have many issues to resolve at COP16, the foundation is laid for our discussions in Cali, Colombia, later this year,” said Chirra Achalendar Reddy, chair of SBI4. 

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