Two subsidiary bodies of Convention on Biological Diversity begin talks in Nairobi

The outcome of the discussions will be presented at COP16 in Colombia in October for consideration

Third plenary session of the Nairobi United Nations Biodiversity Meetings on May 14, 2024. Photo: @UNBiodiversity / X (formerly Twitter)

Technical experts from across the world are gathered at the United Nations headquarters in Kenya in preparation for the 16th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP16). The agenda includes the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework — now called the Biodiversity Plan — and the implementation and progress towards meeting its four goals and 23 targets. 

These are key meetings both for COP16 and achievement of the 2030 deadline for the Biodiversity Plan, which was tagged as ‘incredibly ambitious’ by David Cooper, acting executive secretary of CBD, at a press address marking the beginning of the meeting.

Meetings of two subsidiary bodies of CBD will run till May 29 and the recommendations would be considered at COP16, which will take place in Cali, Colombia, from October 21-November 1, 2024. The two bodies are Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI).

SBSTTA 26 will focus on the developments on the issue of the indicators that need to be put in place to monitor progress; scientific and technical needs to support implementation; synthetic biology; risk assessment and management; detection and identification of living modified organisms; marine and coastal biodiversity; and biodiversity and health.

SBI 4 will focus on the review of implementation, including updating of national biodiversity strategies and action plans; resource mobilisation and financial mechanism; capacity building and development, technical and scientific cooperation, and knowledge management; cooperation with other conventions and international organisations, among other issues.

“One year and a half after the Biodiversity Plan was historically adopted, Parties to CBD must now fine-tune the important details that will take the world from agreement to action,” said Cooper. The meetings demonstrate the importance of science to the future of the convention, he added.

On the first day of the meeting, the monitoring framework and the scientific and technical needs to support the implementation of the Biodiversity Plan were discussed. The issue of synthetic biology and its impact on biodiversity were also discussed.

Both the meetings are important to ensure that parties of CBD have the tools to implement the Plan and indicators to track progress. Experts at the meeting would endorse the monitoring framework created by the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group, so that it can be discussed further at COP16. 

Similarly, an expert group has put together the available information on the subject of synthetic biology that could impact biodiversity and this, too, will be considered and recommendations would be provided to COP16.

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