News Report on CBD-COP 14, CP-MOP 9 and NP-MOP 3 Meetings Held from 12 to 29 November 2018, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Report on CBD-COP 14, CP-MOP 9 and NP-MOP 3 Meetings Held from 12 to 29 November 2018, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Release date 09/01/2019
Contributor IT Team EBI

Report on
CBD-COP 14, CP-MOP 9 and NP-MOP 3 Meetings
Held from 12 to 29 November 2018, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

I. Introduction
The Convention on Biological Diversity meeting, COP 14, and the Conference of the Parties to the Meeting of the Subsidiarity Bodies to the CBD, CP-MOP 9 and NP-MOP 3, were held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 12 to 29 November 2018. Ethiopia, as a signatory to the Convention and its Protocols has taken part in the events represented by a delegation team consisting of 10 members from the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission; the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, and the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute.

A number of activities, both directly related to the main events and those associated with implementation of the Convention were undertaken during the 18 days period of COP 14. A summary of the undertakings, as per the different categories, is presented below.

II. African Union (AU) Coordination Meeting
As per the tradition of the CBD’s Conference of the Parties, member countries are clustered into regions. At COP 14, each region has organized a regional coordination group meeting to discuss on the different agenda items and hold a common position as well as promote non-conflicting interest during the negotiation of UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 14 / CP-MOP 9 / NP-MOP3 meetings.
Accordingly, the African Union (AU) has organized an African Coordination Meeting to ensure preparedness of the African Group of Negotiators on Biodiversity (AGN/African Group) and that common African positions are attained on the agenda items of the 14th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD-COP 14), the Ninth Meeting of the Parties of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CP-MOP 9) and the Third Meeting of the Parties of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (NP-MOP 3) on 12 and 16 November 2018.

Substantial issues addressed during the Africa Regional Meetings on 12 and 16 November 2018:

  • Introduction and adoption of the Draft Agenda of the meeting;
  • Organizational matters: Election of Chair and Rapporteur;
  • Discussion on Agenda items of COP 14, CP-MOP 9 and NP-MOP 3; and
  • Discussion on outstanding issues and assignment of African Group representation in Working Groups and on agenda items.

The African Union coordination meeting on 12 and 16 November 2018 was a full day gathering that dwelled on the above agenda items that enabled the African group to have a common position. The forum continued as a morning session every day from 8:30- 10:00 until 28 November 2018 to report and evaluate how African positions were reflected in Working Groups and Contact Groups negotiations; and listen reports from the CBD Bureau; as well as to discuss on African position that should be held on outstanding issues during the following day meetings. During the meetings, Ethiopian delegates have actively participated and ensured that Ethiopia’s
interests are reflected in the African positions.

Regional Groups were requested to nominate their representatives for COP Bureau membership and members of the Compliance Committee of both the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on ABS. Accordingly, the African group elected African continent representative for COP Bureau membership and members of the Compliance Committee of both the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on ABS. Accordingly, the Ethiopian delegates, Dr. Melesse Maryo, was elected as COP Bureau member whereas Mr. Ashenafi Ayenew was elected as an alternate member of the Compliance Committee of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS. The election of the Ethiopian delegates is presumed to be an ideal opportunity to promote Ethiopia’s as well as Africa’s interests in future activities related to the Convention and its Protocols.

III. The African Ministerial Summit on Biodiversity
The African Ministerial Summit on Biodiversity with the main theme “Land and Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: Priorities for increased resilience in Africa” was held on 13 November 2018. Following opening remarks by H.E. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt and representatives of various environmental organizations, the following items were addressed during the meeting.

  • Current status and trends of land degradation at the global level and of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa;
  • Africa’s biodiversity priorities;
  • Relevant experiences, lessons learned and the way forward to combat land degradation and enhance ecosystem restoration in Africa; 
  • National commitments and actions on ecosystem restoration; and 
  • Summit outcomes and follow-up.

The African Ministerial Summit, that involved an in-depth discussion of issues that pertain to biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa, produced a Ministerial Declaration as well as the Pan-African Action Agenda on Ecosystem Restoration for Increased Resilience. The Summit was concluded by remarks made by representatives of partner organizations (Director of the African Natural Resources Centre of the African Development Bank, Director General for the Environment at the European Commission, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Delegates of Global Youth Biodiversity Network, Executive Director of the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network) and H.E. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt.

IV. Like Minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC) Group Meeting
The Like Minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC) Group, that consists of 20 megadiverse countries harboring more than 70 % of the global biodiversity, held its meeting on15 November 2018 and considered the following agenda items:

  • Opening remark of the session by H.E. Minister of Land, Water and Natural Resources of Malaysia;
  • Sharm El Sheikh Declaration of LMMC;
  •  Presentation of Certificate of Appreciation presentation to Germany;
  •  Announcement of Chairman for session 2019/2020;
  •  Handing over LMMC trophy to the incoming Chairman; and
  •  Remarks by the incoming Chairman by the Ethiopian representative, Dr. Melesse Maryo,, DG of the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute. 

The LMMC meeting addressed the above agenda items as per the schedule. Ethiopia’s election as an incoming chairman of the group was a special event at the occasion. Dr. Melesse Maryo, on behalf of Ethiopia, has delivered a speech expressing Ethiopia’s commitment to discharge the responsibility up to the expectation of member countries. At the end of the session, the Ethiopian delegation presented a small gift to members following the existing norm of the Group.

The LMMC, as a group, has continued to meet throughout the COP meeting and held interests largely similar with the African group as well as other developing country parties during the negotiation and discussion of UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 14, CP-MOP 9, NP-MOP 3 agenda items.

V. High-level Segment
The High-level Segment of COP , which was supposed to set the stage for lively exchanges amongst ministers of environment and other sectors, key leaders from all sectors of society, including the business sector, heads of United Nations Agencies, and high-ranking representatives, took place on 14 and 15 November 2018. The summit, which was opened following remarks by H.E. Mr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt, and other dignitaries, dealt with the following issues.

  • The Importance of Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet;
  •  Egypt’s global initiative to promote the use of nature-based ecosystem approaches to; coherently address biodiversity loss, climate change and land and ecosystem degradation;
  •  Mainstreaming biodiversity in the infrastructure, the manufacturing, the processing, the energy, the mining, and the health sectors;
  •  Adoption of the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration;
  •  The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and Vision to 2050; 
  •  Concluding statement: The Egypt to China Action Agenda for Nature;
  •  Launching “The International Alliance on Nature and Culture”; and 
  •  Regional statements

The ministers and other heads of delegation, at the end of the two days meeting, adopted the Sharm El-Sheikh declaration: Investing in biodiversity for people and planet. In this connection, Parties expressed their commitment to working at all levels within their governments and across all sectors to mainstream biodiversity, establishing effective institutional, policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks tailored to national needs and circumstances and consistent with international obligations, and incorporating an inclusive economic, social and cultural approach with full respect for nature and human rights, through a series of activities. They also urged
development agencies, Businesses, financial institutions and other stakeholders to support undertakings, as appropriate, and to use social and environmental safeguards in decisions and investments to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Furthermore, Parties expressed their commitment for accelerating efforts to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets as well as supporting the development and implementation of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Finally, it was concluded that integrating biodiversity values into other sectors and in cross-cutting policies is essential to achieve the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, as well as economic, social and development goals.  

VI. UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 14 / CP-MOP 9 / NP-MOP 3 

The main event of the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 14), the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CP-MOP 9), and the Third meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (NP-MOP 3) were held concurrently from 17 to 29 November 2018. The event began by a series of remarks by dignitaries including the address by H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt. Besides entertaining issues that relate to organizational matters, report on the credentials of representatives to the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, and Pending issues, the parties as well as observers considered the following agenda items.

Item 5 Date and venue of future meetings of the Conference of the Parties.
Item 6 Reports of intersessional and regional preparatory meetings.
Item 7 Administration of the Convention and budget for the trust funds.
Item 8 Review of progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity
Item 9 Resource mobilization and the financial mechanism
Item 10 Capacity-building and technical and scientific cooperation.
Item 11 Knowledge management and communication.
Item 12 Mechanisms for national reporting, assessment and review.
Item 13 Enhancing integration under the Convention and its Protocols with respect to provisions related to
Access and Benefit-sharing, Biosafety, and Article 8(j) and related provisions.
Item 14  Cooperation with other conventions, international organizations and initiatives.
Item 15 Review of the effectiveness of processes under the Convention and its Protocols.
Item 16 Second work programme of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Item 17 Long-term strategic directions to the 2050 Vis ion for Biodiversity, approaches to living in harmony
with nature and preparation for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Item 18 Digital Sequence Information on genetic resources.
Item 19 Article 8(j) and related provisions.
Item 20 Sustainable Wildlife Management.
Item 21 Biodiversity and Climate Change.
Item 22 Mainstreaming of biodiversity within and across sectors (health, energy and mining, infrastructure,
manufacturing and processing)
Item 23 Conservation and sustainable use of pollinators.
Item 24 Spatial planning, protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
Item 25 Marine and coastal biodiversity.
Item 26 Invasive alien species.
Item 27 Synthetic biology.
Item 28 Liability and redress (Article 14, paragraph 2).

As per the procedure, the draft decisions produced by the twenty-first and twenty-second meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (CBD/SBSTTA/21/10 and CBD/SBSTTA/22/12) were first considered at the two Working Group levels. Each of the approved draft decision (Item 5-28 above) was then formulated as Conference Room Paper (CRP) and presented for the second round negotiation at the Working Group. To resolve debatable/outstanding issues and reach a consensus, Contact Groups that helped to carry out negotiations were established. Through this thorough process, Parties and observers managed to agree on texts contained in all of decisions presented as L-document to the Plenary. The Plenary, during its multiple meetings, adopted all the decisions on issues presented in the table above.

Although COP 14 could be judged as a successful conference in terms of the whole process of negotiation and the final outcome, the obvious difficulties encountered in reaching consensus on some of the addressed issues are worth noting. Some of the outstanding items in this regard were Resource mobilization and the financial mechanism (Item 9), Digital sequence information on genetic resources (Item 18), Marine and coastal biodiversity (Item 25), Socio-economic considerations (Article 26), and Synthetic biology (Item 27). The differences in positions between the negotiating groups of Parties have basically emanated from an underlying difference in the interests of Parties from the developed and developing world.

VII. Role Played by the Ethiopian Delegation at COP 14
For the first time in the history of COP, Ethiopia was represented by a fairly sized delegation team consisting of 10 delegates. Delegation members took part in the events held prior to COP 14 as well as the main event that run from 17-29 November 2018. Besides participating in the two pre-COP 14 events (African Union (AU) Coordination Meeting and the African Ministerial Summit on Biodiversity), the delegates took part in the Like Minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC) Group meeting. Ethiopia, wining the trust of 19 member countries, was elected as a Chairman of the Group for the period 2019/2020. As an incoming Chairman, a remark was made on behalf of the Country. As symbolic act, the Group’s rotating trophy was handed over to Ethiopia from the outgoing Chairman, Malaysia.

In relation to negotiations, the Ethiopian delegates attended the African Regional Group’s Meetings, Working Group discussions, Contact Group Meetings where thy reflected views on different items discussed and supported the African as well as LMMC Group Positions. The 
election of two Ethiopian delegates as CBD Bureau Member and Compliance Committee Member was an outcome of communication and consultation with fellow delegates from African countries.

Side Events were additional undertakings where delegates demonstrated active participation. In connection to this, two slide presentations (one in Global Access and Benefit Sharing Project side event, and one on Mapping Biodiversity Priorities in African Countries Project side event) were conducted; two delegates reflected views, as a invited first speakers, in two side events on outstanding issues, while all members attended a number of relevant side events.

VIII. Major Achievements of the UN Biodiversity Conference
The following outcomes, among other results, are major achievements of the Conference.

  • A consensus was reached on 24 itemized issues of which some were of debatable nature;
  •  One hundred ninety six Governments agreed to scale up investments in nature and people towards 2020 and beyond’;
  •  The Sharm El Sheikh Declaration was adopted inviting UN General Assembly to convene a Summit on Biodiversity for heads of State by 2020;
  •  Cognizant of the fact that only two years are left to implement the Strategic Plan, Governments agreed to accelerate action to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Targets by 2020;
  •  Agreement was reached on a comprehensive and participatory process to develop post-2020 global biodiversity framework;
  •  The Sharm El Sheikh to Beijing Action Agenda for Nature and People launched to
    mobilize broad stakeholder engagement; and
  •  African Ministerial Declaration as well as the Pan-African Action Agenda on Ecosystem Restoration for Increased Resilience was produced. 

IX. The Way Forward and the Awaiting Task

The 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference of the Parties (COP14) was concluded on 29 November 2018 with broad international agreement intended to mitigate and also reverse the global destruction of nature as well as biodiversity loss threatening all forms of life on Earth. This can only be realized when governments exert a coordinated effort in line with the Conference’s moto “Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet”. Ethiopia, as a country that comes in the forefront with respect to implementing the pillar objectives of the CBD, a lot is expected in light of achieving the Aichi Targets and the post-2020 Agenda. Therefore, besides satisfactorily engaging in activities that are directed to the conservation of Biodiversity and its sustainable utilization, Ethiopia needs to give proper attention to the required comprehensive and participatory process for developing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework which is anticipated to be agreed upon at the next the Conference of Parties (COP 15) in Beijing in 2020. Furthermore, participation that involves appropriate number of relevant experts in environment related international events and process like the present one should be encourage as this provides thelandscape to learn from international experiences in terms of successes and challenges.

X. Delegation Members

Environment, Forest and
Climate Change Commission
Ethiopian Biodiversity
Ethiopian Environment and
Forest Research Institute.
Ato Nigusu Lema Dr. Melesse Maryo Dr. Abiyot Berhanu
Ato Kassahun Wakwaya Dr. Feleke Woldeyes Dr. Agena Anjulo
Ato Assefa Gudina Dr. Misikire Tessema  
Ato Abdeta Debella Ato Ashenafi AYenew  

I. Delegation Members
The Ethiopian Delegation team highly acknowledges the Ethiopian Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission, UNDP/GEF, the Secretariat for the CBD, NEPAD and the African Union for covering all required expenses of participants. We would also like to thank the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt for covering our Visa processing fees and its sincere hospitality during our delightful stay in the country. We, as Africans, are also proud of Egypt for successfully hosting and the Conference.

26 December, 2018
Addis Ababa,

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