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A day at SBSTTA20

Impressions from Alan Jarandilla – GYBN delegate from Bolivia

On Monday April 25th, the Chair of the 20th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity opened the discussions of the Parties in Montreal, Canada to provide Recommendations to the Conference of the Parties on the Decisions it should adopt during COP13 in Cancún, México.

It was 8:30 when the Global Youth Biodiversity Network arrived to the Conference Center and started the registration process for the meeting along with delegates from different Parties and observer organizations. After registration, we attended a meeting with other CSOs and after that we went to the Conference Room of the Conference Center.

At 10:00, delegates from Parties, IGOs, NGOs, and other stakeholders entered into the Conference Room to begin the discussion of sixteen agenda items, including the scientific review of the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, mainstreaming biodiversity across sectors, marine and coastal biodiversity, biodiversity and climate change, protected areas and ecosystem restoration, sustainable wildlife management, synthetic biology, among others.

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias on his Statement on the occasion of SBSTTA-20 gave a brief summary of all the documents issued by the Secretariat for the preparation of the meeting and invited Parties to the Convention to consider the Recommendations contained on the different documents. Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza at the end of his Statement announced the end of his term comes in February, 2017 and that he will not seek and extension of his mandate for personal reasons. He said that he had requested the UNEP Executive Director to start the process for recruiting a successor. After that announcement the Chairman expressed his appreciation to the work done during his mandate and the negotiations started.

After the adoption of the agenda and the organization of work, Parties started to address the Scientific Review of Implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. During the discussion many countries emphasized that the year 2020 is getting closer and that there is a lot of progress to do to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, so it’s necessary to continue and enhance the efforts made to achieve Aichi Targets. Parties discussed for about two hours the topic and lunch time came.

In the afternoon, Parties continued discussions at 3:00. They addressed the issue of mainstreaming biodiversity across sectors. Many Parties shared their activities and practices regarding the topic and other provided specific changes to the Recommendations issued by the Secretariat. Civil society groups were allowed to take the floor and stressed the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity with civil society participation. The next topic to be discussed was marine and coastal biodiversity, the Chair announced the discussion of the first subtopic, ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, and Parties stressed the importance of the protection of marine areas coral reefs and marine biodiversity in general. At 6:30 pm, the Chair suspended the session.

Following negotiations and discussions of Parties is a unique experience. At the beginning you feel lost and confused. Sometimes you don’t know what’s happening, especially in the procedural agenda items. It can be tiring to follow what has been said by each delegate, to finish interventions in the meanwhile, to try to share what’s happening with pictures and social media, but it is an amazing experience I will definitely never forget. It’s my first time attending a CBD meeting and I’m excited for the opportunity.

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