Category Archives: Network News

Call for Applications – GYBN Delegation to SBSTTA-20 and SBI-1

Join the GYBN Delegation to SBSTTA-20 and SBI-1 in Montreal from April 23 to May 8!

Launch of Sp4sps

We have some good news to share with you all: After several months of hard work by the GYBN Steering Committee we are very happy to inform you that we have secured some funding for a small group of youth from the Global South to join a GYBN delegation to the upcoming SBSTTA-20 and SBI-1 meeting in Montreal.

Depending on the final costs for travel and accommodations, we expect that four (4) places will be available. The delegation will join the negotiations in Montreal, Canada from April 23 to May 8 2016 in order to form a group of change agents for Biodiversity conservation.

The primary goals of this project is to provide young people from a wide variety of backgrounds that are working on Biodiversity issues and that are between 18 and 30 years old with an opportunity to speak up for their generation at SBSTTA-20 and SBI-1. By enabling them to play an active role in the CBD-process, we are aiming to build capacity among young people so that they can contribute to the implementation of the Convention and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Knowledge and experience gained through this opportunity can then be brought back to their countries, communities and organizations.

Blog 4-1

Candidates must demonstrate outstanding commitment to Biodiversity issues in the past as well as a strong track record of voluntary activities in youth organizations and must possess at least a basic understanding of international negotiations. Experience with the CBD-process as well as relevant expertise and knowledge about the items on the agenda of SBSTTA-20 will be an asset.
Ideally, to ensure a good transfer of experience, the delegation should consist of two experienced members who have been to CBD-meetings before and two first-timers.

To join the delegation, please fill out this form until Sunday, March 20th at 23:59 Montreal-time (EDT/GMT -4).
http://bit.ly/gybn-delegation-sbstta20

Please note that due to our donors funding guidelines this opportunity is restricted to youth from the Global South.

If you are a young person from the Global North and you wish to participate in SBSTTA-20 and SBI-1, we are unfortunately not in a position to support your participation financially. However, GYBN is committed to enabling youth from both the South and the North to take part in CBD-meetings. All interested youth from the Global North are most welcome to get in touch with the GYBN focal points Melina Sakiyama (melina.sakiyama@gmail.com) and Christian Schwarzer (christian.schwarzer@gmail.com) and we can try to find other non-monetary ways to help.

Good luck for your application!

Your GYBN Steering Committee

 

SELECTED BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT SBSTTA-20 and SBI-1

P1540776
I. What is SBSTTA?
The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice is one of the CBD’s two permanent subsidiary bodies and is meeting on an annual basis.
SBSTTA’s mandate is to provide:
•    assessments on the status of biodiversity
•    assessments on the efficiency of measures taken under the CBD
•    advice on any question that the COP may direct at it
•    identify new and emerging issues and decide whether these fall under the scope of the Convention or not.
Although SBSTTA was originally conceived as purely scientific advisory body, with the expanding workload and scope of the CBD it has evolved into a platform for political negotiations that plays a crucial role in the preparation of COP. At the end of each SBSTTA session, delegates agree on so called SBSTTA-recommendation, which are suggestions for decisions to be adopted at COP.
SBSTTA has met 19 times so far and adopted 201 recommendations for the COP. For more detailed information about SBSTTA, its mandate, proceedings and structure please check out: http://www.cbd.int/sbstta/

II. What is SBI?
The creation of the CBD’s second permanent subsidiary body has only been recently agreed by parties at COP12 in Pyeongchang in October 2014. The Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) is the successor of the Ad-Hoc Open-ended Working Group on the Review of the Implementation (WGRI), which existed from 2004 to 2014 and met five times.
SBI’s mandate is:
•    to review the implementation of the convention
•    to provide advice on how the implementation of the CBD can be enhanced
•    to develop recommendations on how obstacles to the CBD’s implementation can be overcome
•    to develop recommendation on how mechanism, that support the CBD’s implementation, can be strengthened
•    to review progress towards the implementation of the CBD’s Strategic Plan 2011-2020
•    to prepare proposals on how the achievement of the Strategic Plan’s targets can be advanced
SBI is also responsible to provide advice on the implementation of the CBD’s protocols, namely the Cartagena Protocol and the Nagoya-Protocol. For more information about SBI, please visit: https://www.cbd.int/sbi

Evalutation Meeting

III. Why is it important to participate in both SBSTTA and the COP?
If you want to influence the process, it is of crucial importance that you start your advocacy work as early as possible!!
By the time the COP convenes it is quite often already too late: At this point in time almost all decision have already been discussed in great detail, parties have exchanged opinions and text has been drafted on most issues. At this stage it is quite difficult to push for major changes in a negotiating texts and extremely hard if not impossible to introduce new issues or aspects. So the later you start your advocacy activities the smaller your chances that your voice will be heard and your perspective considered!
SBSTTA and SBI are the platforms where all major COP decisions are being prepared by parties and where actual discussion are taking place, so this is really the point where you should be present and lobby for your issues!
Furthermore, now – in the weeks before SBSTTA! – is the time when most parties are preparing their positions for SBSTTA, so if you can – get in touch with your country’s respective
CBD focal point or national delegation, set up a meeting and discuss your issues with her/him!
You can find all contacts to national focal points here: http://www.cbd.int/convention/parties/list/ (just click on the name of country)

IV. Rationale for Youth Participation at SBSTTA and SBI
Civil Society – including youth! – is being recognized as an official major group and important stakeholder of the CBD, so it is your explicit right to make your voice heard!!!
If any party to the CBD should hesitate to take youth serious, please make them aware of Decision XI/8 on “the engagement of other stakeholders and major groups” (http://www.cbd.int/doc/decisions/cop-11/cop-11-dec-08-en.pdf, page 3) which officially recognizes the importance of youth participation in decision making process on all levels.
The paragraph on “children and youth” has been introduced by GYBN youth delegates at COP11 in Hyderabad and was adopted by ALL parties without changes.

V. Logistics and Visa
SBSTTA-20 is scheduled to take place from April 20 to 29 and SBI-1 will be convened between May 2 and 6.
Both meetings will be taking place in Montreal, Canada.
If you need a visa for Canada and if you are accredited for the meeting already, please get in touch with the CBD Secretariat at secretariat@cbd.int to receive a Visa Support Letter.

If you should face any problems during the visa application process or if your visa should get denied, please contact Melina and me and we will check how we can support you!

VI. Coordination of GYBN Youth Delegates
If you are planning to take part in SBSTTA-20 and/or SBI-1 as a youth delegate please fill out this form so that we can connect you with other youth representatives and coordinate our efforts. Thank you!
http://bit.ly/gybnsbstta20

VII. Important Documents

SBSTTA-20
Provisional Agenda:
https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbstta/sbstta-20/official/sbstta-20-01-rev1-en.pdf

Annotated Agenda: https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbstta/sbstta-20/official/sbstta-20-01-add1-rev1-en.pdf

Official Documents: https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=sbstta-20

SBI-1
Agenda: https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbi/sbi-01/official/sbi-01-01-rev1-en.pdf

Annotated Agenda: https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbi/sbi-01/official/sbi-01-01-add1-en.pdf

Official Documents: https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=SBI-01

4-4

Don’t miss this opportunity! Join the GYBN delegation to SBSTTA-20 and SBI-1 and submit your application until Sunday, March 20th at 23:59 Montreal-time (EDT/GMT -4)!

Homo sapiens, biodiversity and climate change in the Arabian Gulf

“In order to understand, I destroyed myself.”  ― Fernando Pessoa

For the past 4.5 billion years, the world we today call “Planet Earth” has been undergoing constant change since its formation especially in terms of climatic changes driving evolutionary change whereby species and ecosystems work on adapting to survive or face extinction.  This constant fluctuation between the climate being extremely cold and covered in ice to very hot and vice-verse has in the past 10,000 years come to equilibrium, thus, making the planet’s climate more stable.

This has led to the flourishing of diverse flora and fauna creating what we know as today’s biodiversity and subsequently to the explosion of the Homo sapiens species population. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biodiversity as the variety of life on earth and the natural patterns it forms, this refers to ecosystem, species and genetic variation.

In the past approximately 650,000 years, temperatures and greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 levels are known to have changed following cyclical patterns over a large span of time. However, over the past century following the industrial revolution, human activities have started affecting the natural climate balance negatively whereby COlevels have now reached 400 ppm in comparison to the 80 ppm rise in COconcentration at the end of the past ice age which took over 5000 years to occur.

A-dugong-feeding-on-a-sea-grass-bed

Climate change impacts are already being felt around the world with projections of dramatic shifts in the states of many ecosystems; climate change has also been linked to well documented changes in physiology, phenology, species distributions and others (Watson, 2012). Moreover, it is also seen to be one of the main contributors to the global loss of biodiversity and has already caused accelerated rates of species’ extinctions along with changes to ecosystems worldwide (Sala et al., 2000; Thomas et al., 2004; Pimm, 2008; Watson, 2012).

Known to host the world’s hottest sea, the Arabian Gulf in recent years has become an attraction hub for scientists, economists, energy experts and researchers from various fields due to the region’s interesting and challenging nature (Riegl & Purkis, 2012). Despite the harsh environmental conditions, the region harbours a rich biodiversity bringing together ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds and sabkhas whilst being home to numerous endemic species. Moreover, the Arabian Gulf also fosters many migratory species of turtles, whales and other species and is considered to be of international importance in terms of biodiversity as it hosts the second largest population of dugongs following Australia and the largest breeding colony of the Socotra Cormorant in the world in addition to many other reasons…..Continued here

Highlights of COP12

Last week marked the end of the CBD COP12 talks, which witnessed a number of memorable moments some of which are highlighted here. The 12th of October 2014 marked the entry of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) into force with 54 ratifying countries – hence marking the First Meeting of Parties to the Protocol (COP/MOP1). Furthermore, the negotiations witnessed the official launch of the fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO4) report. The GBO4 serves as the publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is a periodic report that summarizes the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity along with drawing conclusions relevant to the further implementation of the Convention. The report highlighted that the current work and efforts undertaken by world governments towards achieving the Aichi Targets was insufficient. In addition, it stated that the goal to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020 would not be achieved at this rate.

8-1

The CBD COP12 negotiations further saw the adoption of 33 decisions on various issues such as financial mechanisms, resource mobilization, marine and coastal biodiversity, ecosystem conservation and restoration, synthetic biology, biodiversity and sustainable development, improving the efficiency of the Convention’s processes, cooperation with other organizations; biodiversity and climate change, biofuels, Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), sustainable wildlife management and invasive alien species (IAS).

The meeting also conducted a mid-term review of progress towards the goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011- 2020 and its Aichi targets whilst it also reviewed progress in providing support towards implementation, through capacity building, technical and scientific cooperation, and other initiatives.

Furthermore, a High-Level Segment (HLS) was held from 15-17 October 2014, under the theme “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development” which saw the adoption of the Gangwon Declaration. In this declaration, ministers and heads of delegation recalled the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in addition to the Rio+20 outcome document whilst noting that progress towards the Aichi targets is insufficient, and reaffirming their commitment to mobilize financial resources from all sources for the effective implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

An agreement on the Pyeongchang Roadmap was come to in the aim of enhancing the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi biodiversity targets. The agreement contained five decisions on the mid-term review of progress towards the goals of the 2011- 2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, and the Aichi targets, biodiversity and sustainable development, review of progress in providing support in implementing the objectives of the Convention, cooperation with other conventions and a strategy for resource mobilization.

“All forms of life are interconnected and interdependent, helping all in mutual survival.”

Simultaneously, the 2014 Pyeongchang Buddhist Declaration for Life-Peace was released to coincide with the CBD COP12 talks in the weekend between the two weeks of negotiations, many delegates and participants took time to join the monks at the Woljeongsa Monastery to reflect, recharge and celebrate the announcement of the declaration which underlines every life is a universe in itself. Moreover, it stresses that all beings whether small or big have the right to live on this planet as all lives are equal, hence, humans should always be prudent and humble in the face of nature and life.

Evalutation Meeting

With the end of the negotiations, our GYBN delegation team came together to evaluate all that has happened during the negotiations period along with strategizing for what comes next following the launch of their “Global Voices” which was announced by GYBN at the opening plenary in its first statement. GYBN is currently working on summarizing the outcome documents of the CBD COP12 decisions and translating them into youth friendly language – so stay tuned!

Nagoya Protocol Comes in Force, India Falling Apart in Implementation

Dispatches from Pyeongchang, S. Korea

Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing came in force last Sunday. It is definitely a good news, as after years of deadlock on the issues of environment and sustainability, we have a new substantial global norm to facilitate environmental governance. At a very basic level the objective of the protocol is to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from utilization of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Now a framework is in place which ensures that genetic resources of countries and communities are not used without consent. When the foundations of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) were laid, developed countries desired conservation agenda at the top, while developing countries wanted sustainable use of biodiversity for their material progress to be priority. In the juggernaut of various interests Convention on Biological Diversity succeeded in balancing at-least the demand of developing countries.

To ratify the protocol, parties need to have a domestic regulatory framework which can be either in the form of legislation. The legislation further creates a regulatory body or the task of access and benefit sharing is allocated to the relevant existing department. Bringing out legislation is not mandatory. There needs to be a relevant body with a job profile of implementation of norms related to access and benefit sharing.

The protocol also acknowledges the role played by indigenous and local communities in sustainable harvest of genetic resources and their knowledge (traditional knowledge) of its handling. The protocol enforces the sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits with them after the sustainable usage of genetic resources.

India definitely needs a round of applause for hosting COP-11, in Hyderabad, which brought out the road map for ratification of Nagoya Protocol by more than 50 parties (participant countries) of CBD. Let me make one thing very clear, it’s the efforts of previous government which bore fruits in the regime of new government. We don’t need to congratulate either Mr. Narendra Modi or Prakash Javadekar.

India’s role in ratification of protocol need to be appreciated, but the fact is that India also has shown tremendous hypocrisy to execute the same at home in India. National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was created in 2003 much before the formulation of protocol with the similar objectives. Sadly, the NBA has done more harm to environment and losses to the biological resources of the country go un-estimated. There are not many case studies of sharing of benefits arising after from utilization of genetic resources and traditional knowledge with indigenous and local communities in India. NBA prefers to keep the money and other benefits in its own pockets.Continued here…

Summary of GYBN’s First Week

The first week of the CBD COP12 talks has come to an end, its been hectic for our GYBN Team members who have been busy following the negotiations on various issues being discussed at this meeting.

Our GYBN delegation has within the short five days of the talks succeeded in delivering their opening statement at the opening plenary followed by interventions on each of the following items, namely: marine & coastal biodiversity, ecosystem conservation & restoration and stakeholder engagement (with particular focus on youth inclusion) in addition to submitting a written intervention on synthetic biology. Moreover, GYBN has sent an open letter to Mr. Martin Schulz the President of the European Parliament in regards to the next European Commission. The letter urges the EU to adopt certain recommended improvements to its next European commission’s structure and mandate.

Blog 4-1

GYBN’s team members delivering their interventions at the negotiations

Moreover, GYBN has successfully launched its “Speaking for a Species” Campaign, which has witnessed a warm welcome by many. We were very pleased that the beautiful badges that has a photo of either a threatened or an endangered species, when presented to the delegates drew a smile on their faces. Of course, the first badge was presented to Dr. Braulio Dias, the Executive Secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

Blog 4-2

GYBN members presenting the badges to the delegates

Moreover, our team members are currently working along side the CBD Alliance on preparing for the Dodo and Busy bee awards – which are two awards started by the two networks as a way used to recognise good work and shame poor work by governments participating in the negotiations. The Dodo award is usually awarded to countries obstructing biodiversity conservation whilst the Busy Bee is given to countries that take positive action. Moreover, our team has been busy updating GYBN’s social media accounts on both twitter and facebook in addition to keeping the blog posts coming! They have also been working with the CBD Alliance contributing towards putting together the ECO newsletter through translation and writing articles. Moreover, on Friday the 10th of October 2014, GYBN has launched its “GBO4 -Youth Voices” Project whereby it organised a successful side event bringing together youth voices from around the world that showcased examples of how youth globally are working on implementing and achieving the Aichi Targets.

4-3

On the same day, Dr. Braulio Dias took time to meet with all youth delegates to discuss the role of youth in the negotiations along with answering many of our questions. Dressed in a traditional Korean costume, provided by our partners from KCBD, Dr. Dias said that “We need to change the attitude of people and it is good to start working with you.”

4-4

As the first week of the negotiations came to an end our team headed towards Woljeongsa Temple, which is located within Mt. Odaesan National Park. The group was treated to the generous and overwhelming hospitality of the Koreans especially of the KCBD members who organised an unforgettable and priceless experience through the temple stay. The team witnessed the Odaesan Culture Festival, which kicked off on Saturday the 11th of October 2014 – also known as the culture & biodiversity day, the day also marked the 2014 Pyeongchang Buddhist Declaration for Life-Peace which was released to coincide with the CBD COP12 talks. The team spent the rest of the day in reflection and meditation as they immersed themselves in nature and all the benefits that come with it. Hiking through the mountains of the national park, experiencing a tea ceremony, listening to traditional Korean music which all contributed towards relaxing the mind and feeding the soul. The team made their way back to the convention this morning recharged and ready for what will be a hectic yet exciting second week!

4-5

Open Letter from GYBN to President Martin Schulz on the Next European Commission

GYBN has sent an open letter to President Martin Schulz regarding the next European Commission.

“Therefore we would like to urge you to insist further that the following improvements are being made to the structure and mandates of the next European Commission:

  • Establish a Vice-President for Sustainability, coordinating the environment, fisheries, agriculture, and regional policy portfolios,
  • Upgrade the Vice-President for Energy Union to a Vice-President for “Climate Action and Energy Union” and have this reflected in her mandate,
  • Ensure the Environment portfolio is reinstated, restoring its competences and providing the Commissioner with a new mandate to respect the European Parliament’s work and implement the 7th EAP, and
  • Resolve potential conflicts of interest for the nominees, and notably for the Climate and Energy portfolio

The full text can be reviewed below:

2014-10-08 Open Letter from GYBN to President Martin Schulz on the next European Commission

Intervention on “Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration” by Youth in CBD COP 12

Dispatches from Pyeong Chang, S. Korea

Mirna Inés Fernández Pradel (Bolivia), Michelle Pazmiño (Ecuador), Kabir Arora (India)

The following intervention was made on agenda item number 26 ofdraft decision text in Working group II dealing with Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration.

Madam Chair, thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to share our inputs in regard to this item. We are speaking on behalf of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network.

With the current rate of biodiversity loss, we as youth are extremely concerned about the national commitments regarding conservation and restoration. We understand that it will not be possible to conserve earth’s biological diversity through the protection of critical areas alone. Therefore, damaged ecosystems need restoration activities to be recovered. We believe that the main efforts should focus on in situ conservation of natural areas, following  the Ecosystem based approach.

Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 shows that there is a tangible bias on the geographical patterns of restoration projects, with the highest investment levels in North America and Europe, and we are aware that high costs and technology requirements will limit its application in many developing countries. In addition, the complexity of tropical and subtropical ecosystems require strong scientific basis to implement restoration projects when damaged.

Therefore, we remind parties that the Preventive, Precautionary and the Polluter Pays Rio Principles, are crucial to ensure that restoration is additional to ongoing conservation efforts, otherwise it cannot count towards the Aichi target 15. We call parties to ensure that conservation of fragile ecosystems is the highest priority, while restoration strategies should be applied only on ecosystems that have already been damaged. Continued here…

Youth Intervention on “Synthetic Biology” in COP 12 CBD

Dispatches from Pyeongchang, S. Korea

Michelle Pazmiño & Kabir Arora

The following intervention was made on agenda item number 24 of draft decision text in Working group II dealing with “Synthetic Biology“.

Madam Chair, thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to share our position in regard to this item. We are speaking on behalf of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network.

We are representing future generations, and as so, we strongly urge parties to consider the precautionary principle when discussing this matter as we strongly feel that the risks and negative impacts imposed by synthetic biology are still unforeseeable and are not being taken fully into consideration. Scientific knowledge on the future implications of this issue is not yet mature, therefore synthetic biology is a new and emerging issue that has to be taken into account as highly relevant and influential to socio-economic and health issues.

Apart from robust unbiased scientific knowledge, it is essential to carefully analyze the economic and cultural impacts of this emerging issue before making any decision.  Continued here…

GYBN arrives in PYEONGCHANG

Amidst the mist and fog surrounding the ancient mountains of Pyeongchang in Korea, a beautiful youth movement has been getting ready to shine its light once again as it contributes towards protecting biodiversity for the coming generations. This youth movement comes under the family name of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN).

GYBN is an international network of youth organisations and individuals from all over the world whose common goal is to prevent the loss of biodiversity. As the official major group for youth in the negotiations under the CBD, GYBN aims to represent the voice of global youth in the negotiations under the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). Moreover, it aims to raise awareness among young people of the values of biodiversity in addition to connecting individuals and youth organisations, in order to build a global coalition to halt the loss of biodiversity.

ahng - spirit of the korean tigers

GYBN’s Youth Delegation filled with the spirit of the Korean Tigers during their Preparatory Meeting the day before the official opening of COP12

The idea of creating an international youth network to link young people in preserving of biodiversity immersed in 2008, however it wasn’t until the Tenth Conference of Parties (COP10) in 2010 that youth came together to announce their interest in starting a Global Youth Biodiversity Network.

GYBN was officially established at a conference hosted by NAJU in Berlin, Germany, which brought together 36 youth representing various organisations from 22 countries in August 2012. One of the many valuable outcomes of this conference was a position paper for the CBD COP11, which was hosted in Hyderabad. Two years down the line, GYBN had established a strong presence especially following the Montreal talks, which took place last June 2014. Four months later, within the short time since its establishment, GYBN succeeded in bringing together a youth delegation consisting of a representative from every inhabited continent to the CBD COP12 negotiations for the first time.

On the first day, despite the cold temperatures in Pyeongchang, the youth meeting room radiated with warmth erupting from the team’s excitement as they commenced their preparatory meeting for COP12. The CBD framework and decision making process was discussed followed by an overview of the COP12 agenda items and working groups. The team was treated to inspiring and wise words on how can youth influence the CBD process from a group of amazing panelists including Ms. Christine Von Weissäcker, Ms. Malta Qwathekana – the South African delegate, Mr. Horst Korn – the SBSTTA German Focal Point and Ms. Chantal Robichaud – a member of the Secretariat.

Blog post 1-2

Right to left: Ms. Christine Von Weissäcker, Ms. Malta Qwathekana, Ms. Chantal Robichaud and Mr. Horst Korn

The team also worked on defining youth positions on various topics along with their strategy plan for COP12 that covers various aspects such as interventions, campaigns, side events, press conferences and much more. After a long day of team building and educational sessions along with discussions around members personal goals and GYBN goals during COP12, and ways to achieve them; the generous Korean Council for Biological Diversity (KCBD) treated the team to a delicious Korean traditional style dinner. As the night took over and temperatures dropped lower, the team’s excitement soared as they looked forward to all that is to be experienced and gained in the next two weeks.