MONTREAL, Canada—Sharing common positions on key agendas on biodiversity, representatives of the Asean member-states participated and put forward recommendations for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the 23rd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-23) of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Singapore, speaking on behalf of the Asean, encouraged parties, governments and members of the private sector attending SBSTTA-23 to scale up investments on ecosystem-based approaches, and to make use of opportunities for synergies between biodiversity and the climate finance mechanisms.
Wendy Yap Hwee Min, director of the International Biodiversity Division of Singapore’s National Parks Board, said best practices and experiences, including vulnerability to climate change, at the regional and subregional level will be taken into account in the process of developing the new biodiversity framework.
“Asean, for example, has considered how our protected areas and national parks, through the Asean Heritage Programme, can be part of our climate adaptation initiatives,” Singapore said.
The Asean member state also highlighted the Sixth Asean Heritage Parks Conference conducted in Pakse, Lao PDR, in October 2019, where a parallel session on ecosystem-based adaptation was held.
Singapore also noted the ongoing consultation on the crafting of the Asean Roadmap on Urban Green Infrastructure, which sets to incorporate ecosystem-based adaptation solutions in the urban setting.
“In addition, through the support of the Asean Centre for Biodiversity [ACB] and in cooperation with SwedBio, Asean has been facilitating meetings and discussions between the biodiversity national focal points and the climate-change focal points in the 10 Asean member-states to create a network of practitioners who will foster nature-based solutions in the Region,” Singapore said.
The Philippines supported this statement and endorsed the development of a global standard for nature-based solutions to create a common understanding of what constitutes a good nature-based solution.
Malaysia, on the other hand, suggested having preemptive measures within the targets and indicators in the biodiversity framework, apart from keeping the proposed targets specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based and the language simple for a wider audience.
“Malaysia reiterates that major transformative changes in every human activity are crucial and inevitable to minimize biodiversity loss to the maximum extent,” said Nor Azmi Bin Ahmad, principal assistant secretary of Malaysia’s Ministry of Water, Land, and Natural Resources’ Biodiversity and Forestry Management Division, reading Malaysia’s intervention.
Indonesia, meanwhile, proposed new potential targets or indicators to support the post-2020 targets, such as “the proportion of critical habitats in conservation areas and Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures from baseline” and the “the number of sites and trends in representation of critical habitats that are managed and maintained from baseline.”
With its national statement read by Dr. Gono Semiadi, of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences or Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, Indonesia underscored the role of the youth in supporting the post-2020 targets.
“We consider that the youth is the most vulnerable group to the effect of environmental harms as they are the generation that will live with the consequences of today’s actions or inactions,” Indonesia said.
Similarly, the Philippines pointed out that the post-2020 framework should be aligned with the goals and targets of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
It highlighted that its medium-term plan and long-term vision have integrated the global biodiversity targets into national development and sectoral planning frameworks.
With the implementation of the recently passed national law expanding the National Integrated Protected Areas System, the protected area coverage in the Philippines increased by 2 million hectares.
“[This] represents our contribution toward meeting national and global targets on terrestrial protected areas,” Armida Andres, assistant director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau said, delivering the national statement of the Philippines.
Cambodia, led by Chan Somaly, deputy secretary general of the National Council for Sustainable Development of the Ministry of Environment, and Thailand, led by Dr. Benchamaporn Wattanatongchai of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, issued their national statements in various agenda items in this meeting.
The meeting of SBSTTA here from November 25 to 29 aimed to lay the groundwork for negotiations to prepare the next year’s UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, and the development of the ambitious and effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Delegates from parties, regional organizations and private sector proposed themes for goals, and targets of post-2020 global biodiversity framework and reviewed new scientific and technical information on biodiversity and climate change.
“It was a productive five-day meeting where Asean as a group had expressed its regional positions on how to chart our directions beyond the 2020 global biodiversity targets,” said ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim.