Hello Emerging Leaders for Biodiversity!
Apologies for my lack of blogging during the past two and a half weeks while on the ground at the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) 14th Conference of the Parties in Egypt. During my time there as the youth for the Canadian Delegation I was fully entrenched in all aspects of the conference. I invite you to check out the recently released second edition of the "CBD in a nutshell" guidebook published by the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, the official avenue for youth participation in the conference, which explains the full history, processes and areas for engagement in its 200 pages. A PDF version is available online via their website.
To share my experience at the COP, I would like to start with a description of my daily activities followed by a series of links to help you understand the outcomes of the meeting.
First thing in the morning I would sit in on the daily Canadian Delegation briefing, which would summarize the on goings of the previous day, including the Agenda Items in the halls, side events and bilateral meetings with other Parties or non-Parties.
Agenda items are first discussed in the main plenary hall, and then in working groups based on their categorization (namely administrative or scientific). If the item is highly controversial and Parties (states) cannot come to agree on policy wording, they will be invited to participate in contact groups or even smaller friends of the chair groups to come to agreements. Controversial items at this COP included digital sequencing information, synthetic biology and the post 2020 framework.
Side events, information booths and parallel events are run by various Parties and non-parties (NGOs, youth, businesses, industry representatives, Indigenous groups, sub-regional governments, etc.) to highlight relevant projects, reporting, implementation success stories and other topics of interest to participants at lunch and dinner times, as well as throughout the negotiations. These side events were more interesting to me than the negotiations due to their enlightening discussions on the implementation of the CBD policies.
Many members of the delegation, including the Heads of delegation, would participate in private meetings throughout the two weeks to form alliances and share their positions with other Parties and non-parties on specific topics. One day, I was fortunate to join in on some bilateral discussions and witness the formation of such agreements and arrangements for future collaboration with NGOs and Parties.
The morning meetings then discussed the timetable for the day, which were posted at https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2018. As the conference went on, the timetable became more and more overloaded and often items would switch on a dime, requiring negotiators to always keep an eye on the timetable to make sure they didn't miss their chance in the spotlight, as the Chair did not let talks start if the room was half empty. The leads, back ups and supportive staff for each agenda item would make arrangements here in the chance of overlapping items on the table, as there was two negotiation halls and many people covering multiple items. The list of the day’s side and parallel events was also provided. If delegation members were running or promoting a side event, they would have the chance to speak a bit on it. The morning meeting then closed with any additional administrative details and a good luck for the day!
The next 10 hours were spent running between negotiation halls, the side events, bilateral meetings at the food court and semi-functional washrooms, always in a hurry with something important to do next! Hence, my full absorption and lack of blogging throughout the conference.
Now, as I find time to breathe back home, I will be going through the numerous summary reports to figure out what exactly were the political outcomes of this most recent conference of the parties. See links below!
Thanks for reading, and look to our next newsletter for a further, detailed summary on the policy outcomes and information on an upcoming platform for youth participation in Canada!
Kelsey is an Environmental Consultant with formal training in the field of Ecology. Kelsey holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in General Biology and International Development from the University of Guelph and a graduate certificate in Ecosystem Restoration.
In her role as Junior Ecologist, Field Support Staff and a GIS/CAD Technician, Kelsey assists with Ecological Land Classification inventories, mitigation plans, aquatic habitat assessments, wetland evaluations, tree health assessments and inventories, Significant Wildlife Habitat assessments and Species at Risk assessments.
She is Coordinator of Emerging Leaders for Biodiversity, sits on the board of the Ontario Environment Network, and held the youth spot on the Canadian Delegation at the recent COP14 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Blogs are written by ELB members who want to share their stories about Ontario's biodiversity.