Hello once again Canada,
I'm back now from COP13, and after having decompressed from a few days, I think I've finally gotten my head wrapped around this whole crazy conference. COP13- or I guess just COPs- was fascinating. The whole process, from the formality of each country's first time on the mic, to the late contact group meetings that can go into the early hours of the night as countries argue over words, somehow happen during the same two week period. Some days it seems like no work gets done, but other days you'll fly through a bunch of Conference Room Papers in three hours. One day, for example, Working Group 2 (the conference was split in half, into two groups, in order to get everything done quickly) quickly created 3 L-documents (the final documents before they get agreed upon officially by all of the parties) from their previous Conference Room Papers in 45 minutes, only to then spend the next 2 and a half/ 3 hours discussing one document. It's honestly shocking that anything ever gets done.
To get a bit more into the facts, while I was there over the first week, 8 L-documents were created and agreed upon. They were for the following documents: Modus Operandi of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation across COP and COPMOPs (UNEP/ CBD/COP/13/L.5, CP/COP-MOP/8/L.2 and NP/COP-MOP/2/L.2), Sustainable use of biodiversity: Bushmeat and sustainable wildlife management (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.2), Recommendation from the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to the CBD (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.3), Climate-related geoengineering (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.4), Marine spatial planning and training initiatives (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.6), and Implications of the IPBES assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production for the work of the convention (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.7). All of these documents can be found here: https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2016/cop-13/documents under the COP13, COPMOP8, and COPMOP2 document subheadings. The big hot topic at this COP was synthetic biology, and how digitized genomes should be regulated under the CBD and its protocols, and discussions on this topic not only lasted the week while I was there, but took up a good chunk of time in the second week as well. Finally, the locations of the next three COPs were decided. They'll take place in Egypt (COP14), China (COP15), and Turkey (COP16)
The whole process is incredible complex and wonderfully interesting, and makes me feel hopeful for the continued protection of biodiversity. People seemed to really care about the protection and promotion of biodiversity, and hopefully this passion and these discussions will leave this conference and turn into real world, on the ground, action.
Just a quick update from down here in beautiful Cancun (I've heard it's been snowing in Canada... pretty happy to have missed that). I'm just about to start the second day of COP13 events, but I've got lots to update you all on.
A week ago now was the Civil Society and Youth Forum, where young people from Mexico and across the world came together to talk about mainstreaming biodiversity, not only across the four main sectors being focused on here at the COP (Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, and Tourism), but across Urban Planning as well, something that we though was important enough to highlight as well. The forum, overall, was great, but instead of going over specifics parts of what happened, I instead want to focus on the general atmosphere. Even with the supposed cultural and language differences and barriers, that arise at a large international meeting such as this, it was incredible to see that we all have the same problems, and all want the same solutions. The problem of sustaining and protecting biodiversity is one that crosses borders, and was honestly pretty incredible to see.
After that I attended the Science Forum, which was also good. The forum also focused on mainstreaming biodiversity, but only across the four main sectors. The general feeling that came out of the forum was that biodiversity science needs to be used and incorporated into policy more by decision makers, and that science needs to incorporate local and indigenous communities, as well as be accessible to them.
Finally, the COP13 officially started on Sunday night, but I'll get into more of that in the next blog post. If you have a hankering to know more about the proceeding right now, be sure to follow us on instragram, twitter, and facebook. You might also want to follow GYBN on all of those platforms as well, as they have far more people in their media team than just me.
Blogs are written by ELB members who want to share their stories about Ontario's biodiversity.