Saturday, June 15, 2024

Advancing Biodiversity Health Through Science, Tech

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Mr. David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity,

Ms. Senka Barudanovi, Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice Chair

Ms. Jihyun Lee, Secretary of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice,

Colleagues and friends.

My thanks to the Chair for her kind words expressing sympathy for the tragic and devastating floods that have befallen our beloved host country, Kenya. We from the United Nations have stepped up to support Kenya in this moment of need.

It is a pleasure to welcome you to Nairobi for the second consecutive meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice at UNEPs home.

As I said at our last gathering, we need a whole of government, whole of society approach to make the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework a success. For that approach to become a reality, every country must have access to the right science, technology and technical skills. This body is tasked with helping to make this happen.

So, please allow me to look at three areas where there are some gaps and challenges. Or, put more positively, opportunities that this body can act on.

One, increasing accountability and capacity.

The GBFs monitoring framework puts strong emphasis on transparency, responsibility and accountability. We must agree on our metrics of success if we are going to hold ourselves accountable. But many Parties have reported barriers to using the framework.

Implementation of the framework will require strengthened national capacities for monitoring and reporting progress. And coherent approaches to aggregating national data that help to review progress at a global stage.

The issue of capacity applies across the board. Developing nations need support on technical issues, such as synthetic biology, which is the subject of a recommendation being presented to help address inequitable participation.

I ask this body to take key decisions that will enable countries to deliver on their commitments.

Two, advance the Global Action Plan on biodiversity and health.

Planetary health is closely linked to human health. But the health sector currently does not link up well with action on issues of environmental agenda. The Global Action Plan is a chance to bring biodiversity to the attention of decision makers across all of government and society. And to spur them into action.

We need provisions that create strong incentives for countries to integrate health dimensions into biodiversity and biodiversity into the health sector. The Plan before you outlines concrete activities on how to do this.

So, I ask you to take the opportunity of this meeting to strengthen the Plan and recommend it for adoption by COP16 in Cali.

Three, use the global oceans agenda to elevate marine and coastal work.

We at UNEP are proud to have worked on the coastal and oceans agenda since the 1970s, when the Regional Seas Conventions were established. These conventions cover, in a way, biodiversity within national jurisdiction. But species that move and migrate dont know if they are within or beyond a jurisdiction. They keep moving. Therefore, we must link up to cover the whole ocean.

The UN Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty the BBNJ – and Oceans Decade put ocean action high on the global agenda. We must take advantage of this. This body can collaborate with UNEP on identifying and recognizing effective area-based conservation measures. On developing guidelines to describe areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas. And on identifying options for collaboration in the implementation of the BBNJ.

Friends,

Thank you for all the work you have done on ensuring science and technical and technological knowledge work to back healthy biodiversity, for healthy people and a healthy planet. I hope you will take strong decisions to advance this agenda.

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