Biodiversity for Sustainable Development – some outputs of COP 12

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The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened concurrently with the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (COP/MOP 1) from 6-17 October 2014, in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. During this COP, around 3,000 delegates gathered and agreed to the Pyeongchang Roadmap, containing five decisions on: (i) mid-term review of progress towards the goals of the Strategic Plan; and the Aichi targets; (ii) biodiversity and sustainable development; (iii) review of progress in providing support in implementing the objectives of the Convention; (iv) cooperation with other conventions; and a (v) strategy for resource mobilization.

In line with this COP’s theme ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’ participating Ministers of Environment stressed the mutually supportive nature of the Aichi Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This message was conveyed through the Gangwon Declaration. Learn more on the role of biodiversity for sustainable development through the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s engagement during COP12 here.

Read more about the key issues of discussion during COP 12 here.

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Raising awareness for the interlinkages between biodiversity & health at CoP 12 in Korea

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The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative continuously raises awareness for the complex interlinkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services and health. This is based on the firm belief that biodiversity lies the foundation for human health as it provides healthy ecosystems on which we depend for our food and fresh water or aids in regulating climate floods and disease. Biodiversity provides recreational benefits and offers aesthetic and spiritual enrichment. It further contributes to local livelihoods, to both traditional and modern medicines and to economic development.

In light of this mandate, most of our partners recently attended the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which took place from 6 – 17 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. In addition to events and meetings, the BaCH Initiative and its partners further facilitated four side events on issues around biodiversity and health. COP12

Here are some highlights of our work during CoP-12

TACKLING COMMON DRIVERS OF DISEASE AND BIODIVERSITY LOSS: A ONE HEALTH APPROACH

by EcoHealth Alliance, DIVERSITAS, UNU-IAS, SCBD, WHO and TRAFFIC

During this side event, the BaCH Initiative partners jointly with other organisations emphasised the that human disease and biodiversity loss share common drivers, providing opportunities for cross-sectoral collaboration for co-benefits for health and biodiversity. This becomes particularly clear in the context of overexploitation of wild fauna and flora which places pressure on wild populations and threatens the health-supporting ecosystem services they provide. Infectious diseases present a major direct threat to human health, with over one billion human cases globally each year. It is further increasingly recognized as a threat to other species (including but not limited to plants and terrestrial and marine animals). This has major implications for ecosystems as a whole, and can threaten food security and the provision of several ecosystem services.

Against this background, this side event highlighted the need for a “One Health” approach that considers the connections between humans, animals and environment. Partners highlighted that such an approach allows for a more integrated and proactive mechanism for tackling shared health and biodiversity concerns. The event further enabled debates around the upcoming CBD-WHO State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Health and particularly engaged participants in relevant discussion under COP 12 agenda item 16 (sustainable development), sub-item 3 (biodiversity and health).  (This side event took place on Tuesday 7th October from 18:15 to 19:45)

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FRAMING BIODIVERSITY AND HEALTH IN THE CONTEXT OF THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

by SCBD, WHO, Bioversity International, Diversitas, Ecohealth Alliance, FIOCRUZ, Wildlife Conservation Society, Health & Ecosystems: Analysis Of Linkages (WCS-HEAL), UNU-IAS and TRAFFIC.

Jointly with the WHO, the SCBD organised a side event on the forthcoming volume of the State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Human Health. The event highlighted key thematic areas of the publication including agricultural biodiversity, food and nutrition security, water quality, infectious diseases, One Health, traditional medicine knowledge and sustainable use in an effort to mobilise plenary discussion under the CBD-WHO joint work programme. Keynote presentations by the CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Diaz as well as WHO partners further emphasised the need to address these key issues in an integrated manner by acknowledging interconnections and synergising efforts. Besides, the organisers actively engaged participants in discussions with some of the core partners who have co-led work on various chapters of the publication including several BaCH Initiative partners such as UNU-IAS, TRAFFIC as well as Bioversity International and Ecohealth Alliance. (This side event took place on Wednesday 8th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)

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BIODIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH: OPERATIONALISING LINKAGES BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE GROUND

by UNU-IAS, Bioversity International, Ecohealth Alliance, TRAFFIC, SCBD, UNEP, UNDP and International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB)

This event focused on different dimensions related to the interplay between biodiversity and community health including challenges, strengths and opportunities by sharing case studies. Through keynote speeches by several BaCH Initiative partners such as Bioversity International, UNU-IAS, TRAFFIC and the SCBD, the event highlighted the crucial role of biological resources and well-functioning ecosystems to ensuring the health of humans animals and other life forms. The side event further emphasised gaining importance in identification and use of resources that help to overcome new health conditions, in light of changing climatic conditions. Acknowledging this year’s COP theme “Biodiversty for Sustainable Development“, the key message of the event was the need for policies which are aligned better with basic challenges faced especially by vulnerable populations to achieve their development aspirations. The side event further showcased the progress made within the BaCH Initiative to foster greater interactions among relevant stakeholders and partners to synergise efforts and achieving conservation and development objectives. (This side event took place on Thursday 9th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)

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BIODIVERSITY, HEALTH, FOOD, NUTRITION AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: WAYS FORWARD
by Bioversity International, Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and SCBD

The dialogue session was jointly launched by Bioversity International (a BaCH Initiative partner) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The session included a key note speech by the CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Diaz further who addressed the relevance of agrobiodiversity, food security and nutrition in light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Post-2015 Development Agenda. The event further showcased the work carried out under the CBD-WHO joint work programme (strategically linked to this core thematic area of Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health) and highlighted findings in the State of Knowledge Review – an upcoming flagship publication on the interconnections between biodiversity and human health. Relevant Parties involved in the GEF-funded Bioversity for Food and Nutrition project (including Brazil and Turkey), and a representative of the Government of Korea speaking on Korean traditional food cultures further added value to the discussions through sharing cross-country experiences. The organisers further engaged the participants in vivid discussions with the interdisciplinary panel highlighting the relevance of agrobiodiversity, food security and nutrition for implementing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 14 and 13 in the context of the SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. (This side event took place on Friday 10th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)

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Why the Nagoya Protocol matters for biodiversity and community health

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The long hello

Adopted on 29 October 2010 during the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) (short Nagoya Protocol) finally reached more than 50 ratifications on 12 October – after years of negotiations. As an supplementary agreement to the CBD the Nagoya Protocol aims to support the implementation of the third CBD objective: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The Nagoya Protocol can be seen as a key achievement for sustainable development since it provides a transparent legal framework for users and providers on accessing, trading, sharing and monitoring the use of genetic resources.

The Nagoya Protocol requires user countries to take legal, administrative and policy measures ensuring compliance with the access and benefit-sharing law of provider countries. This implies measures to ensure fair and equitable benefit sharing from the use of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources as well as genetic resources held by indigenous and local communities. This is supposed to be based on mutually agreed terms (MAT). Besides, countries commit themselves to introduce measures to ensure to obtain a prior and informed consent (PIC) or approval and involvement of respective indigenous and local communities before accessing traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. This also includes genetic resources, where communities have the established right to grant access. Besides, when implementing the provisions on traditional knowledge, countries are called upon considering customary laws, community protocols and procedures of indigenous and local communities and to actively support the development of community protocols on ABS and traditional knowledge.

In light of this tremebiodiversityndous step, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP) took place in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, from 13 to 17 October 2014.

Read more about the relevance of the Nagoya Protocol for the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative here

Learn more about the Nagoya Protocol and its implications for the effective implementation of the CBD here

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Making the connections: environmental degradation’s impact on exotic diseases such as Ebola

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The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative through its multiple partners strongly advocates in international policy forums to address pressing development priorities and challenges through acknowledging and fostering the linkages between biodiversity and health. In light of the current Ebola outbreak, one of the areas of main concern addressed by the EcoHealth Alliance – a BaCH Initiative partner – is the influence of environmental degradation and climate change on Ebola-like catastrophes as well as inherent functional chains. As such during the most recent Twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD-COP 12) from 6 – 17 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, the BaCH Initiative strongly emphasised the need for a “One Health”. In doing so, the BaCH Initiative highlights the need to acknowledge that human disease and biodiversity loss share common drivers, providing opportunities for cross-sectoral collaboration for co-benefits for health and biodiversity.

Find out more about BaCH’s engagement in promoting a ‘One Health’ approach at the CBD-COP 12 here

Biodiversity, food security, nutrition and income through home gardens

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The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s partner Bioversity International started a home garden initiative in Nepal in 2002. Based on support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in collaboration with Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) and other partners, the initiative studied how home gardens can contribute to biodiversity, food security, nutrition and household income.

A recent impact study highlights following results:

  • Home gardeners see their yields nearly triple from 300kg per year to as much as 900kg per year.
  • Biodiversity increased in the home gardens of participating households, with 66 species under cultivation as compared to fewer than 40 species before the project.
  • Farmers now maintain higher plant diversity and cultivate a greater range of plant groups – vegetables, fruits, spices, medicinal herbs, fodder and ornamentals.
  • More households are selling their garden products and participating households doubled their overall consumption of produce.

Read more about the partners involved and the scaling up of the project here.

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Protecting traditional knowledge through biodiversity conservation

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Tradition is something that needs to be created, not simply protected. If we are to protect anything, it is nature itself, which supports tradition.

Morimoto Kiko, an artist and master in painting Kimonos from Kyoto, established an eco-cultural enterprise in Chot Sam, Cambodia in the mid 1990s. Jointly with women weavers he is bringing back lost skills through revitalising traditional knowledge and practices. His work is also related to biodiversity conservation. Morimoto and the local community are planting a traditional forest where everything from the natural dyes to the silk can be harvested in the rich natural environment. Learn more about the Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles and the underlying philosophy around linking nature with tradition, craftsmanship, and collaboration here.

Watch a short clip on Morimoto’s work here.

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Impact of climate change on human health

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During the recent World Health Organization (WHO) Conference on Health and Climate at WHO Headquarters in
Geneva, Switzerland from 27-29 August 2014 parties highlighted the severe impacts of climate change on human health. Almost 400 participants from governments and non-governmental organizations as well as UN agencies and the private sector gathered to reflect on relevant issues such as the state of climate science and how it relates to health as well as the public health response to climate change and health resilience. Parties also discussed about health benefits and health promotion while mitigating climate change and the economics of health and climate change. Learn more about the results of the conference and ways to link climate, sustainable development and health policy in the future here.

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