IIED at the biodiversity COP in Cancun


IIED and partners were at the Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Cancun, Mexico, in December to highlight sustainable solutions that protect biodiversity. 

The CBD COP13 logo. IIED and partners will be at the Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Cancun, Mexico, in December

The highest governing body for the Convention on Biological Diversity held its annual meeting (COP13) in Cancun, Mexico, from 4-17 December 2016 to negotiate international measures to ensure conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Some 10,000 people representing governments, civil society and the private sector attended, and IIED was involved in hosting events with partners to highlight research findings, including work on mainstreaming biodiversity, forest conservation and rural livelihood initiatives, and equity in conservation.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a global agreement to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable distribution of its benefits. It entered into force in 1993 and has been ratified by 196 parties.

Hosted by the government of Mexico, COP13's central focus was on promoting the implementation of the convention's 2011-20 strategic plan and the Aichi goals, with an emphasis on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism sectors.

Governing bodies for the two protocols, agreed under the convention, were held alongside COP13: the Cartagena Protocol on biotechnology safety and the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources.

These international agreements are important to IIED's work on natural resources, and in particular to work with partners on conservation, indigenous rights and poverty eradication.

IIED and partner events

Women smallholder farmers: guardians of agrobiodiversity

Date: Tuesday, 6 December, 2016
Partners: Asociación ANDES, IIED, Swift Foundation, Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) and the Farmer Seed Network (China)

This side event presented evidence of the critical role of women in conserving and enhancing agrobiodiversity for food security in the face of climate change, and explore novel approaches for customary sustainable use and biodiversity mainstreaming.

ANDES presented the results of a baseline study on neglected and underutilised species and nutrition in the Lares area of Southern Peru, and two women farmers from Lares will present the Maize Park 'Challakuy', a biocultural landscape that is being established in a centre of maize biodiversity.  

IIED presented findings from the SIFOR (Smallholder Innovation for Resilience) project in the Potato Park (Peru), SouthWest China, the Indian Himalayas and coastal Kenya, focusing on trends in crop diversity and climate, the role of women in local seed systems, and the impacts of biocultural innovations on food security and adaptation.

Two women farmers from China presented the Stone Village biocultural landscape in Yunnan. CCAP will introduce its work on participatory plant breeding  and how this has influenced China's National Seed Law, and will present a new study on national seed policies and trends in China in the last 50 years.

Mainstreaming biodiversity in development and the SDGs: sharing and developing workable solutions

Date: Sunday, 11 December, 2016
Partners: IIED, UNEP-WCMC, and the CBD Secretariat

This one-day event brought together a wide range of participants (government, NGOs and private sector) to share their experiences of biodiversity mainstreaming into national and sectoral development plans and processes, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It looked at work at the national-level, effective approaches to link the SDGs, and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), and activities at the international level to support these processes. The aim was to start to build a community of practice that can share experience, identify barriers and solutions, and find areas where collaboration between international and national organisations would help.

Related reading: Sharing lessons for mainstreaming biodiversity at Cancun COP

Improving the evidence base on the effectiveness of forest conservation and rural livelihood initiatives in delivering social and ecological benefits

Date: Monday, 12 December, 2016
Speakers: Will include representatives from CI, GEF, IIED, and CIFOR
Partners: IIED and Conservation International

Despite growing interest in ensuring that forest conservation and rural development activities deliver multiple benefits, there is a lack of rigorous evidence on the extent to which these activities deliver both conservation and livelihood outcomes. Policymakers, donors and practitioners need credible assessments of how conservation and sustainable development initiatives affect forest cover, biodiversity conservation, family livelihoods and human well-being, so that they can improve the design and delivery of policies and programmes that deliver multiple benefits.

This session highlighted the need for rigorous impact assessment of the conservation and livelihood outcomes from forest conservation and rural development activities, provided examples of methodologies and approaches that have been used to improve the scientific evidence base, and discussed how such information can help contribute to both the design of more effective conservation and sustainable development initiatives. 

Assessing equity in protected area conservation

Date: Tuesday, 13 December, 2016
Speakers: Dr Braulio Dias, CBD Secretariat (TBC); Kate Schreckenberg, Southampton University, UK; Phil Franks, IIED; Medard Twinamatsiko, Mbarara University, Uganda
Partner organisations: IIED, CBD Secretariat, IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme and Forest People's Programme

This event focused on how to assess progress in achieving the "equitable management" element of Aichi Target 11 and sought to provide a clear understanding of the meaning of equity in the context of protected area conservation and the relationship between equity and governance, and presented and discussed practical methods to assess equity in protected area conservation through a combination of governance assessment and social assessment.

Some initial results from these methods were explored and there was a broader discussion on the linkages between social governance/equity assessment at site, and at national level.