SUMMARY REPORT OF THE COP 12 BUSINESS AND BIODIVERSITY FORUM
On 12-14 October 2014 the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, with the generous support of the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of Germany, hosted a three day business and biodiversity forum in parallel with COP 12. The themes that were prioritized for this business forum, mainstreaming, capacity building and reporting, were selected to reflect parts of the COP12 business draft decision that were under negotiation at that time.
The focus areas on day one were Sustainable Tourism, Commodities, Bio Trade and the Global Partnership. On days two and three discussion groups focused on the issues and concerns surrounding the implementation of the aforementioned key themes. All sessions focused on presentations and interactive discussions which led to expressions of interest for concrete actions by Parties to create enabling environments so that businesses can integrate values of biodiversity into their operations and strategies.
Approximately 250 people participated in the various elements of the forum over the course of the three days. This included official representatives of Parties, businesses, associations, NGOs, academia and other stakeholder groups, and represented well over 30 countries. The set-up of using a mix of panel presentations followed by smaller discussion groups appears to have been fairly successful, with a lot of positive feedback emanating from participants. Having several business-related topics and sets of players working in parallel under the Forum, yet in complementary approaches (guidelines, best practice cases, policy development and assessments) was also perceived as leading to productive cross-cutting cooperation and exchanges. Following the conclusion of the business forum, a summary statement was prepared for the High Level Segment of COP and was read out by Mr. Reg Melanson, Executive Director, Canadian Business and Biodiversity Council and Chair of the Executive Committee and the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity.
The discussions during this three day event had several common elements that went across the various topics and themes. These included:
- enhancing communication between the various stakeholders to create a common “business case” and a basis of understanding and trust;
- creating practical ways that will help businesses contribute to the achievements of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, including recognition of expertise and excellence;
- creating momentum to achieve scale and results from the various business initiatives towards the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals and related process;
- helping both the public and private sectors to operate within planetary boundaries; and
- creating a level playing field by ensuring the implementation of consistent legislation, regulation and economic incentives.
There were also some common challenges that were identified during the forum. These included:
- The difficulty of going beyond the frontrunner companies, to reach out to the mainstream, including SMEs;
- Lack of financial and human resources for many business and biodiversity programmes and initiatives, including for the members of the Global Partnership;
- Translating the concepts of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into business language and operational management decisions;
- Encouraging all stakeholders (including a wider range of CBD Parties) to find the balance between natural, social and financial capital; and
- Involving those stakeholders that may not be aware of the roles of biodiversity and related services on their agenda.
Reports from individual sessions are being prepared for distribution. In addition, a full report on the outcomes of the discussions is being prepared, and will be made available shortly, as will the presentations given during the forum.
FULL AGENDA AND SPEAKERS LIST AVAILABLE HERE
FULL PROGRAMME AND SPEAKER LIST
The COP12 business engagement decision can be found here: (http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/cop/cop-12/insession/cop-12-L-25-en.pdf).