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Island Biodiversity - Background

At its seventh meeting, the Conference of the Parties (COP) adopted its multi-year programme of work up to 2010 (decision VII/31). Island biodiversity was identified as a new thematic area to be developed under the Convention and as the item for in-depth consideration at COP 8 in 2006.

To this end, the COP requested the Executive Secretary to develop a preparatory process for the work of the Convention’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) on island biodiversity, including electronic forums, a meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG), and a liaison group to be held immediately after the International Meeting for the Review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA), which was scheduled for January 2005 (decision VII/31, paragraph 8).

In response to this request, the Executive Secretary convened, with the financial support of the Government of Spain, a meeting of the AHTEG on Island Biodiversity in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife (Canary Islands), Spain, from 13 to 17 December 2004. The AHTEG meeting was attended by 20 Government-nominated experts, most from island nations, as well as by representatives of international and non-governmental organizations.

The main mandate of the AHTEG was the development of proposals for a programme of work on island biological diversity, the draft elements of which were submitted to SBSTTA at its tenth meeting. SBSTTA considered the item and adopted the goals, global targets and timeframes and island-specific priority actions of the programme of work on island biodiversity in recommendation X/1.

At its eighth meeting, in 2006, the COP adopted the programme of work on island biodiversity. The COP requested Parties to apply the targets and timeframes in the programme of work on island biodiversity as a flexible framework within which national and/or regional targets may be developed, according to national priorities and capacities, and taking into account differences in diversity between countries; to use existing national indicators or to establish national indicators, where possible, in accordance with the list of global indicators for assessing progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target; and report in the context of the national reports of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The COP also requested the Executive Secretary to assist Parties, and collaborate with other Governments, international organizations and other relevant bodies, to implement the programme of work on island biodiversity.

At its ninth meeting, in 2008, the COP recognized the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) as one of the mechanisms to implement the island biodiversity programme of work. The COP also requested the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to review in-depth the programme of work on island biodiversity at one of its meetings after the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, to be sent for consideration by the COP at its 11th meeting (decision IX/21).

For information on current activities in the island biodiversity programme of work, click here.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme