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Role

Overview

Universities and scientific institutions are in the unique position of offering help in three, interrelated areas:
  • Through the development and/or strengthening of capacity;
  • Through knowledge in the form of research, methodology, technologies and assessments;
  • Through direct actions in conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing.

Cooperation between the Secretariat and the academic and research community can take many forms, and be approached from a number of different angles. Such cooperation can also be a platform for universities to expand their scientific and technical cooperation in support of biodiversity with institutions in other nations, particularly developing country states.

This section briefly outlines just a few of the potential areas for collaboration and types of activities that could be envisaged under each.

Research

Universities and research centres generate new and important knowledge of direct relevance to the objectives of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol. There are opportunities for increasing the quality and breadth of expert advice on scientific issues entering Convention and Protocol processes, and also on matters of policy and implementation. The research community is also best placed to identify and explore emerging issues, and thus help to shape an international research agenda that effectively and proactively supports biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

Cooperation in the area of research could take on the form of, for example:
  • Contributions to CBD documents, either directly or through peer review;
  • Developing tools (e.g. scenarios, ecosystem valuation techniques, impact assessment techniques) that transform the best scientific understanding into clear policy options;
  • The design and/or implementation of research programs/projects that investigate questions of direct relevance to the Convention and the Cartegena Protocol.

Communication and Exchange

Universities and research centres, through their own faculty and their links to the international academic community, can draw on a vast and multidisciplinary range of expertise to shed new light on the important problems facing biodiversity. Seminars, conferences and other academic forums are ideal opportunities for stimulating such exchanges. These events can also be targeted towards the wider community, and serve to raise awareness of the importance of biological diversity.

Cooperation in this area could involve:
  • Interdiciplinary seminar series and conferences, organized locally, nationally and internationally;
  • Public events leading up to the annual celebration of May 22 - International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD).

Training and Capacity-building

A major obstacle to meeting the Convention's objectives is the lack of capacity among member countries to carry out their obligations. Scientific capabilities may be limited (for taxonomic identification or ecological monitoring for example), information management skills lacking (hindering data analysis and reporting), and legal capacity inadequate (preventing the effective translation of international policy into national legislation). Universities and research centres are not only repositories of such capacity, but also have invaluable experience in how to effectively transmit such knowledge.

Cooperation in the area of training and capacity-building could involve:
  • Developing training modules or programmes for CBD national focal points;
  • Developing and testing practical guidelines in support of implementation, particularly for developing countries;
  • Registering available training opportunities on Biosafety in the Compendium of Biosafety Training Courses in the Biosafety Clearing-House, doing the same for any Biodiversity training opportunities.

The wider context: International technical and scientific cooperation

Parties to the Convention, under Article 18, are required to promote international technical and scientific cooperation in the field of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, where necessary through the appropriate international and national institutions. As such, there are opportunities for the activities outlined above to serve as a platform for wider cooperation, potentially eligible for funding by governments as part of their obligations under the Convention.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme