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Consideration of Article 13 by the COP

Background and status

The Conference of the Parties (COP) addressed Article 13 for the first time at its fourth meeting, under the agenda item Measures for Implementing the Convention. Public education and awareness is addressed in Part B of decision IV/10 and subsequently in decision V/17.

At its fourth meeting the COP decided that public education and awareness issues will be integrated into and become an integral component of all sectoral and thematic items under the programme of work of the Convention. (decision IV/10, Part B, paragraph 5) This approach was reiterated at COP 5 (decision V/17, paragraph 5).

COP 4 invited UNESCO to consider launching a global initiative on biodiversity education, training and public awareness, and requested the Executive Secretary to explore the feasibility of such an initiative and report to COP 5 on progress. (decision IV/10, Part B, paragraph 6). At its fifth meeting, the COP requested the Executive Secretary, in cooperation with UNESCO, to convene a consultative working group of experts to identify priority activities for the proposed global initiative on biological diversity public education and awareness (decision V/17, paragraph 2). The first meeting of the CBD/UNESCO consultative expert group was held in Paris, France in July 2000. The report of that meeting is document UNEP/CBD/GEEPA/1/1. The second meeting was held in November 2000, in Bergen, Norway. The report of that meeting is document UNEP/CBD/GEEPA/2/3. The third meeting was held in November 2001, in Bilbao, Spain. The report of that meeting is document UNEP/CBD-UNESCO/CWGEBDEPA-3/3.

COP 6 adopted Decision VI/19 on Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA), which contains information on a Global Initiative on CEPA. In addition to requesting the Executive Secretary to develop a communication strategy for the Secretariat (Decision VI/19, paragraph 4(e)), the annex to the decision also contains the programme elements for the Global Initiative.

The main components of this work programme are:

  • Programme element 1:
    "Towards a global communication, education and public awareness network":
    Stimulating and coordinating networks composed of new information technologies and traditional communication mechanisms
  • Programme element 2:
    " Exchange of knowledge and expertise":
    Exchanging of knowledge and expertise among professionals, enhancing development and innovation on CEPA
  • Programme element 3:
    "Capacity building for communication, education and public awareness":
    Developing capacity of the Parties to market biodiversity to other sectors, and mainstream biodiversity into the work of other sectors

Cost estimates for CEPA activities were reflected in Decision VI/29, Table 3: Special Voluntary Trust Fund (BE) for additional voluntary contributions in support of approved activities for the biennium 2003-2004.

COP 8 adopted Decision VIII/6 which included a short list of priority activities to guide implementation of the programme of work on CEPA in the biennium. The short list is comprised of ten priority activities:

  1. Establish implementation structure or process for CEPA activities
  2. Assess the state of knowledge and awareness on biodiversity and determine capacity for communication
  3. Develop key messages
  4. Implement media relations strategy
  5. Elaborate toolkits for development and implementation of CEPA strategies
  6. Organize workshops for the articulation of CEPA strategies
  7. Develop infrastructure and support for a global network
  8. The International Day for Biological Diversity
  9. Raise profile of meetings of the Conference of the Parties and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)
  10. Strengthen formal and informal education on Biodiversity

    The COP decision also invited the United Nations General Assembly to consider declaring 2010 as the International Year for Biodiversity.

COP Guidance

The COP has urged Parties to place special emphasis on Article 13 in the development of their national strategies and action plans. It has also urged Parties to:

  • promote education on biodiversity through relevant institutions including NGOs
  • allocate resources for the use of education and communication instruments
  • allocate appropriate resources for the strategic use of education and communication instruments at each phase of policy formulation, planning, implementation and evaluation
  • integrate biodiversity concerns into education strategies
  • support relevant initiatives by major groups which foster stakeholder participation in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use
    (decision IV/10, B, paragraph 1).

The COP has encouraged Parties to make use of the media to promote public education and awareness about the importance of and appropriate methods for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Where necessary, provisions of the Convention should be illustrated and translated into local languages (decision IV/10, B, paragraphs 3 and 4).

The COP has recognized the importance of public awareness and education in relation to each of the thematic work programmes and has urged Parties to strengthen education and awareness programmes in relation to agricultural biological diversity, inland water biological diversity and marine and coastal biological diversity. Although the COP has noted that the implementation of forest conservation and sustainable use policies depends, inter alia, on the level of public awareness and policies outside the forest sector (decision III/12, preamble), and that attention needs to be paid to the further raising of public awareness and the understanding of the importance of biological diversity through educational programmes and information (decision III/19, annex, paragraph 24), public awareness and education does not appear to be explicitly addressed in the work programme on forest biological diversity adopted in decision IV/7 of the COP.

In relation to Article 8(j) and related provisions, the COP has urged Parties, inter alia, to use means of communication other than Internet, including newspapers, bulletins and radio, and increasing the use of local languages (decision V/16, paragraph 12(e)).

The COP also requested Parties and Governments to undertake education and awareness raising, and develop communication strategies that allows indigenous and local communities, and the public at large, to be made aware of the recommendations related to Article 8(j) (decision VI/10, paragraph 16).

Parties have been urged by the COP to propose projects to the financial mechanism which promote measures for implementing Article 13 (decision IV/10, B, paragraph 9).

COP 6 requested the Executive Secretary, in consultation with UNESCO, UNEP, the IUCN, Commission for Education and Communication (CEC), and other members of the consultative working group of experts established by decision V/17, as well as any relevant institutions, to:
  1. monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Global Initiative, according to the conditions established in the annex to the present decision for its start-up phase, and report regularly on its implementation to the meetings of the COP
  2. review the communication, education and public-awareness dimensions of existing and new cross-cutting issues and thematic areas, and specifically those priorities and action plans established in the Strategic Plan for the Convention
  3. promote, in collaboration with the relevant agencies, the development and implementation of demonstration projects that can serve as models to initiate similar projects that can be adopted by Parties, and to report to COP 7
  4. seek the submission of relevant case-studies on biodiversity communication, education and public awareness from relevant sources
  5. develop and implement a corporate communication strategy for the Secretariat decision VII 24, paragraph 4)

COP 7 requested the Executive Secretary to convene an informal advisory committee on communication, education and public awareness, that would meet at SBSTTA 10 to develop a CEPA work programme and report to COP 8. This informal advisory committee would meet at subsequent SBSTTA and COP meetings (decision VII 24 paragraph 4).

The COP further requested the Executive Secretary to produce, subject to financial support, the second edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook and the third edition of the Handbook on the Convention decision VII 24, paragraphs 7 and 8).

COP 8 adopted a short-list of priority activities (decision VIII 6, annex II) for the Global Initiative on CEPA to guide implementation during the current biennium, and agreed to continue activities according to the implementation plan for the medium term. The COP invited parties to participate in and contribute to the implementation of the short-list of priority activities.

The COP also decided to establish the informal advisory committee as a broader expert group on communication, education and public awareness, including representatives from indigenous and local communities and decided to provide for regular meetings of this group. donors were called up to provide the necessary funds.

Collaboration with other partners, including the biodiversity liaison group was also encouraged.

COP 8 invited the General Assembly at its sixty-first ordinary session to consider adopting the draft resolution on the proclamation of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity contained in annex I to (decision VIII 6).

Parties have been urged by the COP to propose projects to the financial mechanism which promote measures for implementing Article 13. (decision IV/10, B, paragraph 9).

COP 9

COP 9 invited Parties to double their efforts to implement the CEPA Programme of Work, in doing so it invited Parties to provide human and financial resources to the Executive Secretary for the implementation of the CEPA work programme; (Decision IX/32)

Parties were invited to create partnerships to transmit CEPA products to regions without internet access. The decision also stressed the importance for Parties to integrate CEPA into their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs);

The decision on CEPA also included reference to the need to support CEPA activities related towards Access and Benefit –sharing;

In addition to Decision IX/32, a second CEPA decision was adopted at COP 9 on the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) (decision IX/33). The COP encouraged all Parties to create National Committees, including representatives of indigenous and local communities, to celebrate the Year and invited all international organizations to mark this event;

The COP also decided to transmit to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for its consideration and adoption at its sixty-third ordinary session the draft resolution on the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) in 2010;

The draft resolution included an invitation from the UNGA to the Secretary-General to consider appointing, before 2010, an Honorary Ambassador for the Year; Also, it was suggested that as a contribution to the Year the UNGA also decide to convene at its sixty-fifth session, in 2010, a one-day high-level segment on biodiversity. COP 10 adopted decision X/18 on Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA).

COP invited Parties to further improve CEPA activities with the full and effective participation of all stakeholders, including Indigenous and Local Communities (ILC). The Informal Advisory Committee on CEPA was invited to work to develop indicators and guidelines for survey methodologies on public awareness, which would later be used in national, regional and subregional assessment of the state of public awareness on biodiversity;

Parties were requested to continue and further improve communication, education and public awareness activities for promoting awareness and education using a variety of goals including:

  • the goals included in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020,
  • the framework of the Agenda for Action; and
  • the proposed United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, with the full and effective participation of all stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities;

Parties were requested to report back to the Secretariat their findings before COP 11 with the aim of indentifying priorities for the CEPA Programme of Work;

Parties were also requested to provide to the Secretariat detailed accounts of their Biodiversity celebrations for inclusion in the final report to be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during its 66th session.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme