Trial Phase of an Open-Ended Forum on Review of Implementation held on 16 and 17 September 2020 online

The trial of the open-ended forum was organized pursuant to decision 14/29, in which the Conference of the Parties requested the Executive Secretary to further develop options to enhance review mechanisms, with a view to strengthening the implementation of the Convention, and to prepare a Party-led review process to be tested at SBI-3.

In light of exceptional circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties decided that the trial phase of the open-ended forum for review of implementation would be held online on 16 and 17 September (Notification 2020-059), in advance of the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3) which will take place from 9 to 14 November 2020.

The sessions were held from 7:00 am to 9:00 am (Montreal time) on 16 September and from 7:00 am to 8:00 am on 17 September, followed by a one-hour discussion on agenda item 6 (Resource Mobilization).

The online forum was part of the series of special virtual sessions of SBSTTA and SBI scheduled from 15 to 18 September 2020. Information on these sessions is available here.

An initial call for feedback and peer review of the Voluntary Review Reports for Guyana, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Poland and Finland was sent through Notification 2020-059, requesting that feedback and questions for these Parties be sent to secretariat@cbd.int and state clearly for which Party or Parties they were intended. The deadline to submit questions was 10 September 2020.

The main objectives of the open-ended forum were to:

  • undertake country-by-country review of the implementation of the Convention,
  • increase transparency regarding action undertaken, successes and challenges,
  • facilitate peer learning among Parties, and to
  • identify strategic actions to overcome obstacles in national implementation.

During the trial phase, the open-ended forum was also expected to provide feedback on the review process and structure with the aim to ensure the utility of the country-by-country review process.

The Secretariat will follow up on the online sessions held on 16 and 17 September with an online survey to collect additional feedback and insights which will be presented to and discussed at SBI-3, in accordance with decision 14/29.

Five Parties, one from each region, were selected on a first-come-first-served basis to present at the trial phase. They each submitted a Voluntary Review Report following the guidance issued by the Secretariat. During the trial phase, these five Parties made presentations on their efforts to implement the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Selected questions, submitted by other Parties in advance of the meeting, were answered by the five Parties, followed by a short question-and-answer session.

Guyana: Review Report, National Report, NBSAP
Sri Lanka: Review Report, National Report, NBSAP
Ethiopia: Review Report, National Report, NBSAP
Poland: Review Report, National Report, NBSAP
Finland: Review Report, National Report, Strategy, Action Plan

Background

Click here to see an illustrative overview of processes related to the trial of the open-ended forum.

Functioning of the trial phase of the open-ended forum

The session was moderated and lasted for a duration of 3 hours.

Each Party presenting their review report was granted a 30-minute slot. In this time, the Party representative made a 15-minute presentation after which the Party responded to selected questions submitted by other Parties in advance of the meeting.

Guidance for the preparation of review reports

The review reports and presentations had five broad sections:

i. Actions that have been taken to implement the Convention and Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including legislative action
ii. Outcomes of these actions and progress made
iii. Technical and financial resources provided or received from multiple sources for implementation
iv. Any need for adjustments of the current NBSAP (implementation mechanisms in place, targets and action plan, other)
v. Unresolved challenges in implementation

In most cases, the review reports were derived from the national reports, however presented in a concise manner to facilitate review and discussions. Information was also derived from other sources of information including (but not limited to) the following:

a) Financial reports to the Convention and Protocols
b) NBSAP and other national implementation plan(s)
c) Results of national reviews/assessments of implementation (if applicable)
d) Results of Voluntary Peer Review process undertaken in the country (if applicable)
e) National ecosystem assessment, or other assessment (if applicable)
f) Results of national biodiversity (or environmental) audits (if applicable)
g) Voluntary national reviews on implementation of the SDGs
h) National reports prepared for the Biodiversity-related Conventions and the Rio Conventions
i) Information on policy and institutional frameworks

Relevant notifications