“It is not enough to ratify multilateral agreements if we do not implement them. Capacity building is necessary to ensure that obligations are implemented.” Those words were spoken by Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism at the Regional Workshop for Southern Africa on Updating National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), held in Kasane, Botswana, in March 2011. The first in a series of regional NBSAP capacity building workshop organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, it was made possible by the Japan Biodiversity Fund established by the Presidency of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10).
Similar workshops, which focus on setting national and regional targets in the framework of the new Strategic Plan and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets as requested by COP 10, have been held in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and West Africa. Additional workshops will be organized for the rest of the world in the coming months.
The Japan Biodiversity Fund aims to support developing countries implement the Aichi-Nagoya outcomes by strengthening their capacity to implement the Convention as a whole.
Therefore, the series of regional and sub-regional NBSAP capacity building workshops are the early and core activities under the Japan Biodiversity Fund. The specific objectives of the workshops are to:
- Facilitate national implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, by, for example, assisting Parties with developing national biodiversity targets in the framework of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
- Assist Parties in reviewing, updating, revising and implementing their NBSAP, with consideration given to how it can serve as an effective tool for mainstreaming biodiversity into broader national policies
- Raise awareness to stimulate early actions to implement other Aichi-Nagoya outcomes, in particular, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization and the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
- Support countries in making use of the findings of the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, and in considering how the findings could be integrated into updated and revised NBSAPs
- Facilitate active learning opportunities and peer-to-peer exchanges for National Focal Points and persons in charge of implementing and revising NBSAPs.
In addition to the NBSAP capacity building workshops, we are organizing briefing sessions on COP 10 outcomes and follow-up activities for various targeted audiences, such as the diplomatic corps, parliamentarians, regional commissions, etc., in order to raise awareness of the urgency and importance of the implementation of the new Strategic Plan, early ratification of the Nagoya Protocol and the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, and the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.
In order to help Parties strengthen their capacity to implement the Convention as a whole, the Japan Biodiversity Fund also supports, with other donors and partners, various thematic capacity building activities which the COP, through its decisions, has requested the Executive Secretary implement. These include South-South Cooperation, Biodiversity for Development, Resource Mobilization, Invasive Alien Species, Marine Biodiversity, Access and Benefitsharing, and Biosafety, among others.
The tasks and targets we set ourselves in Nagoya last year were indeed ambitious, but not unrealistic. We are now, with the generous support of the Government of Japan, working with Parties to build capacity to implement those obligations and, ultimately, fulfill the three objectives of the Convention.
More information on Japan Biodiversity Fund activities can be found at: www.cbd.int/jbf