ASEAN-CBD Virtual Dialogue on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) together with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) Malaysia as host of the ASEAN Conference for Biodiversity 2020 (ACB 2020) themed “Towards 2050: Living in Harmony with Nature” will be bringing the conference online through a series of virtual sessions that covers the main themes of the conference as a run up to the face-to face conference to be held in 2021 at a date to be determined before CBD COP 15. 

In view of the changes accorded by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing restrictions, the ACB 2020 virtual sessions will start with the Kick Off Event: The ASEAN-Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Virtual Dialogue on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) to be held on 23 September 2020. 

Prior to this meeting, there will be a series of special virtual sessions for SBSTTA and SBI from 15-18 September 2020 where the GBF with a view to maintaining momentum ahead of the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity on 30 September 2020 that will be convened by the President of the General Assembly, at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

In their inputs to the post-2020 GBF, the AMS identified mainstreaming, resource mobilisation, communication, and integrating diverse perspectives as four action areas to achieve the vision for 2050 (ASEAN Secretariat media release, Sept 2019). 

In view of the agenda of the upcoming UN Summit on Biodiversity, it is proposed that the areas of focus for this dialogue that would be of interest to ASEAN are the following:

Mainstreaming Biodiversity

Biodiversity mainstreaming as an over-arching goal in CBD implementation has only recently been pushed, starting in 2016 in COP Decision 13/3 which put out general guidance on cross-sectoral mainstreaming, aside from making specific guidance on particular items such as agriculture, forests, fisheries and aquaculture and tourism (CBD Secretariat, 2016).

In 2018, CBD moved further in its mainstreaming agenda with COP Decision 14/3 which dealt with mainstreaming in ithe energy and mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing sectors and Decision 14/4 which dealt with biodiversity and health. The High Level Segment of COP 14 also adopted the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration Investing In Biodiversity For People And Planet, which advanced the mainstreaming agenda in the CBD emanating from COP 13 in Cancun. In this Declaration, the environment Ministers reiterated its commitment to work at all levels within governments and across all sectors to mainstream biodiversity, establishing effective institutional, policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks tailored to national needs and circumstances and consistent with international obligations. (CBD Secretariat, 2018)  

The ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, during the ASEAN Summit in 2019 has provided the following mandate to ACB as regards biodiversity mainstreaming:

“endeavor to mainstream biodiversity into the various development processes in ASEAN through ASEAN Member States’ concerted efforts, with the support of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, cognisant that diversity of life provides a multitude of opportunities for livelihood and economic development, contributes to poverty alleviation, and technology and innovation, and serves as an effective adaptation and mitigation measure against climate change impacts and natural disasters in the region, and acknowledge that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is an inter-generational responsibility that is entrusted to the present generation.”

Addressing Biodiversity Loss

The ASEAN Member States acknowledge the wealth of biodiversity in Southeast Asia which comprises almost twenty percent of the world’s biodiversity even as it only holds three percent of its land area and its three Member States Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines are recognised as megadiverse countries

The ASEAN has established various regional platforms to address issues relating to biodiversity protection and preservation of landscapes and seascapes and recognizing the global importance of the region for its natural resources. The ASEAN Leaders commitments and support for ensuring that the rich biodiversity in the region is conserved and sustainably managed toward enhancing social, economic and environmental well-being are incarnated in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2025.

The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the Special Report on the Climate Change and Land, and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), underscored the need for a new framework that promotes and enables transformational changes to reduce biodiversity loss. This new framework needs to be applicable to the context of this region with its rich biodiversity, culture, heritage and local traditions.

Resource Mobilisation

After CBD COP 11, the ASEAN, at the highest political level, have consistently called for adequate resources to support and complement the implementation of national-level and region-wide activities that contribute to meeting global biodiversity targets and commitments. (ASEAN Joint Statement to the CBD COP 12,13 and 14) 

Prior to the further evolution of this text on resource mobilisation in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, a larger effort will have to be made by the CBD Parties on resource mobilisation as they consider further recommendations to be forwarded to COP based on the recommendations made by the panel of experts on resource mobilisation.  This will happen in the 3rd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation of the CBD tentatively set in November 2020 in Canada.

As the CBD through the Open-Ended Working Group proceeds to complete its elaboration of the text of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that will soon be adopted in COP 15 in May 2021, what remains to be put forward in the Framework will still have to be formulated by the OEWG Co-Chairs and further negotiated in the OEWG.

The ASEAN Member States can build further on their statements to the COP on the areas of focus above and push the issue at a higher profile with ASEAN Leaders, including ASEAN Chair Viet Nam, and Malaysia as host of the ASEAN Conference on Biodiversity (ACB 2020) if it so decides, making a statement at the UN Summit on Biodiversity.

This dialogue seeks to enable the ASEAN biodiversity focal points and foreign affairs officials to prepare for the relevant topics to be raised in the UN and CBD processes described.

Dr. Khairul Naim Adham
Undersecretary, Biodiversity Management Division,
Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA)

Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim

Executive Director, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)

Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Mr. Basile van Havre

Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (OEWG) Co-Chairs