Future Earth Participation in the Convention on Biological Diversity Meeting

Catherine Machalaba from the ecoHEALTH project (far left and far right) together with colleagues from the CBD Secretariat, UNU, Bioversity International, COHAB initiative, and SBSTTA Chair Andrew Bignell.
Core projects bioDISCOVERY, bioGENESIS, and ecoHEALTH participated in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) Nineteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 19), which took place in Montreal Canada from November 2nd to 6th, 2015.

The CBD’s SBSTTA is the primary mechanism for collaboration between the scientific community and the Convention, which includes over 190 member nations. Representatives of the core projects provided expertise through a statement to the SBSTTA plenary, feedback on meeting documents, input to Parties, and participation in side events. To promote science and policy integration, Future Earth and the CBD are currently developing a memorandum of understanding, and Future Earth scientists participated in an expert workshop with the CBD preceding the SBSTTA. 

Over the past year, the CBD has seen a growing agenda on the links between biodiversity, ecosystems, and human health.  The ecoHEALTH project of Future Earth has been a key contributor toward progress on this agenda item, most recently through collaboration on the World Health Organization-CBD joint publication “Connecting Global Priorities, Biodiversity and Human Health, Summary of the State of Knowledge Review”. As part of the launch of the publication, ecoHEALTH scientists presented at side events synthesizing information from the State of Knowledge Review as well as putting forward opportunities to consider health in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. Collaborators from the WHO, Bioversity International, COHAB Initiative, EcoHealth Alliance, IUCN and UN-U also participated in these events.

Additionally, the Future Earth Secretariat participated in a panel for an event on “Biodiversity, Health and Sustainable Development”, highlighting the opportunities for innovative partnerships and the importance of engaging early career professionals in ecosystem-oriented pathways to economic prosperity. This perspective aligns well with the CBD’s attention to the mainstreaming of biodiversity and its emphasis on moving policy toward implementation of solutions.