Marine and Coastal biodiversity at the CBD COP 12

Below some highlights from the CBD COP 12. The content is from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin COP12 – A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations, available online at http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/cop12/

Tuesday, 7 October 2014 – Highlights on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity (Earth Negotiations Bulletin COP12 – Vol. 9 No. 637 Page 2)

The Secretariat introduced draft decisions on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), and on other matters, including impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise and ocean acidification, priority actions to achieve Aichi Target 10 (coral reefs), and marine spatial planning and training initiatives.

EBSAs: Many countries supported “welcoming” the work of the scientific and technical evaluation of information contained in the regional workshop reports for describing EBSAs, while Thailand, Argentina and Singapore preferred “taking note” of the work.

On further work on EBSAs, South Africa, for the African Group, with the Russian Federation, Norway, Australia, Jordan, Ecuador, Maldives and Egypt, supported a request to the Secretariat to tabulate information on the types and levels of human activities in areas described as meeting the EBSA criteria. Canada supported this option as a basis for discussion, noting the importance of collaboration with relevant organizations in this regard. Costa Rica and Malaysia supported instead a broader request to the Secretariat to undertake a scientific and technical analysis of the status of marine and coastal biodiversity in relation to the types and levels of human activity in such areas. Proposing modifications, the EU also supported this option.

Palau, for Pacific Island States, with Colombia, Mexico, India, Argentina, Fiji, China, Yemen, Turkey, Brazil and others preferred deleting reference to further work on EBSAs, with Mexico noting that this goes beyond the mandate of the Convention and, with China and Brazil, calling for finalization of the description of EBSAs in all regions before further work is undertaken.

Argentina emphasized the application of scientific criteria to EBSA identification is an exercise to be carried out under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Iceland called for a peer review process to ensure the scientific quality of data, and lifted his country’s reservation over the inclusion of nine areas meeting the EBSA criteria in the Arctic Ocean and the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. The Russian Federation stressed that the EBSA description process does not determine the manner in which these areas will be governed. Morocco appreciated the qualifier that the description of EBSAs does not imply any position regarding their legal status or borders.

Other Matters: On underwater noise, Senegal, with Indonesia, called for studies in developing countries. Brazil called for collaboration with the Convention on Migratory Species and the International Maritime Organization. South Africa, for the African Group, expressed concern over seabed mining. Oman highlighted the stressors in his region due to oil exports. Norway, with the EU, noted the difficulty of conducting appropriate impact assessments and monitoring, and establishing thresholds to protect sound-sensitive species.

Japan, Norway, the EU and Saint Kitts and Nevis supported priority action on Aichi Target 10. Maldives, supported by many, called for adequate financial and technical resources to meet this target.

On marine spatial planning (MSP), the African Group urged parties to ensure that capacity-building and partnership activities are conducted. Norway called for involving competent regional organizations. The Philippines, with WWF, highlighted MSP as a tool for applying the ecosystem-based approach.

Informal consultations will be held on outstanding matters and a draft decision will be prepared.

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