Coral Reefs and Multilateral Environment Agreements News

SBSSTA adopts recommendations on marine issues

The sixteenth session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened from 30 April – 5 May 2012 in Montreal, Canada, directly prior to the fourth meeting of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI). More than 400 representatives from governments, intergovernmental and non- governmental organizations, indigenous and local communities, business and academia attended the meeting.

SBSTTA adopted 15 recommendations that were forwarded to the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11), to be held from 8-19 October 2012 in Hyderabad, India; a number of which relating to marine and coastal biodiversity, namely:

  • ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSAs)

  • marine spatial planning and voluntary guidelines for the consideration of biodiversity in environmental assessments in marine areas

  • sustainable fisheries and addressing adverse impacts of human activities on the marine environment – including coral bleaching; underwater noise; ocean acidification; and marine debris.

On sustainable fisheries, SBSTTA recommended that the COP, among other things:

  • recognizes that fisheries management bodies are competent bodies for managing fisheries and, depending on the situations in different countries and regions, should have roles to play in addressing the impacts on biodiversity;

  • notes the need for further improvement and implementation of the ecosystem approach in fisheries management and to enhance capacity; and

  • encourages collaboration between biodiversity and fisheries bodies and invite fisheries management bodies, nationally and regionally, to ensure biodiversity considerations are a part of their work.

On coral bleaching, SBSTTA recommended that the COP, among other things:

  • welcomes the report on progress in implementation of the specific work plan on coral bleaching and take note of its key messages;

  • takes note of the urgent need to update this plan and of the fact that meeting the challenge of climate change impacts on coral reefs will require significant investment; and

  • requests the Secretariat incorporates the impacts of climate change on coral reefs in capacity-building workshops and also develops proposals to update the specific work plan.

The ICRI Secretariat was not present at the meeting but it submitted two posters and abstracts to promote ICRI’s work at the poster session of SBSTTA-16.

Adapted from the Summary of the Sixteenth Session of the Subsidiary body on Scientific, technical and technological advice to the convention on biological diversity: 30 April – 5 May 2012 (International Institute for Sustainable Development)

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