Coral Reefs and Multilateral Environment Agreements News

SBSTTA-26 – The time to act #ForCoral is now

Photo Credit: Ocean Image Bank // Kimberly Jeffries

During the 26th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-26), delegates approved final draft recommendations for the upcoming 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-16) to the CBD to be hosted in Cali (Colombia), 21st October – 1st November 2024. The discussions included two plenary sessions and contact group meetings on marine and coastal biodiversity and the Global Biodiversity Framework’s (GBF) monitoring framework. On 18th May 2024, a final draft recommendation on the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity;

  • Urges Parties, and invites other Governments and relevant organisations and stakeholders, to accelerate the implementation of priority actions for coral reefs and closely associated ecosystems as adopted in decision XII/23 in the context of the Framework

The adopted recommendation also presented gaps and areas in need of additional focus under the CBD to support the implementation of the GBF with regard to marine and coastal, and island biodiversity, of which numerous were highly applicable to coral reefs, most notably:

  • 1.a) To enhance the understanding of the scope and extent of degraded marine and coastal areas and the complexities of restoration in marine and coastal ecological restoration and enhance the use of active and passive restoration, including ecological restoration, in marine and coastal areas, building on experiences across various ecosystems and sectors and on different scales (most relevant to Target 2 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework);
  • 1.i) To assess and prevent, mitigate and/or minimise the transfer of invasive alien species, organisms, and pathogens, including through ships ballast water and biofouling (most relevant to Targets 6 and 7);
  • 2.g) To continue to improve understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on island ecosystems, particularly in combination with other stressors, in particular coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves, and enhance the resilience of ecosystems that are vulnerable to those impacts (most relevant to Target 8)

During closing remarks, the Acting Executive Secretary, David Cooper, emphasised the fundamental contributions of SBSTTA in the complex and demanding task of translating science into policy. He highlighted that the adoption of the draft recommendations lay the foundations for a successful COP-16. The draft recommendations, and the recognition of coral reefs, present a critical opportunity for the coral reef community to ensure that global action is taken to ensure the survival of one the world’s most at risk, yet valuable, ecosystems.

As the world prepares for COP-16 in Cali, Colombia, in October and November 2024, ICRI stands ready to support CBD Parties and coral nations to enhance global efforts to protect coral reefs and marine biodiversity, ensuring their survival for future generations.

Photo Credit: Ocean Image Bank // Tom Vierus

Source: Adapted from IISD Article

For more information on Coral reefs & the CBD Global Biodiversity Framework head to the ICRI Post 2020 Hub

Previous work of the CBD on coral reefs

Since 1995 the CBD has worked on raising awareness about the challenges facing coral reefs. The following list shows some of the previous work undertaken by the CBD for coral reefs:

  • Decision V/3 (2000): Decision adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its fifth Meeting – Progress report on the implementation of the programme of work on marine and coastal biological diversity (implementation of decision IV/5).
  • Decision XIII/3 (2016): Strategic actions to enhance the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2010 and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, including with respect to mainstreaming and the integration of biodiversity within and across sectors.

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