On October 14, 2013, country delegates, representatives of Indigenous peoples and local communities, and other participants came together in Montreal, Canada for the seventeenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA). This meeting, chaired by Mr. Gemedo Dalle Tussie (Ethiopia), is particularly noteworthy because it involves an entirely new meeting format. In the past, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) prepared draft recommendations that the Parties attending the SBSTTA meeting then considered throughout the meeting's course. This year, however, the CBD Secretariat did not prepare any draft recommendations. Instead, the first three days of the 17th meeting will consist of expert panels addressing issues on the SBSTTA agenda. Summaries of the discussions held during those panels will then be created in order to draft "conclusions, and if appropriate, recommendations." (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/17/1/Add.2, para. 6(c)). The effectiveness and ramifications of this new format remain to be seen, and some countries have called into question whether the decision to change the format conforms with the decisions regarding SBSTTA adopted during prior Conferences of the Parties.
On the agenda for this meeting are 2 main items: Item 3 -- Facilitating the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets through scientific and technical means; and Item 4 -- Assessing the effects of the types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of the Convention. With regard to Item 3, only the first four Strategic Goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (Goals A-D) will be discussed. Thus, Strategic Goal E, and its crucial Target 18 regarding traditional knowledge of and customary use of biological resources by indigenous peoples and local communities will dot be addressed.
Natural Justice will be participating in this meeting in a number of ways, including speaking at a side event on the European Union's draft legislation on ABS, co-hosting a side event on how territories and areas conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs) can help to achieve the Aichi Targets, as well as be working with other NGOs and CBOs throughout the meeting to address issues as they arrive. Additionally, Natural Justice has co-authored a Working Paper on Legal Aspects of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11that will be presented at a side event hosted by the IDLO.
For more information on the SBSTTA meeting, see here for a list of meeting documents and the side event calendar.