Regional Commissions to Integrate Biodiversity into Regular Work

Agreement Signed with Convention on Biological Diversity in New York

A Memorandum of Understanding geared towards enhancing the cooperation and collaboration between the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Regional Economic and Social Commissions (UNESCAP, UNECLAC, UNECA and UNESCWA) was signed today by the Executive Heads of the respective organizations at United Nations Headquarters in New York. It is the first time that an agreement has been signed between the Regional Commissions and a Multilateral Environment Agreement (MEA).

The signing comes at a time when the international community is redoubling its efforts to achieve the 2010 Biodiversity Target. The regional operational arms of the United Nations have decided to join forces to mainstream the three objectives of the Convention into their regular programmes in order to integrate biodiversity into regional development cooperation and processes. This is the first agreement of its kind with an MEA and will make a significant contribution to the on-going efforts of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon aimed at enhancing global environmental coherence through the One UN programme.

Specifically, the Memorandum aims to: support integration of the objectives of the Convention into relevant regional activities and processes; assist Parties in mainstreaming biodiversity into economic sectors including through poverty reduction strategy papers; provide, as appropriate, technical assistance to the Parties for the implementation of their commitments under the CBD; cooperate in the preparation of the regional processes towards the sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); assist in the promotion of public awareness and outreach including the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity and the International Year on Biodiversity; provide support for the convening of CBD meetings, in particular the regional and sub-regional meetings; develop approaches to promote and facilitate integration of biodiversity considerations into existing sectoral and cross-sectoral policies and programmes; assist in the preparation and implementation of the CBD programme on South-South Cooperation; assess the emerging issues related to the interface between trade, biodiversity and intellectual property rights; facilitate Parties to jointly undertake regional and subregional responses to the goals and mandates of the CBD; and to facilitate regional and subregional cooperation to assist developing Parties in improving institutional, scientific and human capacity for the effective implementation of the CBD.

“This Memorandum will reinforce the cooperation between the CBD and the regional commissions in mainstreaming CBD objectives into relevant regional activities and processes to further the regional approach for achieving sustainable development, and further strengthen collaboration in response to the enhanced implementation phase of the Convention in order to meet the challenges of the 2010 Biodiversity Target,” said Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of UNECA and current Coordinator of the Regional Commissions.

Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention, said, “The signature today of this Memorandum is a clear demonstration of the commitment of the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions to play a leading role in mainstreaming the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity at a regional level thus making a distinct contribution in integrating the biodiversity agenda into the on-going efforts aimed at achieving sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals.”

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity is one of the most broadly subscribed international environmental treaties in the world. Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, it currently has 190 Parties—189 States and the European Community—who have committed themselves to its three main goals: the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. The headquarters of the Secretariat of the Convention is located in Montreal.