For an analysis of the relevance of these decisions to the business community, please see here
Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties
The Thirteenth Conference of the Parties held in Cancun, Mexico in December 2016, led to an important decision on strategic actions to enhance the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan with respect to biodiversity mainstreaming across various sector, including the business sector.
encouraged Parties to establish national or regional initiatives as part of the Global Partnership on Business and Biodiversity to encourage businesses to generate and assess information on the impacts of their activities and operations on ecosystems. Parties were urged to take into account various market-based tools (i.e. Natural Capital Protocols) and non-market-based tools to determine the multiple values of biodiversity. At the policy level, the decision called for Parties to strengthen biodiversity considerations in sustainable development and production plans and implement educational and public awareness campaigns that promote behavioral changes to favor sustainable patterns and waste reduction.
The decision likewise invited businesses to strengthen activities on and take measures to integrate into decision making the typology of action on biodiversity reporting. Additionally, businesses were invited to submit information on natural capital valuations or other relevant frameworks as well as on programmes that promote the application of such frameworks by the sector.
Decision (XIII/3) specifically requests the Secretariat to:
- Cooperate with other relevant organizations, businesses and initiatives to seek views through the Global Business and Biodiversity Partnership and relevant partners on how the provision of data and information on biodiversity-related issues could be harmonized in order to increase the consistency of data and information across and within various business sectors;
- Make available, via the clearing-house mechanism, existing guidance and tools on addressing biodiversity in various sectors including business;
- Advance, in collaboration with Parties, work on the typology of actions for reporting on business-related actions, with a view to providing draft guidance, for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Implementation at its second meeting.
Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties
The Twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12), held in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea in October 2014, resulted in important decisions on business engagement on biodiversity. Decision (XII/10) welcomed the pioneering work on business engagement already undertaken by various Parties and encouraged further support and cooperation with the Global Partnership on Business and Biodiversity to help businesses report on their mainstreaming efforts.
Decision (XII/10) invited Parties to seek and foster public-private partnerships, to work to create an enabling environment for businesses to effectively implement the objectives of the Convention, and provide support and opportunities for capacity-building to small and medium-sized enterprises with respect to biodiversity. In addition, the decision encouraged businesses to integrate biodiversity into their operations, within their procurement policies and in their reporting frameworks. It also encouraged businesses to contribute to the Convention's resource mobilization strategy, and to participate in the UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative as well as other relevant initiatives.
Decision (XII/10) specifically requests the Secretariat to:
- Support Parties, in particular developing countries, in their efforts to promote the integration of biodiversity considerations into the business sector;
- Support and collaborate with the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity and its associated national and regional initiatives to: develop reports on the progress of biodiversity mainstreaming by businesses and establish a typology of possible actions; support capacity-building for businesses with a view to mainstreaming biodiversity into business decisions; and enhance the contribution of the business sector to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Strategic Plan;
- Promote cooperation and synergies with other forums regarding issues that are relevant for biodiversity and business engagement, such as commodity indicators;
- Compile information and analyze best practices, standards and research on biodiversity valuation with a view to facilitating assessments of the contributions by businesses to achieving the objectives of the Convention and the Aichi targets, and assist in the dissemination of this information to various relevant forums.
Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties
The Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11), held in Hyderabad, India, in October 2012, also issued a significant decision (XI/7) on business engagement, which reinforced the previous decisions and moved the discussion forwards in some interesting ways.
The decision called upon governments and businesses (with other stakeholders) to continue their dialogue to “…formulate relevant actions for biodiversity conservation and for the sustainable use of its components and ecosystem services and for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources…” In addition, the decision made particular reference to the 2012 International Finance Corporation Performance Standards and invited Parties to (inter alia): consider promoting the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services values into private sector activities; consider policies and legislation that halt biodiversity loss and reduce incentives, including subsidies, that are harmful to biodiversity or have biodiversity impacts; and adopt policies that respect the goals and objectives of the Convention and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, including for the promotion of sustainable consumption and production that incorporate effective safeguards for biodiversity, as well as encouraging consideration of best practices.
For businesses, this decision encouraged them to (inter alia): encourage their supply chains, and other stakeholders, to report on progress made in mainstreaming the objectives of the Convention and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; analyze the impacts, dependencies, opportunities and risks of individual sectors as they relate to biodiversity and ecosystem services; consider covering, in their annual reports, the effects of their business operations on biodiversity and their reliance on ecosystem services; align their investments in support of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services; and collaborate with relevant organizations on the development of reporting standards on biodiversity.
Decision (XI/7) specifically requests the Secretariat to:
- Continue to facilitate dialogue among business, government and other stakeholders through ongoing support for national, regional and international business and biodiversity initiatives, using the Global Partnership as a framework.
- Compile information on best practices that incorporates all three objectives of the Convention and those of its two Protocols, and facilitate the engagement of businesses, governments and other stakeholders in adopting such practices through various means
- Continue to work with partners to further refine the analysis of the various tools and mechanisms, and thereby help businesses (including small and medium-sized enterprises) understand, assess and adopt solutions for managing biodiversity risk that are cost-effective, credible and effective.
- Help raise awareness about the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of its components and the drivers of biodiversity loss by collaborating with appropriate partners, thereby assisting businesses to build capacity related to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The Global Platform on Business and Biodiversity website (developed with the generous support of the Government of the Netherlands) is designed to help achieve the goals specified in the decision on Business Engagement.
Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties
The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10), held in Nagoya in October 2010, issued a strong decision (X/21), which built upon those from previous COPs, to enhance the engagement of the private sector and involve them in the implementation process of the biodiversity targets.
The decision (X/21) called upon Governments and the private sector to engage in dialogue through the establishment of a Global Platform. Other elements in the decision called upon governments to, inter alia, promote a public policy environment enabling private sector engagement and the mainstreaming of biodiversity into corporate strategies and decision-making; develop, and report on, national activities that promote and facilitate the mainstreaming of biodiversity by business; encourage involvement of businesses as stakeholders in any future revision and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans; and adopt sustainability criteria for government purchases of products of biological resources.
The private sector was requested to, inter alia, contribute to the implementation of the Convention as well as its Strategic Plan and to use these elements for defining concrete and measurable biodiversity targets for their operations; monitor and assess their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to develop and apply processes and production methods that minimize or avoid negative impacts on biodiversity; share and adopt lessons learned between and among business and enterprises; participate in voluntary certification schemes; adopt and track commitments to support the achievement of the three objectives of the Convention through initiatives at both national and global levels; and report on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services related activities.
Decision (X/21/3) specifically requests the Secretariat to:
- Encourage the establishment of national and regional business and biodiversity initiatives by facilitating dialogue among Governments, business, and other stakeholders.
- Compile information on existing tools that can facilitate the engagement of businesses in integrating biodiversity concerns into corporate strategies and decision-making, to analyse the effectiveness of these tools in relevant economic sectors, and to make this compilation and analysis available.
- Encourage the development and application of tools and mechanisms that can facilitate the engagement of businesses in integrating biodiversity concerns into their work.
- Encourage the monitoring of the effects of these tools and mechanisms.
- Disseminate tools and examples of best practice for encouraging the participation of business.
- Encourage businesses in communicating their biodiversity-relevant activities to their consumers, customers, and other stakeholders.
Earlier Business Decisions
Decisions of relevance to the engagement of the business sector date back to COP 3 (Buenos Aires, Argentina-1996) where decision (III/6) requested the Executive Secretary to explore possibilities for encouraging the involvement of the private sector in supporting the Convention's objectives. This was reinforced at COP 5 (Nairobi, Kenya–2000) in which decision (V/11) resolved that the involvement of the private sector shall be included, as appropriate, on the agenda of the Conference of the Parties at its regular meetings and be integrated into the sectorial and thematic items under its programme of work. Private sector engagement was also referenced at COP 6 (The Hague, Netherlands–2002) under Goal 4.4 of the (former) Strategic Plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity under which key actors and stakeholders, including the private sector, were to be engaged in partnership to implement the Convention and to integrate biodiversity concerns into their relevant sectorial and cross-sectorial plans, programmes and policies.
COP 8 (Curitiba, Brazil-2006) saw the first stand-alone decision related to private-sector engagement. Decision (VIII/17) urged national focal points to communicate the importance of biodiversity to companies, to encourage them to adopt practices that support the implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans and the objectives of the Convention and to include private sector representatives on national delegations and nominate them to participate in technical expert groups. The Executive Secretary was requested to compile information on the business case for biodiversity and good practice and to include the private sector as a target audience for its outreach materials. Businesses and other relevant organizations were also invited to develop and promote the business case for biodiversity, to develop and promote the wider use of good practices, reporting guidelines and standards, and to communicate to the Conference of the Parties any voluntary commitments that contributed to the fulfilment of these targets. Businesses were further invited to align their policies and practices with the three objectives of the Convention and to participate in the meetings of the Conference of the Parties.
COP 9 (Bonn, Germany-2008) in decision (IX/26)