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Heads of Biodiversity-Related Global Conventions gather at FAO

Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions (BLG)

16/10/2017

28-29 September, ROME – The Heads of eight bio-diversity-related Conventions known as the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions (BLG) met at FAO Headquarters to discuss ways to join forces in support of global biodiversity and sustainable development agendas.

Building on synergies

“We all recognize that the loss of biodiversity has clear ramifications for global food security and nutrition,” said René Castro Salazar, FAO Assistant Director-General for Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department at the opening of the 12th meeting of the BLG, which was hosted at FAO Headquarters.

The new FAO Department now hosts the key international agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity:  the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). FAO also hosts the International Plant Protection Conventions (IPPC), whose goal is to protect the worlds cultivated and natural plant resources from the spread and introduction of plant pests, while minimizing interference with the international movement of goods and people.

“We have the potential to make a real difference by working together and building on our excellent synergies,” said Chair of the 12th meeting of the BLG, Kent Nnadozie, Secretary (a.i.) of the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). He highlighted the close cooperation between the International Treaty, the FAO International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and partner organizations, in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Speaking of the need to increase awareness and raise the profile of biodiversity, Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of CBD said, “We must make biodiversity meaningful on the international agenda and show its positive effects.”  

The BLG will work together to build on the momentum of the attention on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Agenda to raise awareness and gather support for biodiversity through the development of a common strategy, including clearer communication.

The BLG meeting brought together the following executive heads:

  1. Guy Debonnet (on behalf of Director Mechtild Rossler) of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention);
  2. Bert Lenten, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS);
  3. Kent Nnadozie, Secretary, a.i., of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA);
  4. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD);
  5. Martha Rojas-Urrego – Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention);
  6. John Scanlon – Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
  7. Jingyuan Xia – Secretary of the IPPC;
  8. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) could not be represented.

Mainstreaming biodiversity

The meeting of the BLG was held back-to-back with another meeting between the BLG and representatives of the host agencies to discuss ways to strengthen interagency coordination and cooperation in support of biodiversity and sustainable development agendas. These agencies provide substantial programmatic and administrative support to the implementation of the biodiversity-related Conventions.

“In order to feed our growing population with nutritious food, we need to find ways to mainstream biodiversity into the development agenda,” said FAO Assistant Director-General for Agriculture, Ren Wang, in his opening remarks of the meeting of the BLG with host agencies and other relevant institutions. “By creating a new department, ‘Climate, Biodiversity, Land and water,’ FAO has placed biodiversity at the center of our work.”

Chairing the meeting with the agencies, Cristiana Paşca Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary emphasized the importance of implementing the Aichi targets in order to safeguard and sustainably use biodiversity, the mutual benefit of implementing the conventions in harmony with one another, and the need for improving implementation at the national level. Among the follow-up actions agreed upon among the participants were coordinating capacity building initiatives and contributing to the development of a common communication strategy to elevate the global visibility and political profile of biodiversity.

The BLG meeting with the host agencies included representatives of:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO);
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment);
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

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