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Global Biodiversity Governance Beyond 2020: The Role of International Cooperative Initiatives – BioSTAR (2018-2022)

Governance for biodiversity has expanded beyond the multilateral negotiations in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

 A recent report, ‘Beyond the CBD: Exploring the institutional landscape of governing for biodiversity‘, identifies 108 international and transnational cooperative initiatives with relevance for biodiversity. The initiatives operate outside the auspices of the CBD, engaging nearly 10,000 non-state (e.g. companies and non-governmental organizations) and sub-national (e.g. cities and regions) actors, in various biodiversity-related policy fields such as energy, fisheries, agriculture and forestry. 

Mobilizing support from other actors than governments could catalyse action in multilateral forums. In global climate governance, for example, the ‘groundswell’ of non-state and subnational actors supporting climate action had a significant and positive influence on the negotiations leading up the Paris Agreement signed in 2015 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Bottom-up climate actions are now officially recognized as part of the implementation agenda of the Paris Agreement.

The follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity beyond 2020 provides an excellent opportunity for discussing the possible contribution of international cooperative initiatives within the context of the CBD. Experiences from the climate regime could provide important lessons on if, how and under what conditions international cooperative initiatives could support the biodiversity regime.

Four questions are particularly interesting. First, how does the institutional landscape of global biodiversity governance look like, beyond the CBD? Second, by what criteria (output, outcome or impact) could international cooperative initiatives be assessed in the context of biodiversity? For instance, the UN Environment’s Climate Initiatives Platform which registers international cooperative initiatives for climate change, uses four criteria (e.g. does the initiative include non-state actors and do they have a focal point?) to determine whether they should be included in the registry. Third, what data are available to assess the impacts of international cooperative initiatives? Fourth, to what extent is it possible to bring international cooperative initiatives closer to the CBD?

To fill the knowledge gap, this proposal includes the following activities:

  1. Collect a dataset on international cooperative initiatives for biodiversity, updating and expanding the dataset collected for the project ‘Beyond the CBD: Exploring the institutional landscape of governing for biodiversity‘ to include terrestrial biodiversity.
  2. Analyse the dataset, including assessment of data-availability and data-needs for analyzing the potential impacts of international cooperative initiatives on global biodiversity governance.
  3. Summarize lessons learnt from the climate regime on involving cooperative initiatives in the multilateral process with a view to identify criteria for assessing initiatives in the biodiversity regime.
  4. Identify pathways for the CBD to harness the potentials of international cooperative initiatives (in close collaboration with the PBL-CBD post-2020 project’s advisory group).

Contact information: Prof. Philipp Pattberg, Dr Oscar Widerberg, Dr Kate Negacz and Dr Matilda Petersson

Related publications:
The policy brief ‘Opportunities for the Action Agenda for Nature and People’ by Marcel Kok (PBL), Oscar Widerberg, Katarzyna Negacz, Cebuan Bliss, and Philipp Pattberg (IVM).

Technical report ‘BioSTAR: Mapping international and transnational cooperative initiatives for biodiversity’ by Katarzyna Negacz, Oscar Widerberg, Marcel Kok (PBL) and Philipp Pattberg.

Technical report ‘Monitoring, reporting and verification of international cooperative initiatives for biodiversity’ by Katarzyna Negacz, Oscar Widerberg, Philipp Pattberg and Marcel Kok (PBL).