The Advisory Committee of the Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of the Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean Region (SAPBIO) held an online meeting on 2 April 2020 to examine the roadmap for the elaboration of a post-2020 SAPBIO in the context of preparations for the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The Advisory Committee brings together relevant international and regional organizations invited to participate in the planning process coordinated by the UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (SPA/RAC). One of the central objectives of the committee is to ensure that the process is inclusive and that the post-2020 SAPBIO encompasses the views and priorities of stakeholders in the Mediterranean.
In his opening statement, Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat, noted the importance of aligning the post-2020 SAPBIO elaboration with regional and international processes, including the 2020 UN Ocean Conference, the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the UN Decade for Ecosystems Restoration (2021-2030), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) ministerial process, and the Mediterranean Action Plan’s (MAP) own medium-term strategy.
“SPA/RAC takes the lead within the MAP system on the elaboration of the post-2020 SAPBIO, which is not a MAP-only instrument. This would become irrelevant if it were not connected to global and regional actors, their priorities and programmes, and their capacity to leverage political commitment and financial support. The post-2020 SAPBIO process belongs to all of us,” Mr. Leone told participants in the online meeting.
In December 2019, the 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its protocols (COP 21) adopted a decision requesting the Mediterranean Action Plan –Barcelona Convention Secretariat to prepare the post-2020 SAPBIO. The decision specifically recommended that, while focusing on the Mediterranean, the post-2020 strategic action programme should be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the CBD post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.
The COP 21 decision was informed by the findings of an evaluation of the implementation of the SAPBIO, which was adopted in 2003, covering the 2004-2018 period. Conducted by SPA/RAC in consultation with the Contracting Parties, the evaluation concluded that the SAPBIO played an important role as a strategic framework for the implementation of the Barcelona Convention’s SPA/BD Protocol— the Mediterranean’s main tool for the implementation of CBD on aspects pertaining to the sustainable management of coastal and marine biodiversity. In addition to harmonization at the regional level, SAPBIO was also found to have played a key role in strengthening integrated action at country-level through facilitating dialogue among governmental departments and national institutions.
The Advisory Committee agreed that while bringing a higher level of ambition, the post-2020 SAPBIO should not be designed nor perceived as an additional layer of commitments for countries but rather as an action-oriented tool aiming to strengthen and streamline the implementation of plans and strategies that have already been adopted.
In a reference to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Leone remarked that “nature is clearly sending us a message. Humanity is placing too much pressure on the natural world with damaging consequences. A process like the post-2020 SAPBIO preparation and implementation becomes all the more important in this context.”
Read more on the composition of the Advisory Committee and on the next steps in the elaboration of the post-2020 SAPBIO on SPA/RAC website.