Welcome messages

WELCOME MESSAGE FROM H.E. ABDEL FATTAH EL SISI PRESIDENT OF THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT

Distinguished Participants,

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you in Egypt in November 2018 for the Fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. I am equally delighted that it will take place in the city of Sharm El Sheikh, “The City of Peace” which is endowed by rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity and diverse communities making it a vibrant, lively expression of the dynamic and vital interaction between humanity and nature.

Over the millennia, Egypt’s magnificent civilization was built on and sustained by its wealth of natural resources. The ancient Egyptians were keenly aware of the richness and appreciative of the value of their surrounding ecosystems. Thousands of years later, we are still proud of this heritage and committed to preserving it for present and future generations.

As Egypt welcomes all participants at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biodiversity as well as our partners representing the broad and rich array of non-state actors, we would also remind ourselves of our shared responsibility to work collectively, constructively and effectively for the common good of our planet and welfare of its people.

We owe it to future generations to act now and act effectively.  And we in Egypt are fully committed to do our part at the national level as well as to ensure the success of this conference.

To conclude, allow me to wish you every success in fulfilling your important tasks and to hope you have a wonderful, fruitful and enjoyable stay in Sharm-El-Sheikh.

Abdel Fattah El Sisi
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Welcome message from H.E. António Guterres, the UN Secretary General

Dear Participants,

For the past decade, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have been working to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Success in these endeavours is integral to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Currently, global biodiversity is in crisis due to a variety of factors, including climate change, ecosystem degradation, illegal trade and unsustainable use. To halt biodiversity loss, we need transformational change.

In November this year, Parties to the Convention will meet in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference. The theme of the conference, “Investing in biodiversity for people and planet,” reflects the urgent need to act to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity while equitably sharing the benefits.

At this crucial meeting, governments will establish a path for negotiating frameworks and actions that will take the world to the 2050 vision of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, whereby “biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”

I encourage all governments to take the necessary steps to deliver on the policies and actions that will build a world where humanity lives in harmony with nature. The entire world needs to join this effort so that, individually and collectively, we can take the measures needed to protect the nature that sustains us.

I wish you successful meeting.

António Guterres
UN Secretary General

WELCOME MESSAGE FROM DR. YASMINE FOUAD, MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT

Dear Participants,

I am delighted to welcome you all to the 2018 United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt.

Biological diversity is the foundation for our livelihoods and sustainable development. Since ancient times, humankind, living in harmony with nature, has benefited in a multitude of ways from biological resources.  Biodiversity provides basic needs such as food, energy and medicine, other essential services, recreational and cultural benefits, and helps us in reducing the risks from climate change and natural disasters.

However, the progress of human civilization followed by the advancement of technology, population growth, industrialization and urbanization has accelerated the decline and extinction of species as well as the degradation of ecosystems. The losses are due to a range of pressures driven by a range of socio-economic drivers. Climate change will act synergistically with other threats having serious consequences for biodiversity.

Recognizing the danger of global biodiversity loss, the international community developed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in time for the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. It is now one of the world’s most important multilateral environmental agreement and a key tool for sustainable development.  In the twenty five years since its entry into force, governments have elaborated a complete suite of policy tools for the protection of biodiversity.

Egypt is honored to host the 2018 United Nations Biodiversity Conference comprising the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP 14), the 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the 3rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, as well as the high level segment of these meetings in November 2018.

These meetings come at a crucial time. We need to take stock of the status of the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets.  We need to chart the course for the road ahead for the Convention and its Protocols for the remaining years of the current Strategic Plans and set the stage for the development of the post 2020 global biodiversity framework.

Convening these meetings in Egypt will be the first in Africa since the year 2000 and the first ever in Arab countries. This will further strengthen our cooperation to halt the degradation of biodiversity worldwide.  It will also offer a great opportunity to raise awareness about biodiversity among the population and the communities within the region and thus contributing to the fulfilment of the Convention’s objectives.

This Conference will coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the Convention. At the meeting, governments will assess progress made in translating the Aichi Targets into revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans (NBSAPs), address key aspects of biodiversity, and bring all stakeholders, providing them with the opportunity to report, share, and discuss achievements and challenges. This conference will provide an excellent opportunity to exchange perspectives on nature – based solutions to environmental problems, e.g. how biodiversity loss and climate change are linked, how biodiversity can contribute to adaptation and mitigation of climate change. The Conference provides a timely opportunity to examine how biodiversity initiatives can help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Government delegates will be joined by representatives of civil society, subnational and local authorities, the private sector, youth, indigenous leaders, development agencies and parliamentarians in discussions and parallel summits that have, as their goal, support for achievement of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its protocols.

I am therefore confident that we can work together and count on your support for the successful organization and convening of the Conference building on the outcomes of the 13th meeting in Cancun, Mexico and, over the next two years of the Egyptian Presidency, of ensuring that the results will feed into and be supportive to the 15th meeting to be held in Beijing, China in the year 2020.

We welcome you to Sharm El Sheik and hope that this year’s conference will challenge and inspire you, and result in new and stronger collaborations and friendships. I hope that this conference will stimulate new ideas and approaches for promoting ecosystem stability through conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Dr. Yasmine Fouad
Egyptian Minister of Environment

Welcome message from Mr. Khaled Fouda, Governor of South Sinai, Arab Republic of Egypt

Dear Participants,

It is a pleasure for South Sinai Governorate to host the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol, and the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol, here in the city of peace (Sharm El-Sheikh) in South Sinai Governorate.

Since 1979; South Sinai Governorate become one of the most vital areas in Egypt not only for its strategic importance but also for being abundant with its unique natural resources. Sharm El-Sheikh city is the iconic city of the governorate where it has about 60,000 hotel rooms and top-level hotels, plus up to five protected areas (Ras Mohamed – Nabq – Abu Galum – Taba – Saint Katherine). Sharm El Sheikh’s major industry is foreign and domestic tourism, owing to its dramatic landscape, year-round dry climate with long hot summers and warm winters as well as long stretches of natural beaches. Its waters are clear and calm for most of the year and have become popular for various water sports, particularly recreational scuba diving and snorkelling.

A total of 11.000 square kilometres of the South Sinai Governorate are now protected, including 52% of the Egyptian shoreline on the southern Gulf of Aqaba; coral reefs of international importance; high altitude desert ecosystems; varied and unique coastal habitats; important religious and cultural sites; and other natural attraction of note. The network of protected areas in South Sinai has been established to set aside critical ecosystems, protect natural processes, provide natural areas to adjacent tourism development zones, maintain the value of natural resources and biodiversity as a common property and hereditary resource for all Egyptians.

Over the past thirty years, the world has witnessed huge development advances. More than one billion people have been lifted out of poverty, life expectancy has increased significantly, and literacy rates have risen sharply. Yet, this important progress on the economic and social fronts has all too often been achieved at the expense of our natural environment – on the health of which we all depend.

Looking ahead, pressures on the biodiversity are set to continue to grow: over the next two decades, the global population will expand by more than 1.2 billion people, and demand for food will increase by 35 per cent, for water by forty per cent, and for energy by fifty per cent. Unless we change how we govern and use the world’s resources, negative impacts on the natural environment will become more pronounced, with serious implications for our livelihoods, health and wellbeing, and security.

Investing in biodiversity and ecosystems is therefore not only essential in its own right, but also for human wellbeing. This imperative is well reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes two standalone biodiversity goals and many targets aimed at doing just that.

No doubt that biodiversity and ecosystems provide us with many services like: food and water security, livelihoods, economic growth, disaster risk reduction, health, gender, and climate resilience. In short: investing in biodiversity and ecosystems is a ‘buy one, get at least five free’ strategy. Not only this but also, nature provides a safety net to billions of people around the world. 1.6 billion people depend on forests for jobs, livelihoods, food and fuel; one out of every eight people depends on fisheries for their livelihoods; and more than four billion people depend on medicines derived from forests for their health. Investing in nature helps ensure that the most vulnerable people in society, especially the more than 800 million people living in poverty, have a durable safety net.

In closing, let me emphasize the importance of using this COP to redouble our resolve and commitment to achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by 2020 and set a new plan and targets for our planet until 2030 which will accelerate progress toward the SDGs, help us stay within planetary boundaries, safeguard the natural capital which sustains us, and ensure that no one is left behind.

Khaled Fouda
Governor of South Sinai

Welcome message from Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Dear Participants,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and related meetings, also known as the ‘UN Biodiversity Conference 2018’.

It is a particular pleasure as this is the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties hosted in Africa since 2000. Here in Egypt – land of fabled ancient civilizations – and on the continent that gave rise to humankind, we come together as an international community to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention.

For a quarter century already, Parties have undertaken national, regional and global commitments to achieve the objectives of the Convention to conserve biological diversity, use it sustainably, and share the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable manner. In addition, actors in civil society as well as indigenous peoples, local communities and private sector partners around the world have played an essential role in advancing the Convention.

On the other hand, science indicated a tragic decline of biodiversity and ecosystems in every region of the world. This was highlighted also in the recently released reports from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

This meeting is of critical importance for our collective journey to protect and safeguard life on the planet. We must send a clear message to the world and the highest political, social and economic circles that safeguarding biodiversity and the health of the planetary ecosystems is fundamental to our survival and the social and economic well-being of everybody, everywhere. Healthy ecosystems provide us with food to eat, clean air to breath, clean water to drink and jobs to sustain our families, in addition to protecting us by mitigating the impacts of climate change.

At this gathering here in Sharm El-Sheik, Parties to the Convention will discuss efforts already undertaken and additional efforts needed to achieve the 20 Global Biodiversity Targets, also known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. With two more years to go until the end of the UN Decade for Biodiversity in 2020, now, more than ever, we need to redouble our efforts to safeguard biodiversity and seek to implement innovative and transformative approaches that are action and solution oriented.

One of the most interesting and innovative aspects of the UN Biodiversity Conference 2018 will be the discussions on mainstreaming biodiversity into five core sectors of the economy – infrastructure, mining, energy and gas, manufacturing, and health.

The aim of mainstreaming biodiversity into these sectors is to avoid, reduce or mitigate negative impacts while at the same time maximizing potential benefits. This is timely and relevant, because most of these sectors are expected to grow significantly in coming decades. For example, countries are expected to invest some $90 trillion (1) in infrastructure and about $25 trillion (2) in energy over the next 15 years – with potential major impacts on, or indeed benefits, for biodiversity.

The crucial issue of biodiversity and climate change will also feature prominently on the agenda. Biodiversity and nature-based solutions can help to reduce the devastating impacts of climate change, for example through ecosystem-based approaches to climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The results of a recent study (3) suggest that “natural climate solutions can provide 37% of cost-effective CO2 mitigation needed through 2030 for a >66% chance of holding warming to below 2 °C.”

The conference will of course also look at the important question of protected areas both on land and sea, and other measures for enhanced conservation and management of biodiversity. Delegates will continue long-standing discussions on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas.

Under the Convention and also under its two Protocols – the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing, governments will address important questions raised by emerging technologies, including: how advances in synthetic biology can be managed to maximise the potential benefits while minimizing the risks. Additionally, the implications of digital sequence information on genetic resources for the objectives of the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol will also be discussed.

CBD Parties will also have the opportunity to review progress in implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and discuss relevant policy developments. To date, 105 Parties to the CBD have ratified the Protocol. A key focus of the meeting will be on the assessment and review of the effectiveness of the Protocol to take stock and identify successes and challenges since its entry into force in 2014. This assessment will assist the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol (COP-MOP 3) to further support the implementation of the Protocol at the national level.

Perhaps one of the most important objectives of the UN Biodiversity Conference 2018 is to lay the groundwork for the process of developing the successor of the current global framework for biodiversity which marks the end of the Global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Indeed, we have a unique window of opportunity as a global community to define an ambitious new deal for nature and biodiversity post-2020. One in which the value of nature is recognized from all perspectives, including policy, political, economic, social and scientific – as the fundamental infrastructure supporting life on Earth, and the development and well-being of all humans. This will require bold commitment and determination, innovative approaches and transformative processes, but also close collaboration and unity between all stakeholders.

To close, let me remind us all of our shared Vision: “By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.” We know we can achieve this vision, only through collaborative action, to deliver transformational change and a paradigm shift in the way we engage with, and use nature and biodiversity.

As the Executive Secretary of the UN Biodiversity Convention, it is my firm belief that together, all of the Convention’s Parties, partners and stakeholders, can and will succeed in mobilizing leadership at the highest level, leverage public and political momentum for change and raise the implementation ambition at higher levels. Let’s form ‘Team Nature’ here and now, and seed a global movement for biodiversity that will touch hearts and minds and mobilize all people to take action for the planet.

Thank you.

Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer
Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

 

  1. Amar Bhattacharya, Jeremy Oppenheim and Nicholas Stern. Driving sustainable development through better infrastructure: Key elements of a transformation program. (The Brookings Institution, 2015)
  2. The New Climate Economy (The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, 2016)
  3. Bronson W. Griscom et al., Natural Climate Solutions, (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Oct 2017)

Welcome message from Mr. Erik Solheim, the UN Environment Executive Director

Dear Participants,

Biodiversity loss is among the greatest environmental challenges of our time. The world urgently needs to raise its game. The rich and almost infinite array of life on this planet also underpins our own survival. Without exception, biodiversity sustains and shields every one of us.

This is why we must place biodiversity protection at the center of our economic planning – in infrastructure, mining, energy and manufacturing. We need to see the full value of biodiversity to resilience and public health. We need to see biodiversity as a natural wealth, whose very health is linked to our own.

At this Conference, we hope nations from all corners of the globe will not only step up their work to achieve our 2020 targets, but also lay the groundwork for an ambitious agenda that will take us all to the middle of the century in better health than ever before.

Erik Solheim
UN Environment Executive Director

Introduction

The 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 14), as well as the 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COPMOP9) and the 3rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (COPMOP3) will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 17 to 29 November 2018.

COP 14 will be preceded by a one day Africa Biodiversity Ministerial Meeting on 13 November 2018 and a two day Ministerial High Level Segment (HLS) of the Conference of the Parties on 14 – 15 November 2018 on mainstreaming of biodiversity into the following sectors: energy and mining; infrastructure; manufacturing and processing industry; and health.

Theme of the Conference:

“Investing in biodiversity for people and planet”

Dates for CBD COP14 Egypt and associated meetings:

  • Africa Biodiversity Ministerial Meeting: 13 November 2018
  • High Level Segment (HLS): 14 – 15 November 2018
  • COP bureau meeting and regional meetings: 16 November 2018
  • COP 14, (COPMOP9) and (COPMOP3) meetings: 17 – 29 November 2018
  • 25th Anniversary of CBD: 17 November 2018 at the opening of COP 14

The conference will be also associated with a number of major forums and side events.

COP 14 Ministerial High Level Segment (HLS)

  • Theme: “Mainstreaming of biodiversity in the energy and mining; processing industry; infrastructure and health sectors”
  • Declaration: “Sharm El Sheikh Declaration”.

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