The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”). The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993, and now has 196 Parties. The CBD has three main objectives:
- Conservation of biological diversity,
- Sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and
- Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
The CBD has seven thematic programmes of work that correspond to some of the major biomes on the planet, including a thematic programme on marine and coastal biodiversity. At the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in 2010, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 was adopted as an overarching framework for biodiversity and a foundation for sustainable development. This Plan includes 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets aimed at addressing the major drivers of biodiversity loss and supporting the continued provisioning of ecosystem services. In particular, Aichi Biodiversity Target 10 focuses on minimizing the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimized, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.
The CBD Secretariat supports the implementation of the CBD and its Protocols in various ways. With regards to marine and coastal biodiversity, this work includes:
- Coordination of the global process to facilitate the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs). More information at: https://www.cbd.int/ebsa
- Synthesis of best available knowledge on the impacts, and approaches to address, major pressures on marine biodiversity, such as marine debris, underwater noise, and ocean acidification
- Provision of guidance on various tools and approaches for planning and management, such as integrated coastal management, marine protected areas, environmental impact assessment, and marine spatial planning
- Coordination of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative, a global capacity-building partnership, focused on supporting cross-sectoral planning and management of marine biodiversity. More information available at: https://www.cbd.int/soi/
IYOR Activities Plan
The CBD Secretariat is planning a number of activities that can contribute to the International Year of the Reef.
Launching of Global Coral Reef Portal
In 2018, The CBD Secretariat will launch a Global Coral Reef Portal. This portal will aim to provide a window to various sources of information on the status of coral reefs and the range of commitments, initiatives, and actions to protect and manage coral reefs and closely associated ecosystems. This portal will also show how coral reef management supports the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals, and provide a platform for Parties to the CBD to report on their actions to implement the Priority Actions to Achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 10 for Coral Reefs and Closely Associated Ecosystems. This portal will also link to the International Year of the Reef website.
Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Sub-Regional Workshop for the Coral Triangle
The Sustainable Ocean Initiative is planning to convene, together with other global and regional organizations (i.e., International Coral Reef Initiative, Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI–CFF), Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), Ramsar Convention Secretariat), a sub-regional workshop for the Coral Triangle. This workshop will support countries in the Coral Triangle (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) in outlining strategies and action plans to implement the Priority Actions to Achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 10 for Coral Reef and Closely Associated Ecosystems. It will provide an opportunity for:
- Dialogue and information-sharing among experts and managers from different sectors/areas of work relevant to coral reefs and associated ecosystems (such as mangroves and seagrasses);
- Assessing the status of implementation of the Priority Actions and gaps in implementation;
- Identification of common challenges/barriers and approaches that have been successful in addressing them;
- Identification of tools and approaches to support more cross-sectoral approaches to managing pressures on coral reefs and associated ecosystems; and
- Identification of concrete steps/actions that the experts can take, either within their country or at the sub-regional level, to enhance collaboration across sectors to implement the Priority Actions.
Short Film on Coral Reefs, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development
The CBD Secretariat will be producing a short video highlighting the importance of coral reef biodiversity and ecosystems to sustainable development, the major pressures facing coral reefs, and global commitments to conserve and better manage coral reefs. This will aim to enhance awareness, understanding and appreciation regarding the central role of coral reefs in sustainable development and the need to ensure that global commitments on coral reefs are implemented on the ground.