UNEP WCMC Issues Report on Reporting Synergies among Biodiversity Conventions

1 May 2012: The UN Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), with support from Finland's Ministry of Environment, has released a report on synergies in national reporting in the biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The report offers guidance to the governing bodies of biodiversity-related MEAs, as well as the UNEP Governing Council, the international environmental governance (IEG) reform process and MEA-related processes.

The report, titled “Promoting Synergies within the Cluster of Biodiversity Related Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs),” focuses on six biodiversity-related conventions and treaties: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) and the World Heritage Convention (WHC).

The report outlines five options for synergies among the biodiversity agreements: enhancing synergies through existing secretariat-level cooperation (business as usual); enhancing synergies on programmatic issues through a party-driven approach and enhancing secretariat initiatives as well as synergies at the national level, building on existing collaboration and making use of lessons learned through projects and initiatives; extending party-driven synergies to include joint administrative functions, secretariats, budgets and communication functions, following the example of the chemicals and waste conventions; merging conventions as protocols under the CBD; and fundamental reorganization of MEAs under a proposed World Environment Organisation (WEO) or UN Environment Organization (UNEO).

The report recommends a step-by-step approach to building synergies, with the aim of making the biodiversity-related conventions more efficient, while not excluding more ambitious approaches at a later stage. It also stresses a party-driven process that respects each individual convention's autonomy, where form follows function and synergies serve the purpose of enhancing implementation.

To advance the process, the report recommends that the UNEP Governing Council establish a party-driven Intergovernmental Working Group on Synergies between the Biodiversity-related Conventions, inviting the bureaus of the governing bodies of the conventions to nominate party and secretariat representatives. [Publication: Promoting Synergies within the Cluster of Biodiversity-related Multilateral Environment Agreements] [UNEP WCMC Webpage on Synergies]