May 22nd is the International Day for Biological Diversity, and this year the day marks the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The Convention concerns the protection of life on earth, and thereby also the protection of goods and services that sustain our lives as human beings. It establishes three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
CBD a priority at FNI
The CBD has mostly lived in the shadow of its ‘sister’, the UN Convention on Climate Change, but not at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI). Here, the CBD and its development has always been a prioritized research field.
Being a research institute for political science and law, FNI’s research is focused on the dynamics of international negotiations in the CBD, the interrelation with other international regimes, the science-policy interface, as well as means for implementation, including legal means. Not least the third goal of the Convention on equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources has been closely studied. The fulfilment of this goal is essential for the commitment of developing countries to protect their rich biodiversity. Also, management of agricultural biodiversity, the building block of food security for future generations, is an important FNI research topic.
The special relationship between FNI and CBD is further marked by two FNI affiliates, former Director Peter Johan Schei and current Senior Policy Analyst Christian Prip having both served as chairmen of the CBD scientific and technical advisory body.
Biodiversity loss – governance essential
Despite 25 years with the CBD, biodiversity continues to be lost at alarming rates. Scientists are even referring to Earth’s sixth mass extinction taking place now. Most of the biodiversity targets set by CBD for 2020 are unlikely to be met. To reverse this trend, knowledge generation from not only natural science, but also from the science that FNI can offer is essential. Governance of biodiversity must have a strong position in the deliberations of a global framework for biodiversity after 2020, and with that a rethinking of how we make laws, policies and institutions to protect biodiversity.
Therefore, biodiversity governance will remain a strong research focus at FNI in the coming years, and therefore FNI was one of the initiators of an international network of researchers in this field. The inaugural meeting of the network was hosted by FNI in September 2017.
In September 2018 negotiations will start on developing a new global biodiversity treaty to cover the nearly half of the Earth’s surface not covered by the CBD; that is marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. Also this process, FNI will follow and analyse.
Read more about the International Day for Biological Diversity here.