The mountains at the Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is aimed at developing national strategies for the

Petru Vodă, Carpathes, Romania (c) H. Thiébault
Petru Vodă, Carpathes, Romania (c) H. Thiébault

conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. One hundred and ninety-three countries are party to the Convention. The Thirteenth Conference of the Parties (CBD CoP13) took place in Cancun (Mexico) from 4 to 17 December 2016.

In recognition of the special vulnerability of biodiversity in mountain areas, the seventh Conference of Parties (CoP 7) agreed, in 2004, on the ‘Programme of Work on Mountain Biodiversity’ as decision VII/27. Mountains are specifically mentioned in paragraph 7 of Article 20 of the Convention text, which states that, with regard to funding and transfer of technique, developed country Parties shall take into “consideration the special situation of developing countries, including those that are most environmentally vulnerable, such as those with arid and semi-arid zones, coastal and mountainous areas.”

In Cancun, a side event devoted to mountains was held on 9 December 2016. Titled ‘Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mountain Biodiversity for Wellbeing’, it was organized by the current Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the support of the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Based on the experiences and best practices of the Carpathians, as well as other mountain regions such as the Alps and Hindu-Kush Himalayas, it aimed at rise the awareness of policy makers and the media to recognize the value and benefits of integrated ecosystem management, thus encouraging governments to use an integrated approach in development planning. Within mountain regions, the concept of integrated management of transboundary ecosystems, such as mountains, has the potential to improve the overall management of natural capital while contributing to the improvement of human well-being and the achievement of the adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Carpathian Convention, as a well-established mechanism and platform, provides a useful tool and example for how biodiversity can be mainstreamed into other sectors that are key for the sustainable development of mountain regions. Best-practices and case studies in different key economic sectors have been collected and visualized via a developed interactive Carpathian knowledge sharing tool containing interactive story maps.

Outcomes shall be mainstreamed into the CBD Programme of Work (PoW) on Mountain Biodiversity and related work streams. It will also provide a concrete contribution/guidance for the implementation of the Cancun Declaration and the SDGs, in particular those related to water and biodiversity.

Open by Rastislav Rybanič, Director-General at the Slovak Ministry of Environment, the event featured speakers from Austria, Nepal and the Czech.