The Fifth Science Policy Forum for Biodiversity and The Eighth International Conference on Sustainability Science

19 Apr 2021

Session 3: Breakout Group 1: Harnessing science, technology and innovations to support the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

Main points discussed in the session:

•The coming decade is crucial. Post-2020 GBF needs to aim for a net gain in the status of biodiversity and nature’s contribution to people (“nature positive”) by 2030, reflect systemic challenge, and honor equity issue.

•Environmental policy has too long focused on pressures and not on drivers. We need to focus on drivers for restoration of nature and for society to adapt.

•We need to focus on rural areas indigenous people and local communities, and importantly to redesign the mechanism to enable inclusiveness.

•Nature’s benefits and risks are inequitably distributed. We do need to build in equity into our value system when we design instruments for desired output, outcome and impact.

•We need to extend beyond economic efficiency to incorporate inclusive wealth indicators which embraces a full range of natural capital, among others. This would help internalize externalities in decision making and find solutions to correct policy failure.

•The human-nature interdependencies require nexus approaches emphasizing livelihoods improvement, engaging communities, empowering women, as well as integrating traditional and scientific knowledge.

•The coming decade needs to increase financial flows towards developing countries to enhance capacity development of developing countries.

•Develop eco-technologies transparently with freely given, prior and informed community guidance. The UN could be hosting an eco-technology registry to provide a point of coordination and alternative incentives for scientists.

Event Reports and Videos:

Session 1: Part 1: Opening Session

Session 1: Part 2: Breakout Group1

Session 1: Part 2: Breakout Group2

Session 2

Session 3: Breakout Group 1

Session 3: Breakout Group 2

Session 4

Session 5

Event Website

Video: Session 3: Breakout Group 1

Short Report

Picking up the thread of the discussion on post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) in session 1, the current session focused on how GBF can be implemented with the help of science, technology and innovation across multiple scales—local, national and regional. Focusing on China—as an example—Dr Yan Liu of Nanjing Institute of Environmental Science (NIES) highlighted that new technologies can revolutionise biodiversity conservation across scales. She specifically pointed out multiple applications of environmental DNA (eDNA), harmonic radar, satellite tracking and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography, which have not only contributed to the national goal of biodiversity conservation but also made progress towards achieving the Taichi targets. Despite this national and regional progress, there remains a major mismatch between the current technological innovations and GBF. These mismatches were underlined by Dr Jamison Ervin, who is the manager of the Nature for development global programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She stressed that this might be our last best chance to build a nature-friendly development model, in contrast to the current model that is responsible for multiple global emergencies. According to her, these emergencies include climate and health—among others—for which mismatch between innovations and GBF goals are needed to be rectified urgently.

Finally, Dr Kevin Esvelt, who is a scientist and innovator at MIT, USA, put the spotlight on a less discussed but key aspect of environmental technology development—the need for open and community-driven science. Any environmental technology, such as those that can modify disease risk borne out of biodiversity loss, has an inherent risk of affecting the lives of local communities and thus scientists should bring them into confidence before such studies can be initiated, he argued. He also proposed the creation of a global registry of such technologies under the UN.


Event short report by By Shivani Krishna and Debapriyo Chakraborty. 

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