Synthetic Biology in the CBD-COP12

Harry-Campbell-Illustration

by Michelle Pazmiño //

The “new and emerging issue” of Synthetic Biology is said to be misunderstood by many stakeholders of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is defined by the Convention as: “the use of computer-assisted, biological engineering to design and construct new synthetic biological parts, devices and systems that do not exist in nature and the redesign of existing biological organisms, particularly from modular parts.” Yet there is no singular agreed definition for it and this could trigger confusion and disagreements during negotiations in the international arena.

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Youth intervention on Synthetic Biology. CBD-COP12

by Michelle Pazmiño //

The following intervention was prepared by Kabir Arora (India) and Michelle Pazmiño (Ecuador) on the subject item number 24 of the Draft Decisions text for the CBD-COP12:

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Convention on Biological Diversity – COP 12. Pyeongchang, South Korea

by Michelle Pazmiño //

Drum Performance at Opening Ceremony

Drum Performance at Opening Ceremony

A drum performance at the Opening Ceremony marked the first day of what is going to be a series of meetings where representatives of different Parties negotiate the present and future of earth’s biodiversity: the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Self-evident, this means intense work, hours of being seated at the plenary room, meeting halls and rooms, side events happening in between sessions – alias during lunch time – and the few spare time is used up preparing interventions, positions, opinions, action plans, strategies and campaigns to do as much aswe can to raise awareness of the presence and efforts of youth in global biodiversity issues

 

This is the aim of one of our projects: the “Speaking for Species” campaign. The plan is to lobby delegates to wear badges with pictures of species from diverse places of the planet whose sake, in one way or another, is being negotiated upon. The aim is to remind participants that the decisions they make have an impact on the species they represent and speak for. This and many other activities are planned to enhance youth participation during the two weeks.

 

Many characteristics about the event remind me of high school Model UN negotiations: the procedures, countries, badges, political parole and even the ties, heels and formal jackets delegates wear. It was exciting to be able to attend an event of such importance, and finally have get a tangible image and experience of how multilateral international agreements are negotiated.

 

In terms of logistics and coordination we still need to organize everyone’s role and designate who will collaborate on what and most importantly organize in a way that there is always someone to cover the discussions in WGI and WGII – which where decided upon during the opening plenary, to coordinate the items being discussed in each. Planning ahead will help us be more effective and successful in achieving our collective or individual goals during the event.
Back in the ground – at the plenary of WGI- the discussion started about the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 (GBO4), the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets – which will conclude in the so called outcome: Pyeongchang Roadmap for the Enhanced Implementation of the Strategic Plan of Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Targets. The Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 is a report that provides a summary of the mid-term assessment of the progress that has been made toward the achievement of the Strategic Plan, and it was discussed in the morning session highlighting that at the rate at which progress is being made the Aichi Targets will not be met within the set deadline.

 

A shared motion seemed to be the vision of forming a synergy including biodiversity, sustainable developments and climate change goals. Also, the need for resource mobilization, technology transfer and capacity building, was emphasized by many Parties.

 

Reception Dinner Party

Reception Dinner Party

The first day of the conference finished with a dinner party kindly offered by the host country in the Alpensia Ski Resort in the evening-night. We were delighted by the instrumental music, vocal and dance performances they had prepared and of course by the traditional food and drinks. Even though the weather was cold, not only the electric heaters reduced the lack of warmth of the atmosphere but also the cordiality of the Koreans that are always welcoming and polite.