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.


Also our business

by Sarah

“Adaptation is also our business,” was the title of a side even this afternoon put on by members of the EU. The room was packed, and as we sat in rows and sweated, the presenters made some interesting and important points.

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This is not political gloss-over

by Sarah

I feel pretty confident saying that some of the statements delivered in this morning’s high level segment by NGOs had the blood pumping through the veins of the room.

Prior to the youth speech- which was delivered by three of our wonderful, intelligent, and inspiring number and ended in all of us calling loudly to pull together (”Harambe!”)- two African women in particular had a point to make, and courageously made it. Get on the ball.

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Canada rhymes with Rona?

by Virginie

Yesterday morning, I arrived at the conference center slightly disheartened: little or no progress has been made on the issue I have been closely following, namely post-2012 or the Beyond Kyoto “bubble”. Nonetheless, we had a big day ahead with opportunities to listen to Kofi Annan, Sir Nicholas Stern (lead UK economist and author of the Stern report) and the ministerial statements.

Ministers. Oh Ministers. Oh Canada. Oh oh…the Canadian Environment Minister. Mrs. Rona Ambrose.

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Engaging climate leaders

by Juan

The past few hours have been intense. We have been engaging leaders from around the globe on their position on climate policy. While I write this blog, some Canadians friends meet with the high commissioner of Canada in Kenya and Rona Ambrose. An hour ago we held at meeting with Nicholas Stern to question some of his ideas on the Stern Report, while others were meeting with the Minister of New Zealand, Germany, Indonesia. We have been approaching delegations all day, but there still a lot of work to do. Tomorrow will be the closing of the high level segment and we are preparing a powerful statement to present at the closing of the negotiations. We are running out of time, and we are committed to leave Nairobi with a sense that something has been done to secure our future.