Environmental officials from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic participated recently in a training workshop in Saint Lucia as the Region continues preparations for the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15).
Supported by the European Union-funded project for Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements in African, Caribbean, and Pacific Countries (ACP-MEAS) and executed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the workshop was held to familiarise environmental officials with the operational aspects of COP15, scheduled for Montreal Canada, from 7-19 December.
The workshop was coordinated by the Sustainable Development sub-programme within the CARICOM Secretariat, which is implementing the Caribbean component of the ACP-MEAS Project. It featured a COP15 simulation exercise in which environmental negotiators participated in the drafting of statements and practice plenary sessions. They also created a COP15 programme of work that identified and analyzed issues most relevant to their national and regional interest and priorities. A refresher training in MEAs negotiations, including the art of drafting statements and making interventions during negotiation sessions was also conducted.
Youth environmentalists also participated as part of the capacity-building and youth initiatives of the ACP MEAs Project. A presentation by youth delegate, Lyn Marie Lynton from Barbados was a high point of that element of the workshop on youth concerns about the Global Biodiversity Framework.
This meeting of environmental officials from CARICOM, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic served as a critical platform for the exchange of views about key COP15 issues, desired outcomes, and potential negotiating strategies as the final negotiation in Montreal nears. Member States will now continue to conduct national consultations and preparations for the December negotiations. The CARICOM Secretariat and the OECS Commission will provide technical support to Member States by drafting regional statements and coordinating strategy meetings during the two-week-long negotiations leading up to the COP15.
Negotiators agreed that the expectations of COP15 are for an equitable Global Biodiversity Framework with goals and targets encompassing a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. The Region also wants recognition of the importance of biological resources in sustainable development, the need for adequate resources, capacity building, and technology transfer for the implementation of the Framework.