A virtual meeting for the members of the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators (COW), also known as Promote Pollinators, was held on 14 July 2020. The COW meeting was originally planned to be held face-to-face in May 2020 at the margin of the 24th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It was, however, changed to an online format and rescheduled to July 2020, in response to the postponement of SBSTTA 24 In light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Driven by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (IPBES) landmark Thematic Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, the countries, which are concerned about the decline of pollinating species and their habitats and willing to act, came together to establish COW in December 2016. The Coalition members are expected to:
• Take action to protect pollinators and their habitats in order to stop and reverse their decline through developing, facilitating (if not already done) and implementing a pollinator strategy of your own, consistent with the IPBES thematic assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production;
• Share, in an open and transparent manner, experience and lessons learnt in developing, facilitating and implementing these pollinator strategies, especially knowledge on new approaches, innovations and best practices;
• Reach out to, and seeking collaboration with, a broad spectrum of stakeholders (among which, businesses, NGOs, farmers and smallholders, and local communities) on the need to protect pollinators;
• Develop research that will help to fill knowledge gaps on the subject of pollinator conservation; and
• Mutually support and collaborate with each other and with all countries and partner organizations willing to join us.
The virtual meeting provided the COW members with an opportunity to share experiences and exchange knowledge on pollinator protection. The BES-Net team joined the discussion as a non-state collaborative member of Promote Pollinators and presented the work of the network thus far in support of the agenda of the Coalition in partnership with the Promote Pollinators secretariat particularly through the Regional Trialogues.
“Uptake of the IPBES pollinator thematic assessment does not necessarily happen automatically and release of the report does not always directly lead to utilization and application,” said Yuko Kurauchi, BES-Net Project Coordinator, during her presentation. She highlighted that “BES-Net Regional Trialogues bring together the key policymakers, scientists and practitioners, who are directly/indirectly or knowingly/unknowingly involved in the thematic area, and facilitate mutual learning, knowledge and experience sharing and joint identification of solutions for pollinators protection.”
Ms. Sikeade Egbuwalo, Convention on Biological Diversity National Focal Point from the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Environment, also shared Nigeria’s experience at the Anglophone Regional Trialogue, which was held in May 2019. She highlighted how the Trialogue participants from policy, science and practice communities have since worked closely towards the achievement of the agreed action plans in line with the COW objectives.