The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), through the CPA Small Branches network and in partnership with UNESCO hosted a webinar about: The Role of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Legislators and Decision-Makers on Sustainable Development and Agenda 2030: Biodiversity on 21 and 23 July 2020. As the first in a proposed series, the webinar explored the role of the legislative branch of government vis-à-vis international commitments, and means by which parliament can have direct input into such negotiations and use international norms to inform legislation. It also focused, more specifically, on the “biodiversity super year”, exploring topics in international decision making, including the assessments of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework negotiations.
Dr. Floyd Homer, IPBES Bureau member from Latin American and Caribbean States, attended the webinar as a panel member in his personal capacity as a biodiversity expert and shared his insights on the significant roles to be played by legislators in the BES arena, including among others:
• Build awareness on national obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD);
• Disseminate information widely about the real social and economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem services;
• Integrate the relevant technical/scientific work that has already been done by various agencies, such as the CBD and IPBES, into the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in their countries;
• Ensure that appropriate policies are in place or amended to facilitate the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services; and
• Hold State agencies accountable for the implementation of biodiversity related policies and plans.
In this regard, Dr. Homer raised the important issue of the effective use of the IPBES assessments – global, regional, and thematic – to inform decision making by national legislators in support of the establishment of an enabling environment for biodiversity conservation in the region. He shared the case of BES-Net support in the Caribbean SIDS as a positive pragmatic example, outlining how the Caribbean Regional Trialogue in 2018 and the post-Trialogue support has been contributing to strengthen commitment from policy, science and practice communities for the uptake of IPBES thematic assessment on pollinators.