Thursday, September 29, 2022

COVID-19: UN Biodiversity Convention Postpones In-person Sessions

convention on biological diversity

The United Nations Biodiversity Convention has postponed in-person resumed sessions of its two subsidiary bodies and working group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, due to uncertainties posed by the recent emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

A statement by the secretariat information officer, David Ainsworth, said the uncertainties posed by the recent emergence of the Omicron variant and the resulting travel measures and restrictions imposed in certain countries, have resulted in the postponement of the resumed sessions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s scientific and implementation bodies and the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (WG2020-3).

“The recent emergence of the Omicron variant has highlighted that we live in a challenging time,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD executive secretary. “I am confident that in due course, with resilience and determination, when it is safe to meet in person again, we will hold these meetings and advance on our journey to Kunming and the successful adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.”

Originally scheduled for Geneva, Switzerland from January 12-28, 2022, the physical meetings of the resumed sessions of the 24 meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24), the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3) and WG2020-3 will be held at a later date in 2022.

The statement said the secretariat is exploring options for dates in March and will provide further information in due course.

“The CBD Secretariat, in consultation with the government of Switzerland, the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties (COP Bureau), SBSTTA and SBI Chairs and the post-2020 Working Group Co-Chairs, determined that in light of the Omicron variant, recently declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization, it would be impossible to hold the resumed sessions of the meetings in-person on the planned dates.

“Every effort will be made by the CBD Secretariat to ensure that the meetings reconvene as soon as feasible, at a time when the situation can allow large numbers of people to gather safely in a physical setting. The secretariat will continue to monitor further developments and issue updates on any changes and adjustments that may become necessary,” it added.

Nkechi Isaac with agency report
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