During the first quarter of 2016, the Africa Hub has supported ten countries of the Economic Commission for Central Africa States (ECCAS) to review and update their overall environmental and natural resources management in the sub region, with the final report submitted to the Hub and partners. With assistance from the Hub, five member states of the East African Community have also started a study on harmonization of their biosafety framework and it is expected to be finalized by mid-May 2016.
The Hub has also been involvement in the recruitment of consultants to develop (i) tools and guidelines for the management of integrated waste and chemicals in Africa, (ii) tools and guidelines for integration of biodiversity into the national planning process, (iii) legislative and regulatory framework for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) management in Liberia and Burkina Faso and resource persons to facilitate a regional workshop on enforcement and compliance for biodiversity cluster MEAs Community is ongoing.
The Hub participated in the African Regional Capacity-Building Workshop on Mainstreaming Biosafety into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, in Addis Ababa from 9 to 12 February 2016. organized by Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and African Union Commission, where the Hub made a presentation on the project achievements in the first phase and possible joint activities with CBD Secretariat and the African Union Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology.
In the first quarter of 2016, the Caribbean Hub commenced work on preparation of the first CARICOM Regional Biodiversity Outlook, and completed the preparation of a draft Framework for Capacity-Building and Development to Support Effective Action on Access and Benefit-Sharing. In co-operation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Hub produced a fact sheet on CMS for the Caribbean region.
The Pacific Hub – coordinated through the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) – has been supporting Pacific ACP countries access GEF funds by assisting with GEF proposal development to be submitted ahead of the GEF SEC meeting in June. The Hub has also been involved in strengthening national MEA enforcement and compliance mechanisms, through the preparation of environment impact assessment guidelines to be disseminated widely. For more than twenty five years SPREP has supported EIA awareness-raising and training programmes in member countries, and the publication of EIA guidelines and manuals. As the pace of development and urbanisation intensifies in our islands, the need for effective EIA processes becomes more urgent. These regional EIA Guidelines represent an expanded and updated version of SPREP’s original EIA Guidelines published in 1993. The regional EIA Guidelines complement other forms of SPREP EIA assistance such as the development and review of EIA legislation, delivery of in-country EIA training workshops, and provision of technical advice for different stages of EIA.
Additionally, SPREP has been involved in the mainstreaming of MEA objectives into national development planning processes: The National Environment Policy and Implementation Plan (NEPIP) for Vanuatu is going through the Government of Vanuatu endorsement process and it is in line with the National Sustainable Development Plan of Vanuatu. With the completion of the first draft State of Environment Report for the Republic of Marshal Islands (RMI), the actions identified have been developed into the RMI National Environment Management Strategies. The first draft RMI NEMS should be ready to be presented to the RMI Office of the Environment Policy Planning and Coordination (OEPPC) by 3rd quarter of 2016.
The Hub has been involved in strengthening national capacity for monitoring and reporting, MEA commitments and strengthening partnerships. One such example is supporting Nauru to achieve CBD targets by applying an ecosystem approach to the conservation of ecosystems, species and genetic diversity in the Pacific region. The Nauruan MSP workshop was executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), conducted in a collaborative partnership with the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority (NFMRA), the Department of Commerce Industry and Environment (DCIE), Government of Nauru and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia (through the Enhancing Pacific Ocean Governance, EPOG, project, funded by Australian Aid). The overall objective of the training was to introduce MSP to relevant Nauruan government authorities, communities and non-government organizations, building their capacity in applying key MSP principles to assist them in the development of a draft marine spatial plan for Nauru and work towards achieving sustainable use of their marine environment. The training was primarily for Nauruan stakeholders; however, participants from the Cook Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu also attended the training as part of SPREP’s regional approach to enhance knowledge and understanding on the importance of MSP as a tool for sustainable resource management.
UNEP organized the workshop on ‘South-South Experience Sharing Workshop on NBSAPs and Synergies among Biodiversity Conventions’ which brought together government officers from 13 countries which are at various phases of revising their National Biodiversity Strategy and Actions Plans (NBSAPs). Pursuant to target 17 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, each Party is called upon to develop NBSAPs, which are the principal instrument for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity at the national level. Thus, the purpose of the workshop was to promote dialogue between countries of the Global South to better understand the synergies among biodiversity-related multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) and how NBSAPs can play a key instrument in harmonizing national targets for various conventions.
Currently, more than a hundred countries are finalizing their revised or updated NBSAPs, and thus this workshop was a valuable opportunity to enhance cooperation and learn from each other. Countries from the African, Caribbean, Pacific region as well as Brazil and Mexico came together to discuss issues of synergies, legal preparedness, and institutional mechanisms that can provide for effective implementation of the NBSAPs.