International Fora

Our current focus

Biodiversity: CBD, SBSTTA, IPBES

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives: 1. The conservation of biological diversity 2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity 3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

CBD Website: http://www.cbd.int/

Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to the CBD (SBSTTA): Article 25 of the Convention on Biological Diversity establishes an open-ended intergovernmental scientific advisory body known as the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to provide the Conference of the Parties (COP) and, as appropriate, its other subsidiary bodies, with timely advice relating to the implementation of the Convention. As a subsidiary body of the COP, SBSTTA is to report regularly to the COP on all aspects of its work. Multidisciplinary and open to participation by all Parties, SBSTTA comprises government representatives competent in the relevant field of expertise. Its functions include: providing assessments of the status of biological diversity; providing assessments of the types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of the Convention; and responding to questions that the COP may put to the body.

SBSTTA Website: http://www.cbd.int/SBSTTA/

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): Following a gap analysis and three intergovernmental and multi-stakeholders meetings convened between 2008 and 2010, it was determined that there was a need for a new platform to fill in the gaps in the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. IPBES will respond to requests for scientific information related to biodiversity and ecosystem services from Governments, relevant multilateral environmental agreements and United Nations bodies, as well as other relevant stakeholders. At its second plenary meeting in Panama City in April 2012, IPBES was officially established and the city of Bonn in Germany elected to host the Secretariat.

IPBES website: http://www.ipbes.net/

Sustainable Development: Rio+20, CSD

In June 2012, the global political focus will be on the next big environmental summit, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20 because it comes 20 years after the high proile Earth Summit of 1992.

The Earth Summit gave us Agenda 21, the UN climate convention, the biodiversity convention, the precautionary principle, the forest principles and meaningful civil society engagement - all under the banner of "sustainable development". At Rio+20, global leaders are tasked with identifying what went wrong in hte past 20 years, re-organizing the governance that has failed to deliver any progress on diverse environmental crises and crafting a roadmap towards a global "green economy".

Rio+2- brings us to a crossroads that offers both risks and opportunities. Rio+20's centerpiece "green economy" is poorly defined and could become a cover for further commodification and monopolization of nature, the violation of human rights and the deployment of high-risk technologies. Alternatively. the Rio summit could re-set the agenda for diverse, people-centered, local green economies, with policies that protect the environmnt, strengten the commons, promote equality establishing a new participatory and transparent multilateral system for technology assessment.

All International Fora

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): FAO is a United Nations specialized agency which mandate is ti raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy. ETC Group relates primarily to the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the negotiations for a multilateral system of conservation and exchange of genetic resources for food and agriculture, known as the International Treaty on Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Aside from responsibility for the International Treaty, the FAO Commission oversees the FAO-CGIAR Trust Agreement and provides policy oversight for the germplasm collections included in that agreement.

FAO Website: http://www.fao.org/index_en.htm

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR): The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is an informal network of 16 international agricultural research centres which manages aprroximately 600,000 agricultural seed samples. It is the most influential agricultural research body in the South, and thus affects food and agricultural development policies for resource-poor farmers worldwide. In 1994, most of the crop germplasm held in CGIAR gene banks was placed under the auspices of the FAO, to be held in trust by the world community. ETC is engaged in ongoing work related to the science, governance and patent policies of the CGIAR.

CGIAR Website: http://www.cgiar.org/

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS): Intense negotiations and strong pressure from ETC Group and many long-standing allies led, in October 2009, to the reorganization of the UN Committee on Food Security (CFS) to become the Rome-based acknowledged intergovernmental policy and program forum for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Program (WFP) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). In the new CFS structure, civil society organizations  now have a unique, formally-recognized role that allows us to participate with the same status as governments in all meetings and negotiations although we are not allowed to vote. 

CFS Website: http://www.fao.org/cfs/en/

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives: 1. The conservation of biological diversity 2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity 3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

CBD Website: http://www.cbd.int/

Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to the CBD (SBSTTA): Article 25 of the Convention on Biological Diversity establishes an open-ended intergovernmental scientific advisory body known as the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to provide the Conference of the Parties (COP) and, as appropriate, its other subsidiary bodies, with timely advice relating to the implementation of the Convention. As a subsidiary body of the COP, SBSTTA is to report regularly to the COP on all aspects of its work. Multidisciplinary and open to participation by all Parties, SBSTTA comprises government representatives competent in the relevant field of expertise. Its functions include: providing assessments of the status of biological diversity; providing assessments of the types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of the Convention; and responding to questions that the COP may put to the body.

SBSTTA Website: http://www.cbd.int/SBSTTA/

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): Following a gap analysis and three intergovernmental and multi-stakeholders meetings convened between 2008 and 2010, it was determined that there was a need for a new platform to fill in the gaps in the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. IPBES will respond to requests for scientific information related to biodiversity and ecosystem services from Governments, relevant multilateral environmental agreements and United Nations bodies, as well as other relevant stakeholders. At its second plenary meeting in Panama City in April 2012, IPBES was officially established and the city of Bonn in Germany elected to host the Secretariat.

IPBES website: http://www.ipbes.net/

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. Today, it has near-universal membership. The 195 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention. The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of three adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992. Its sister Rio Conventions are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. The three are intrinsically linked. It is in this context that the Joint Liaison Group was set up to boost cooperation among the three Conventions, with the ultimate aim of developing synergies in their activities on issues of mutual concern. It now also incorporates the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

 

In June 2012, the global political focus will be on the next big environmental summit, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20 because it comes 20 years after the high proile Earth Summit of 1992.

The Earth Summit gave us Agenda 21, the UN climate convention, the biodiversity convention, the precautionary principle, the forest principles and meaningful civil society engagement - all under the banner of "sustainable development". At Rio+20, global leaders are tasked with identifying what went wrong in hte past 20 years, re-organizing the governance that has failed to deliver any progress on diverse environmental crises and crafting a roadmap towards a global "green economy".

Rio+2- brings us to a crossroads that offers both risks and opportunities. Rio+20's centerpiece "green economy" is poorly defined and could become a cover for further commodification and monopolization of nature, the violation of human rights and the deployment of high-risk technologies. Alternatively. the Rio summit could re-set the agenda for diverse, people-centered, local green economies, with policies that protect the environmnt, strengten the commons, promote equality establishing a new participatory and transparent multilateral system for technology assessment.

The World Social Forum (WSF): The WSF is a forum dedicated to discussion and proposal of alternatives for anti-globalization and altermundo activists working towards the construction of a better world - rooted in the belief that "Another world is possible!"

Organized for the first time in 2001 in Porto Alegre (Brazil), the Forum has since then visited numerous other countries. This yearly summit of the anti-globalization movement attracts an average of 100,000 people around the world. The WSF casts itself as an alternative to the World Economic Forum organized in Davos (Switzerland) and is a dynamic, open space, providing social movements and citizens from around the world - trade unionists, intellectuals, farmers, women groups, youth etc. with an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas about actions to be undertaken to promote a world based on fairness and a more human development. The WSF is opposed to the values of neoliberalism as defended by international institutions, multinational corporations and even by some governments.

The 11th and latest edition of the WSF took place in Dakar, Senegal in February 2011, but regional and thematic forums are also organized throughout the world.

WSF Website: http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/