22 Mar 2022

Venue: CICG Room D & Online | Webex

Organization: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

This hybrid session was a side-event to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) resumed sessions of the twenty-fourth 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 the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (WG2020-3), taking place in Geneva, in March 2022. The side event was organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the support of the Geneva Environment Network.

About this Side Event

This interactive event invited speakers and the audience to truly reimagine humanity’s relationship with nature through an exploration of the linkages between human rights and biodiversity. The event, which built upon the recent recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right by Human Rights Council resolution 48/13, shared ideas for a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that promotes rights-based action to protect biodiversity, including through participatory, inclusive, transparent and accountable implementation that safeguards Indigenous Peoples’ rights and ways of life.

New OHCHR research on integrating human rights in national biodiversity strategies and action plans and rights-based approaches to conservation finance was presented to inform an interactive discussion. Other objectives of the session included to:

  • Build momentum for integration of human rights, including the right to a healthy environment, in the development and implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework;
  • Increase awareness of the linkages between human rights and biodiversity; and
  • Explore the implications of recognition of the human right to a healthy environment for biodiversity and conservation action.



Deputy Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity


Bolivian Catholic University - Academic Peasant Unit / AGRUCO


Environmental Commissioner, Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism, Namibia

Pernilla MALMER

Senior Adviser and Member of the Swedish Delegation

Maria Jesús OVALLE

CBD National Focal Point, Ministry of Environment, Chile


Human Rights Officer, Environment and Climate Change, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Daniel KOBEI

Executive Director, Ogiek Peoples' Development Program (OPDP)


Director, Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)


Chair IUCN Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) | Moderator


Welcome and Opening Remarks

Kristen WALKER PAINEMILLA | Chair IUCN Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy

  • We really want to truly imagine humanity’s relationship with nature. We want to do that through an exploration of human rights and biodiversity.
  • This discussion will build on the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right by Human Rights Council resolution 48/13, which shares the ideas of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). It focuses on the issues of promoting rights and a rights-based approach to protection of biodiversity, including key issues such as participation, inclusion, transparency, and accountable implementation that safeguards indigenous people’s rights and ways of life.
  • We will hear today from several discussions on recent research that has come from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights focusing on integrating human rights into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and rights-based approaches to conservation finance.
  • I ask you all to maintain this thought of “reimagine”. We don’t always have to do things the way we know how to. We need to challenge ourselves. We need to listen to those communities closest to the ground. We need to evaluate where we sit in the world and how we engage with the environment.
  • The charge here is reimagine, and in that, how do we integrate human rights into the future of biodiversity action?

A Human Rights-based Approach to Biodiversity Action and Finance

Georgina CATACORA VARGAS | Bolivian Catholic University – Academic Peasant Unit / AGRUCO

The report presented, “A Human Rights-based Approach to Biodiversity Conservation” is still a work in progress. It is carried out by Leah Temper from the McGill University and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and Georgina Catacora Vargas of the Academic Peasant Unit, Bolivian Catholic University and AGRUCO Research Center on agroecology, with support and guidance from the Environment and Climate Change Unit of the OHCHR.

  • The report’s purpose is to reflect and propose elements on how to move from biodiversity action that excludes people, to biodiversity action that considers them from the perspective of human rights-holders. The human rights-based approach refers to the design and implementation of policies and programs that are based on principles and standards derived from the international human rights law, with the goal of reducing inequities and move forward to achieve freedom, justice and peace, as stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    • From this perspective, focusing on the marginalized and disadvantaged groups is central. The human rights-based approach to biodiversity refers to the promotion and realization of such rights through decision-making, planning and actions that conserve biodiversity, contribute to sustainable use, and to the fair and equitable share of benefits of using biodiversity and genetic resources – the three objectives of the CBD.
  • This fosters integral welfare in favor of rights-holders, of those whose livelihoods directly depend on biodiversity. When there are challenges of access and use or of the deterioration of biodiversity, such livelihoods become more jeopardized. From indigenous peoples, peasants, artisanal fishers, pastoralists, herders, subsistence hunters, gatherers, and within these groups, women, youth, elders and children, rights-holders then face various challenges in the realization of their human rights realizations.
  • The promotion respect and implementation of human rights is a legal obligation. This obligation also applies to biodiversity action. There are also various elements that are very important for policy making that inspired the application of a human rights-based approach: from the interdependence between biodiversity and human well-being, preventing conservation strategies that exclude people and challenges their realization of human rights, and in effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable use by right holders particularly indigenous peoples.
  • The current version of the report is organized under the following topics:
    • An introductory section on the relevance and the overall context of the current trend that merges the biodiversity and the climate change agendas, including the potential implication on human rights;
    • A review of historical and emergent human rights challenges associated with conservation paradigms – from classical and exclusionary conservation approaches to the newer market-based approaches, such as biodiversity offsets, payments for ecosystem services including initiatives on rent, wheat and others increasingly described as nature-based solutions;
    • The implications of these exclusionary approaches and the challenges that are imposed on different rights, focusing mostly on the right to own property, cultural rights, participation and self-determination, equity and the right to development, which are at the same time related to many civil, political and social-cultural rights;
    • Different elements on how we could approach the human rights base in relation to biodiversity, and considers different international instruments relevant to the implementation of human rights. The report considers 15 instruments that only address a variety of rights within civil, political, economic, social-cultural rights, including the right to a safe clean healthy and sustainable environment and the right to development; and
    • Examples on how we could put in place a human rights-based approach to biodiversity as a transformative path.
  • The preliminary key messages are the following:
    1. Both classical exclusionary biodiversity conservation and market-related based approaches, including new versions as those self-defined as nature-based solutions, hold risks, significant risks and challenges for human rights realization.
    2. There is extensive human rights law that imposes obligation and duty bearers to respect, promote and implement human rights in biodiversity action.
    3. The human rights-based approach to conservation of biodiversity is transformative in itself. It has all the potential to contribute to biodiversity conservation while ensuring the health and well-being of people.
  • As we are in this process of discussing the post-2020 GBF building towards COP-15, we hope that the report can provide important elements, not only for the context we are in now but also for broader goals that are relevant for the well-being of people and ecosystems.

Integrating Human Rights in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans

Therese ARNESEN | Human Rights Officer, Environment and Climate Change, OHCHR

The report presented is a working draft of the OHCHR report, “Integrating Human Rights in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans”, recognizing the research, analysis and writing done by Clarice Wambua.

Setting the Scene

  • Referring to the adoption of HRC Resolution 48/13, it provided a momentum for the integration of human rights, including the right to healthy environments, development, and the implementation of the post-2020 GBF. The HRBA to biodiversity is a tool that is normatively based on international human rights law and standards, operationally directed to promote and protect human rights.
  • In our setting today, the HRBA helps promote the sustainability of biodiversity action, empowering people, especially the most marginalized and those in vulnerable situations, to participate in policy formulation, and to hold accountable those who have a duty to act.
  • The NBSAPs are the principal planning tool for Parties to the Convention, and offers a unique opportunity for human rights to be included in the foundations of biodiversity conservation and management.

Key Findings of the Report

  • We set out to provide guidance to states and other stakeholders and how to plan for and implement rights-based biodiversity.
    • First, we outline the interlinkages between human rights and biodiversity: explaining how biodiversity is necessary for the enjoyment of human rights, and how the realization of human rights is beneficial for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, while biodiversity loss can result in human rights violations and thereby exacerbate existing inequalities.
    • Second, integrating human rights in biodiversity planning is essential both for biodiversity conservation and management to be successful as it enables human rights-based action to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and it allows the protection of human rights and the action undertaken to do so to benefit both people and planet.
      • Allowing the synergies between biodiversity and human rights to be better understood and to be enhanced also assists in playing a role in the transformation required to attain the SDGs.
    • Finally, the HRBA to NBSAPs specifically ensures that biodiversity is protected in a non-discriminatory inclusive and participatory manner. The report aims to provide guidance to member States and other stakeholders on how this can be done: how can human rights considerations be incorporated into biodiversity planning? Our findings and belief show that this is best done when human rights are explicitly integrated in explicit terms in the language of rights and the corresponding obligations?
  • The basis of our report is an analysis of 186 NBSAPs from State parties. It looks at both direct and indirect references to human rights and includes specific considerations that have been given to groups and persons in vulnerable situations.
  • Rather few states make it explicit or make direct references to human rights. Majority of NBSAPS factor in human rights related issues and use indirect references to related principles and concepts. As a whole and as it stands today, the NBSAPs really fail to adequately integrate human rights in biodiversity policymaking and planning. Some of our findings are positive and enlightening:
    • 44 NBSAPs directly refer to at least one human right, while 83% of these have taken into consideration persons, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations. 69% refer to local communities, as the NBSAP of Ethiopia does.
    • 24% refers to indigenous peoples, such as Australia’s NBSAP. 49% references women, such as Nigeria, while youth and children are referenced in respectively 22% and 24% of the NBSAPs, where Bahamas references youth and Azerbaijan specifically refers to children.
    • The right to a healthy environment is the right that is most frequently referenced, as it appears in 15 percent of NBSAPs, such as those of Liberia, Mongolia Nicaragua, Norway and Turkey, while 28% of NBSAPs have indirect references to this.
      • The implications of incorporating the right to healthy environment in NBSAPs would be to further strengthen, with an in-depth exploration and elaboration in the NBSAPs, of what this right means, what it means for the country, what it means in the context of biodiversity, and how this can be attained.
  • We have a few good practices in terms of directly incorporating substantive rights.
    • Guatemala’s directly affirms the State’s commitment to guaranteeing the right to life. Switzerland mentions that it’s important to protect biodiversity as this guarantees certain rights, including those to clean air and water.
    • Some of the indirect references come in the context of references to domestic laws and policies or court decisions.
    • Indonesia’s for example reference the right to culture through cross-referencing domestic law that contains elements guaranteeing these specific rights. São Tomé and Príncipe references the country’s Constitution that safeguards the right to housing. India’s refers to the right to education through a domestic law that provides for action plans in the education sector.
  • In terms of procedural rights, 7% of NBSAPs directly reference the right to access to information, 7% directly references the right to participation, and only 2% of NBSAPs references the right to access legal remedies.


  • We recommend NBSAPs to expressly articulate in human rights language the entitlements of rights holders and the obligations of duty bearers.
    • States as the primary duty bearers should really incorporate their human rights in obligations in NBSAPs both in terms of procedural rights (facilitating public participation, access to information, access to justice) and in terms of substantive rights (right to life, right to a healthy environment, right to culture, right to food and health, adequate housing, self-determination, right to safe drinking water and an adequate standard of living).
  • The whole process of developing NBSAPs should be participatory.
    • We think that there should be a way for States as the primary duty bearers, at the outset when they set up the human rights obligations, to address responsibilities of businesses related to biodiversity laws and the related human rights harms.
  • Finally, NBSAPs should also incorporate effective human rights monitoring, reporting and accountability mechanisms. This should be implemented and maintained throughout the lifespan of the policies.
    • Remembering that NBSAPs are not an ending themselves, they are just the beginning of a long-term process of participatory biodiversity planning and action and that their implementation should really be a process of continuous dialogue with rights-holders.


  • We’re proposing this guidance to inform parties preparing their NBSAPs following the adoption of the post-2020 GBF, as the global community seeks through the to stop biodiversity loss. It is key to recognize the interdependence of human rights and our environment, the importance of realizing the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment for everyone, and again rights-based biodiversity action, which is necessary to effectively protect both people and planet. Integrating human rights in the development context and the implementation of NBSAPs is really a crucial policy tool.
  • Another guidance developed at the UN Human Rights, together with our partners at UNEP, provides a set of key messages on human rights and biodiversity which can provide further policy guidance for rights-based biodiversity action.

Panel Discussion

David COOPER | Deputy Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity

  • As we now develop the post 2020 global biodiversity framework, these important reports will be useful as we finalize the post-2020 plan and even more so in implementing it.
  • There has been an interest on rights as a whole and the perspective of right holders in the Convention, in particular with the Convention’s Article 8J, focusing on Traditional Knowledge, Innovations, and Practices, and the role and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. More recently, we’ve seen this rights holders approach broaden with more considerations the rights of women and girls, of youth, and so on.
  • This increase in interest in HRBA can help ensure the comprehensiveness that we need to have the transformative change that we will need to achieve the goals and targets of the post 2020 framework through the implementation of the NBSAPs.
  • Certainly the landmark Resolution 48/13 of the HRC comes at a very timely moment and can give some impetus to the discussions. For the CBD, this is important not only for the development of the GBF, but also the gender plan of action. On the basis of the work done in the Working Group on Article 8J, the COP will be recommending the further development of programme of work on indigenous peoples and local communities which will also be vital in promoting a rights-based approach in the implementation of the GBF.
  • More broadly, we’ve seen issues of social justice, of a need to address inequalities coming to fore in these discussions not only in the CBD, but in climate, in the Convention on Desertification, and so on. These issues have been highlighted in the latest global assessment in the latest.
  • In the first draft of the post-2020 GBF, there is a reference to rights-based approaches, the need for recognition of gender equality, women’s empowerment, the youth and of course the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities. We know and we hear from them how important this will be for particular targets, such as that on protected areas. The reports we’ve heard will help us reach them.

Nori IGNACIO | Director, SEARICE

  • It is with much appreciation that Nina mentioned in her presentation peasants as one of those who suffer and continue to suffer due to biodiversity loss. The small farmer regardless of whether he or she belongs to an indigenous group or a local community, regardless whether the small farmer is a woman or a child, has continuously been ignored and marginalized.
  • The text of the CBD itself does not specifically contain the word ‘farmer’ or ‘peasant’. In 2013, efforts were made to include small farmers in the nomenclature ‘local communities’ under Article 8J of the Convention, which is why we now have IPLCs.
  • However, lumping the farmer with all those who belong to local communities made the farmer invisible and marginalized. Despite having maintained biodiversity for thousands of years, farmers, pastoralists and peasants continue to be marginalized, if not invisible in the CBD because it seems like farmers are not considered as rights holders but as duty bearers.
  • Farmers are required or are imposed the duty to till the soil and produce food so that all of the world’s population will be able to enjoy the right to food, the right not to be hungry. Farmers have the duty to engage in ecosystems-based agricultural approaches so that they can continue to produce food without any harm to the environment. For thousands of years, before the last century, farmers have resorted to sustainable agricultural practices that led to everybody else’s enjoyment of the right to clean air and clean water, the right to a balanced and healthy ecology, the right to a sustainable environment.
  • The sad reality is that even as farmers have such rights, there is no venue for farmers to enforce their rights, particularly their rights to seed. There is no existing system of liability and redress through which farmers can enforce their rights to seed. It is very ironic that the farmers seed systems that maintain seed biodiversity are not protected by any law. In most cases, laws are in place to protect the proprietary rights of businesses over seeds.
  • Farmers rights and biodiversity conservation are so intimately intertwined and interrelated that one cannot exist without the other. I hope that this discussion this side event will contribute to ensuring that farmers rights as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, particularly the rights to seed, will be part of integrating the human rights-based approach to the NBSAPs and the CBD as a whole.
  • With all the challenges that farmers are facing now, the only way they can continue sustaining biodiversity is when their rights are protected and upheld.

We urge parties to the Convention to walk the talk and genuinely recognize and protect farmers rights in all biodiversity actions. Because farmers rights are human rights too.

Timo MUFETI | Environmental Commissioner, Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism, Namibia

  • We have seen some good suggestions and reports, which I think Parties will be able to pick up and implement the practical stuff. I would like to thank everyone for the good work that they have shown. It will be very helpful for us.
  • For people in government, these issues are real. The issue we face every day is how do you balance biodiversity conservation and human rights? Many times, you experience those conflict and these types of tool so this type of practical example on how to maneuver or go around it will really help us
  • We have got tools at national levels. We have got institutions, documents, and policies. Even on the constitutional level, people should come first, but in practice on the ground, we have communities affected by protected areas for standing up [for themselves]. The capacity that is needed to be built not only on the government side but also on the side of affected communities, these are the real issues.
  • In Namibia, this is what we are advocating for: to make sure that some of these principles are really taken up in the in the framework. Our people depend on what we do as governments, as international organizations, to preserve and to uphold their rights.
  • We are looking forward for those suggestions to be put in practice because that is what will help governments, different institutions, and people with regulatory authority to make sure that it becomes law.

Pernilla MALMER | Senior Adviser and Member of the Swedish Delegation

  • Listening to the discussion here and in the plenaries, it is like we have reached the tipping point for the recognition of a human rights-based approach.
  • As mentioned in the work on NBSAPs, sometimes also even when you are not really mentioning HRBA, there is implementation that is in line with it. Seeing the language and proposals from Parties, in terms of indigenous people’s rights, gender equality, the youth responsiveness, I think we have really come a long way forward.
  • What this depends on perhaps is the IPBES Global Assessment that recognizes better standards in terms of conservation of indigenous peoples territories and other areas. We all exactly have the Local Biodiversity Outlooks that the IIFB and other partners have compiled together and that have been showing these.
  • The implementation of the last 10 years have really recognized the importance of indigenous peoples, local communities, women, youth and so on. What we need now are concrete examples, as we have seen in the different plans: what has been done? What gaps are there, such as access to justice in the implementation?
  • The real heroes of implementation are the environmental human rights defenders who are standing up and protecting biodiversity.
  • The draft outline of the gender plan of action which we also have on the discussion now is a good example of how to implement the HRBA. If we have this implemented through the targets, it will also be kind of a guidance of how to have it done and not only for women and girls, but to all people across different backgrounds, giving them agency to work together.
  • What we need to make this happen is a very strong monitoring framework that covers all and see what is happening in the NBSAPs. We could start to work on guidance on how to do it. We have so many good examples already, and our can work start here.

Maria Jesús OVALLE | CBD National Focal Point, Ministry of Environment, Chile

  • The HRBA promotes freedom justice and peace building, and in this sense we are strengthening these aspects in Chile by sending the Escazú Agreement to our Congress for adherence this week.
  • For us, there is only one environmental agenda: climate change, degradation and biodiversity loss, and pollution must be addressed all together because they are all interlinked. If we don’t adopt the integrated approach, no successful outcome will result from our efforts.
  • There is no single unique magical solution, the action must be integrated coordinated based on evidence and designed to fulfill the needs of the people in the territories, especially those in vulnerable situations. We believe that some ecosystem can be protected areas such as the one on the high seas, though many others that have citizens living on it, especially ILCs, should balance protection and sustainable use measures.
  • Chile has some instruments aligned with this. Their purpose is to conserve and that IPLCs maintain their livelihoods and traditional knowledge. Three examples of these instruments:
    1. Marine unprotected coastal areas of multiple use. They are classified, according to IUCN, as Category 6 which means that they aim to protect natural ecosystem, while conserving associated cultural values and sustainably using their natural resources
    2. Advantage resources management and exploitation areas. This is an access regime that assigned exclusive exploitation rights to organizations of artisanal fishermen through a management and exploitation plan based on the conservation of this ventonic resources in some limited geographic sectors.
    3. Indigenous coastal marine space. They are the limited marine areas whose administration is handed over to indigenous communities or an association of them that have exercised customary use verified by our National Corporation for Indigenous Development.
  • We are towards the approval of a living process adopting a human right-based approach and adding it to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. These are not just some pretty words on a paper to later be forgotten.
  • On the contrary, this approach alongside gender equality, participation, access to information and justice are crossing cutting issues that we need to constantly mainstream throughout the society with all our commitment and willingness to set us on the path to live in harmony with nature by 2050.

Daniel KOBEI | Executive Director, Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP)

  • When we talk about the role of indigenous peoples and the issues of biodiversity, one thing which we don’t seem to discuss more is that we are evolving around land and territories.
  • When we talk about land territories and rights-based approaches, one of the challenges indigenous people face is conflict with conservation. When they say, this is our ancestral home, our government says this is a protected area. They want to protect, we want to be custodians. We want to take it so that it can be used for by everybody.
  • Our environmental defenders have faced a lot of challenges because they are always being arrested threatened because they say that they have gone against conservation.
  • As we discuss what we are doing here, we should think about how we are going to devolve all that we are doing in these big conferences to these communities on the ground. The conflicts there, the challenges they are facing, some of them are related to biodiversity. When we talk about budgets, do we talk about budgets going to these communities or we talk about budgets going to national budgets? As we discuss and we talk about rights, we can see how these people are being threatened because of that.
  • Regarding litigation, indigenous people are facing a lot of litigation because of their land and territories. They are fighting and saying we want our lands to protect and take care of them. There are already issues about 30 by 30 [targets], and when you tell them, they ask, “What is 30 by 30?” These are things coming up but they are not consulted. Then, we come talk about this here, and say, “We are going to do 30 by 30.”

All these are terminologies and these affect us. We say, “Nothing about us without us.”

  • We should be asking, “How are we going to make some of these right-based approaches to reach us and become part and parcel of it?”



  • It’s important to note that we’ve had the research that has been done by the Human Rights Commission. We have the resolution and the tools it has recognized the gaps.
    • We’ve heard of the progress that has been made in the context of the CBD negotiations and then on the ground. There are still issues and it’s not a perfect scenario by any means: the issues around evolving land and territories; there still exists a conflict between peoples and conservation; the issues around the budgets go into communities; and, the issues around financing.
  • Indigenous peoples and local communities are pushing that agenda and it’s an important agenda regarding where does the reaped financial resources go to actually do that.
  • Regarding protection and custodians, it is a very important conversation and discussion to be had in this process.

Q: When the first presenter mentioned nature as an asset class, what does she say about it?

  • This is a very serious issue that has been grappled by everyone, but we didn’t hear any kind of definition of it. If you are really looking at that nature as an asset class, that plan to create a market in nature itself is fraught with danger.
  • Biodiversity offsetting payment for ecosystems could allow the fate of our forests, rivers, meadows, wild species and others into a problem. This comes from the idea of colonial legacy, particularly in anglophone countries of their forest acts which sees forest as a commercialized entity.
  • It will be good if you can do a study historical analysis to see how this is a reincarnation of those colonial laws either in Africa or in Asia.


  • The report and its spirit is in line of what you are saying. We have to be very careful on placing biodiversity – its components and it functions – in a monetary market, as it functions in different market-based approaches.
  • We know, and it has been discussed, that so-called nature and biodiversity specifically in this context has many values. Some of them are tangible, might be physical, or might have different values including economic. However, this is not the only value that biodiversity has. It has components and functions, that may be intangible. Other values go in the dimensions of being spiritual and symbolic, both of which are recognized also in the human rights law.
  • Apologies if it was not clear on that respect but the concerns that you have raised is also the concerns that we share. What we are advocating for is a comprehensive implementation of human rights from the perspective and for the benefit of right holders.

Q: In Chile, do you consider these protected areas, other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs)… How do you categorize those examples? Do they relate at all to indigenous or local community territories?

Maria Jesús OVALLE

  • In my general understanding, the first one – the marine and coastal protected areas of multiple use – are considered protected areas. There are few kind of uses that are allowed in order to disrupt their ecological processes.
  • On the other hand, the other two – the one related to indigenous people and to fisher and local men – are considered other effective conservative measures. This is because the main objective is the use of the resources, but in a sustainable way.

Q: Indeed, many targets address human rights related issues but we need to be aware that as long as these issues are not part of the monitoring framework, there will be no transparency as to human rights compliance or as to whether a human rights-based approach has been adopted or not at national level.

The proposal would be to strengthen significantly more references of human rights in NBSAPs through the streamlining of the NBSAPs and so that would require a strengthening of Annex A of SBI Agenda 9.

Q: On the monitoring framework, how the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment could be more fully integrated in it?

  • It’s good to see that we covered from the global to the national to the local level. I fully agree that it would be critical to bring these issues in terms of implementation at the national level. It’s very good to see what is being done on NBSAPs and fully agree with the comment that these issues need to be addressed at the very local level.
  • We all welcome it but unless it is integrated in monitoring framework, there is no kind of obligation to report on it. In discussions both in the indigenous caucus and with environmental organizations in the past few days, one of the areas where we felt that it could be directly addressed is in Goal B – either as an additional milestone or an additional component with related component indicators.
  • The problem however has been that there has been almost no time to discuss these issues. For the parties there has been written time, for us there has been zero time. I’m wondering and I’m asking specifically the government of Chile and Namibia,  whether you know they could help us to bring this to the table, for example, the specific language that could be proposed to have it reflected in the monitoring framework.


  • I think from the Namibian point of view, we are very much open to look at some of the suggestions which are very specific that will help us to improve the language or even additions to make it specific.
  • As we have said, if we don’t have these issues in monitoring framework for governments, it will be very difficult to tighten up to specific issues and aspects that are going to help us make sure that we monitor what we implement.
  • Please feel free to make those suggestions. We will look at it and discuss it and not only on that one but any other issues that might advance the human right, so that we see them reflected well into their goals, targets and even milestones.

Maria Jesús OVALLE

  • We agree that it’s really important to have this set in the mandatory framework, but we also agree there is no time left. For example, trying to have something like this as a headline indicator would be almost impossible because there are too many parties that have to be aligned. We don’t have time.
  • So we can explore proposing something as a component indicator, and we will be happy if you share a specific proposal. These guidelines for our national position is quite new. As the new government, we’re still wondering what is the best way and where is the best place to put them.
  • I also want to highlight the importance to have these reflected on the NBSAPs and the updated SAPs. All efforts must be put to actually implement these things.

Q: Have there been any discussions on uh whether the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Treaty System would include reporting on the adoption of a human rights-based approach in biodiversity governance? What extent do you think that this would be feasible or even desirable?


  • There’s multiple ways of doing. The review is based on different input, on national reports from States that are under review.
    • It is based on a report that’s summarized by the UN, where the Secretariat here is servicing sort of that support function, which again relies on whatever review a state party has been subjected to, whatever submissions are made from country teams in the field, a sort of official UN information.
    • It is also the summary of stakeholder submission which incorporates the information submitted by civil society stakeholders, both in the country and international ones and also by national human rights institutions.
  • That leaves a lot of space to address those issues. Even if submissions aren’t fully reflected in those documents, they will still be uploaded on the website. Full submissions will be publicly available.
  • You also have other advocacy opportunities related to the reviews both in country and in Geneva, where civil society can raise these issues with other States, with embassies in country, or with the CSOs that are Geneva-based and work on advocacy and awareness raising related to that review.
  • When we tried to do a review of how climate change and environmental issues had been picked up in the UPR, we saw that there is an increasing trend of doing so. All this would be very much in line with what our High Commissioner says: the triple planetary crisis overall is the biggest threat to human rights today.
  • I think there is there’s plenty of room for that to be to be incorporated in there. We could go on about discussions about what rights are privileged in that review, but it’s really up to all the stakeholders involved to put it there and draw attention to it

Q: This afternoon, we will be discussing Item Six on the Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). The examples that Chile has mentioned are very strong and are key to support indigenous people and local communities and the work you know their governance in their territories.

Maria Jesús OVALLE

  • I want to commend what was mentioned regarding EBSAs. We are in a national effort to align our protected areas and other base management tools with the EBSA.
  • Now, we see a lot of challenges on that but the idea is to use the synergies and the scientific evidence to protect the places that are most needed to be protected.



  • We know that the instruments are there for human rights-based approach. We know that we have to really think about the way forward progress has been made. We’ve seen that in the context of the CBD, but I think we need to make sure that things continue to move forward. An important comment was made that it needs to be part of the monitoring framework as well.
  • I want you all just to take in what you heard think about those advances but think about that there’s still challenges on the ground. How do we continue to work at a multi-scale, multi-tiered approach to ensure that a human rights-based approach is in all aspects of the work that we do? Not just at the talks at the global level, not just in the language of our constitutions but actually in the actions and the relationships that people have with nature and people have with each other in trying to protect the planet.


In addition to the live WebEx and Facebook transmissions, the video is made available on this webpage.

Direct from CICG Geneva

Video: Restoring Ogiek Land Rights: A Story of Unity and Resilience | Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program



Additional Resources