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26 Nov 2020 | Transboundary Landscapes

Achieving Aichi Target 11: Member countries of South Asia sub-region convene to speed up priority actions by 2020

Syed Muhammad Abubakar, Nakul Chettri & Sunita Chaudhary

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Member countries of South Asia sub-region convened virtually for the regional policy dialogue on Aichi Target 11. They provided a status update and discussed their plan to achieve the target.

SUNITA CHAUDHARY, SYED MUHAMMAD ABUBAKAR & Nakul Chettri

Member countries of South Asia sub-region
Member countries of South Asia sub-region convened virtually for the regional policy dialogue on Aichi Target 11. They provided a status update and discussed their plan to achieve the target.

On 4 November 2020, we collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to organize a regional policy dialogue on Aichi Target 11 and beyond: Roadmap for the South Asia sub-region. The online dialogue brought together parties to CBD from South Asia sub-region to share progress regarding the status of Aichi Target 11, discuss challenges, and identify opportunities to build alliances for capacity building and sustainable funding.

The CBD Secretariat has designated ICIMOD and UNDP India as the Regional Coordinators for the South Asia Regional Implementation Support Network for achieving Aichi Target 11, under the Global Partnership on Target 11. Aichi Target 11 calls for the conservation of at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10% of coastal and marine areas (especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services) by 2020 through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, and well-connected systems of protected areas and OECMs that are integrated into the wider landscape and seascape. The dialogue chalked out a way forward for achieving the target by increasing the coverage of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) by 2020 and beyond.

Opening the regional policy dialogue, Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD, highlighted the importance of Aichi Target 11 for the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region – rich in diverse ecosystems, cultural assets, and biodiversity. Urging all the member countries to protect biodiversity, he underlined ICIMOD’s own strong commitment towards Aichi Target 11.

The chief guest of the event, Honourable Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Minister of Forests and Environment, Nepal, reiterated the Government of Nepal’s commitment to achieving Aichi Target 11 and contributing to the SDGs. He also highlighted Nepal’s support to our initiatives and HKH Call to Action, which advocates for a united effort towards sustainable mountain development.

Eklabya Sharma, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD, shared insights on biodiversity in the HKH and our efforts to protect this asset. He pointed out, “Unfortunately, this biodiversity is under threat. According to the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment Report, 70%–80% of the original habitat in the biodiversity hotspots of HKH is already lost and one-fourth of the endemic species in the Indian Himalaya could be wiped out by 2100.”

Sarat Babu Gidda, Senior Programme Officer, CBD Secretariat, presented on the current status, gaps, and opportunities in achieving Aichi Target 11. He shared that this dialogue aimed to gather the status of each country on their progress with the Aichi Targets. According to Gidda, “Aichi Target 11 is one of the promising targets, and the updated status will be presented during the CBD CoP15 next year.” Gidda requested all countries to update their information and report on OECMs in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) by the end of 2020.

The member countries of South Asia sub-region provided an update of the status of Aichi Target 11 showing progress in PAs coverage, and discussed their plan to achieve the target. Countries such as Bhutan and Nepal have exceeded their target with 51.44% and 23.39% under PAs coverage, respectively, while others are also making good progress. The countries discussed the challenges yet showed commitment towards Aichi Target 11.

According to Ruchi Pant, Head, Natural Resource Management and Biodiversity, UNDP India, “The role of UNDP India and ICIMOD as coordinating agencies for the CBD South Asia Network for Aichi Target 11 involves the capacity building of stakeholders, fostering collaboration among institutions, and facilitating knowledge sharing in the region.” Pant requested all countries to share best practices or cases regarding protected areas and OECMs, which we along with UNDP India will compile in a compendium, to be released during CBD CoP15 in 2021.

Nakul Chettri, CBD Focal Person, ICIMOD, expressed gratitude to all participants for their participation in the dialogue and for their continuous support of conservation in the region. He closed the dialogue by highlighting the importance of regional cooperation and reiterated the need to update the WDPA for achieving Aichi Target 11 in the region.

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