The following is the text of the ICSF statement submitted to the 24th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24) on 23 March 2022 at Geneva, Switzerland

ICSF welcomes the Chair’s draft recommendation to the Conference of Parties (CBD/SBSTTA/24/CRP.2). Recognizing the importance of marine and coastal biodiversity in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be critical to Parties’ efforts to implement the Framework through participatory and equitable conservation, and management measures. As a major contributor to global food security, sustainable livelihoods and well-being, small-scale fisheries and their dependent Indigenous People and Local Communities (IPLC) are fundamental to achieving the post-2020 framework.

Accordingly, actions to conserve and sustainably use marine and coastal biodiversity should be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), promoting a human rights-based approach. This should inform the proposed review of the Convention’s programme of work on marine and coastal biodiversity, whether in the use of marine spatial planning or steps to mitigate anthropogenic underwater noise, marine debris and litter. This is equally relevant to the identification and modification of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSA); and the application of area-based conservation measures.

It is important to recognize IPLC traditional knowledge and actions towards conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity that is the basis of their lives and livelihoods. Community-based management and participatory governance, which protect legitimate tenure rights to aquatic and terrestrial resources, will enhance conservation efforts and be an incentive to sustainable practices. To this end, the principle of free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) of IPLCs needs to apply to all relevant traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of these communities.

While unsustainable fishing should be addressed by the CBD, other threats and pressures that undermine the ocean’s capacity to support ecosystem services and traditional sustainable use by IPLCs are also to be addressed. This includes the application of ecosystem and precautionary approaches to seabed mining, geo-engineering and other proposed activities in marine areas under national jurisdiction.

The Convention should urge other competent intergovernmental organizations with a mandate to conserve marine biodiversity areas beyond national jurisdiction to apply a precautionary approach to new technologies and industries.

ICSF welcomes the Convention’s collaboration with other UN agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and regional fishery bodies to support the implementation of the post-2020 framework with respect to marine and coastal biodiversity. To this end, we urge you to reinstate the dedicated target for sustainable management of marine living resources in the post-2020 framework, as suggested by several Parties, so as to continue the work of the Convention to achieve Aichi Target 6. In a spirit of collaboration, the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (the SSF Guidelines) are a valuable tool for achieving the goals and objectives of the CBD and the SDGs, consistent with a human-rights-based approach.

In this context, the FAO’s monitoring of SDG 14.b (provide access of small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets) will be relevant to the new biodiversity framework. Adopting a human-rights-based approach in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and in all processes of the Convention will ensure that marine and coastal biodiversity is conserved and small-scale fishery IPLCs—often vulnerable communities—are effectively protected from dispossession, impoverishment and marginalization.

Read the full statement here: