The Biosphere Ethics Initiative (BEI) launch and workshop took place on Thursday, October 21, from 1:15pm to 2:45pm during the first week of CBD COP10.
The panelists were Sheila Abed, Chair of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and President of the Institute of Environmental Law and Economics (IDEA), Vincent Graffin, Vice President of the IUCN French Committee and Delegate from the Paris Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle; Thomas Greiber, Senior Legal Officer of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre and Kathryn Kintzele, Co-Chair of the Biosphere Ethics Initiative, Deputy Chair of the IUCN CEL Ethics Specialist Group and Director of the Global program at the Center for Humans and Nature.
Sheila Abed opened the side event by providing background information on the Commission. She also commented on the role of the Biosphere Ethics Initiative project in the Commission; its relevance and overarching goal, which is to develop and advance a living soft law programme of practical conservation ethics, with foundational principles applicable to everyone, yet workable to be region‐specific.
Kathryn Kintzele followed by providing more details on the initiative’s background and an overview of the Relato process, and the connections with the CBD. She emphasized on the Indiana Dunes Relato, which is the most recent one and shared the key themes.
Thomas Greiber continued with the Rights Based Approach to Conservation Portal. He explained the relationship between rights and conservation and how these can mutually influence each other. He also spoke about the challenges to the development of an RBA to Conservation and explained that since this is a cross cutting issue there are many different stakeholders. The aims of the portal are to further develop the articles, case studies and discussion on the matter. The idea is to collect and share information, bringing people and partners together. The basic idea is to provide a “one-stop shop” building at the same time an interactive community through some kind of “Wiki-technology”. The Conservation Portal also allows opportunities for capacity building and collaboration.
Vincent Graffin spoke about the implementation of the BEI and gave an insight into the meeting held in Paris, its outcomes, and steps to be taken in order to incorporate the BEI into Muséum projects. Vincent also talked about the partners and the key roles these are playing in the initiative.
The topic of Bioethics had great prominence during the COP. The fact that Achim Steiner himself spoke about the importance of ethics in his inaugurational speech emphasised the relevance of what we are doing and achieving in this field.
The floor was then opened for questions and discussions.