Global biodiversity mechanisms: a thematic review of recent developments and future evidence needs

20 May 2009, London


Economic events of the last nine months have highlighted the extent to which activities in one country now affect many others.  Yet such globalisation has long been apparent to those involved with environmental conservation, with the seminal UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972) bringing global ecological inter-dependence into mainstream political and public awareness.  Since that time, multiple international environmental treaties have been developed to enhance international co-operation and to co-ordinate national responses to international environmental issues.



In 2008, there were many different meetings of the governance bodies of the major multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAs).  These included those of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), the IUCN World Conservation Congress and other smaller, or regional meetings.  The UK1 played an active part in all these meetings.


“Global Biodiversity Mechanisms” was a one day conference organised by JNCC that aimed to review and reflect on recent MEA outcomes in support of the process of implementation of UK obligations under these.  But, rather than reviewing the Convention meetings one by one, a thematic approach was taken, thus facilitating consistency in developing evidence needs and policy responses.  Each of the following themes was addressed:


  • tackling the threats from invasive alien species and emerging wildlife diseases (such as highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1);
  • the impacts of climate change and biodiversity, including implications of expanding markets for biofuels;
  • implementing the Ecosystem Approach and better understanding the services provided to humanity by ecosystems;
  • how best to support the delivery of conservation in the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – home to globally important biodiversity; and
  • the science-policy interface - what evidence do decision-makers need and how can this best be provided?

The conference comprised presentations on a number of cross-cutting themes, followed by a series of parallel workshops which gave an opportunity for detailed discussion of outcomes, implications for the UK and areas where UK may particularly wish to further contribute to relevant international processes.


The presentations at the conference, the outcome of the various workshops and plenary discussions, and briefing material on the various themes and the outcome of recent MEA meetings are available [below]. 



Download: Summary of Conference Proceedings


Presentations and workshop reports




Presentation / report

Aims of the day


Marcus Yeo, Director of Policy & Resources, JNCC

Presentation (PDF, 197 kb)


Thematic feedback from Conventions




Climate change and biodiversity


Colin Galbraith, Science Director, Scottish Natural Heritage

Presentation (PDF, 1.6 mb)



Jessica Magnus, Policy Adviser, JNCC

Presentation (PDF, 515 kb)

Invasive alien species & wildlife diseases


David Stroud, Senior Ornithological Adviser, & Jessa Battersby, Head of European Programme, JNCC

Presentation (PDF, 1.8 mb)

Ecosystem approach


Diana Mortimer, Head of Sustainability Advice, JNCC

Presentation (PDF, 1.5 kb)

Science-policy interface


Andy Stott, Director of Science, JNCC

Presentation (PDF, 500 kb)


Working groups





Climate change


Marcus Yeo

Summary (PDF, 58 kb)

Workshop report (PDF, 101 kb)



Kieran Power, Bio-energy and Renewable Materials Team , DECC

Summary (PDF, 26 kb)

Workshop report (PDF, 101 kb)

Invasive alien species and wildlife diseases


Ruth Cromie, Head of Wildlife Health, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Summary (PDF, 60 kb)

Workshop report (PDF, 101 kb)

Ecosystem approach   


Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Convention

Summary (PDF, 60 kb)

Workshop report (PDF, 101 kb)

Island issues, especially OTs & CDs


Jack Ward, Director of Department of Conservation Services, Government of Bermuda

Summary (PDF, 59 kb)

Workshop report (PDF, 101 kb)

Final plenary


Martin Brasher, head of Wildlife, Habitats and Biodiversity, Defra

Summary Report (PDF, 95 kb)


Download event programme

Download combined thematic and MEA briefings and information papers

Download thematic briefings

Download briefings on recent activities of each MEA

Download information papers


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1UK includes its devolved administrations and its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies