[T]he global gene pool, the atmosphere, the climate system and the oceans beyond national jurisdiction are major examples of global commons. Transboundary ecosystems and water catchments are examples at the regional level. Their sustainable management represents one of the toughest challenges, both for science and for governance. Through two closely interlinked sessions, we will showcase the most recent scientific thinking on global environmental benefits, in terms of their functioning, current status and trends, and then analyse how this science can best inform action to enhance the sustainability of the global commons, particularly those actions mobilized or catalyzed by the Global Environmental Facility. On the basis of the best of cutting edge science, and of failure and success cases, this session will focus on how to strengthen these pathways to face on-going and future complex socio-ecological challenges. The panel discussion will focus on two themes, outlined further below.
The science of global environmental benefits
This will focus on the latest scientific thinking on the global commons, including biodiversity, the oceans, and climate. What are the knowledge gaps, synergies, conflicts, trade-offs in relation to the global commons? What are the drivers behind them? What is the public perception of them? How action at the national jurisdiction can address the major drivers/root causes and solutions of degradation in global commons? What sort of protective measures and institutions could be envisioned that are likely to work, on the basis of previous experiences?
This will focus on how the knowledge base outlined above can best inform action, in particularly that of GEF. The GEF is the world's leading source of funding in support of the global environment. Its mission includes ensuring that support channeled by it are targeted towards achieving global environment benefits, including the preservation of the climate system, the atmosphere, the waters beyond national jurisdiction and the global biodiversity. On the one hand, the best available scientific and technical knowledge and evidence-based research is essential to fully realize this mission. On the other, the results of GEF-supported projects can make an important contribution to science through the generation of data, lessons, and learning. Both pathways are essential, but require different mechanisms, which will be explored in this session.
London | March 2012