International Development Law Organization

Connecting the dots across the SDGs: Lessons learned in biodiversity mainstreaming

“Overcoming environmental destruction is an act of justice”, said Helene Molinier, IDLO’s Program Manager of Strategic Initiatives, at the opening of Connecting the Dots Across the SDGs: Lessons in Biodiversity Mainstreaming. The workshop was convened at IDLO’s office in The Hague with the aim of discussing recent major advances in global agendas on the themes of environmental sustainability and law.

In attendance were biodiversity experts, legal and human rights professionals, climate specialists, government representatives, economists, members of civil society and academics. The diversity of the group reflected one of the main goals of the day: to spark a dialogue across sectors and encourage new innovations for biodiversity mainstreaming.

While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) framework has recognized that environmental issues are man-made, IDLO maintains that solutions are still needed, particularly from a rule of law perspective. As different sectors start to acknowledge the importance of environmental issues, global development agendas are increasingly bringing biodiversity into mainstream discussions.

In the spirit of sharing lessons, developing partnerships and improving communication across sectors, several examples were presented ranging from gender mainstreaming strategies and economic approaches to human rights and rule of law initiatives.

Ms. Soo-Young Hwang, a Human Rights Officer at OHCHR remarked that ‘although there are practical difficulties with addressing biodiversity from a human rights perspective, linkages can be made even in the absence of formal references to biodiversity in human rights law. Human rights approaches provide concrete principles and can help gain political traction for biodiversity issues.’

The plenary session addressed ways to identify the laws and justice tools needed to improve environmental sustainability, as well as the biodiversity implications in Goal 16 of the SDG’s.

“[It is] not just about good laws, but strong institutions, access to justice [and] leadership,” continued Helene Molinier.

In discussion, participants brainstormed potential points of entry for promoting biodiversity, through entrepreneurship, land laws, legal frameworks, and even engaging criminal courts to treat offenses against biodiversity as a violation of fundamental human rights.

Conclusions from the workshop urged experts to develop cross-cutting frameworks, identify synergies, and employ both top-down and bottom-up approaches in order to achieve inter-linked goals across the 2030 Agenda.

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