CBD COP15 – Part 1

Kick off with worldwide ambitious commitments at CBD COP15 Part 1

The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) takes place in two parts: virtually from 11 to 15 October 2021 with a High-Level Segment and face-to-face in Kunming, China from 25 April to 8 May 2022, when Parties will meet to conclude negotiations and decide on a new post2020 global biodiversity framework.

Commitments & Pledges, Transformative change.

The main objective of the Conference is to adopt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Draft One of the framework, released in July 2021, builds on lessons learnt from the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. It recognizes that urgent policy action globally, regionally, and nationally is required to transform economic, social, and financial models so the trends that have exacerbated biodiversity loss will stabilize by 2030 and allow for the recovery of natural ecosystems, with net improvements by 2050.

After extensive consultations, and with the view to provide political momentum for the preparations of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, a decision has been made to convene the meetings in two parts.

This will allow time for continued negotiations on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Part 1 happened the week of the 11th of October in Beijing and virtually and brought Parties to the CBD together to build momentum for a robust and transformative post2020 framework.

COP15 Opening

The opening of the first part of the CBD COP15 began with the handover from the Egyptian presidency of COP14 to the Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment, Mr. Huang Runqiu.
It followed with fourteen other statements from the UNEP and CBD Secretariat, the GRULAC, the Central and Eastern European Region, the JUSSCANNZ group, individual Parties, and various NGOs such as ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN). All these Parties and stakeholders insisted on the criticality of conservation and sustainable use of coordination and cooperation to address the interlinked matters of biodiversity erosion, climate change and worldwide health.

The global biodiversity framework will provide the rulebook to address land & sea use change, enhance conservation & restoration, mitigate climate change, address invasive alien species & prevent exploitation.Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability notably underlined the important role of cities and local actors for biodiversity, by fostering a global inspiration and leading a transformative change in the field. They highlighted the development of the Edinburgh Declaration, through which more than 180 local and national governments committed to act for biodiversity, by contributing to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and by creating a worldwide network of leaders for nature conservation.

Land, the entry point to UNCCD is a glue that binds together all sectors. Land restoration is one of the most critical actions we can take to fight climate change, pollution, biodiversity.Ibrahim Thiaw UNCCD

GYBN reminded us of the necessity to act at the roots of biodiversity loss, and called for a worldwide change of all our societies and economies. They expressed the hopes and dreams of the new generations for a just, equitable and sustainable future. They asked for more intergenerational equity, and true participation of all, including children and youth, Indigenous peoples, local communities, and women. They demanded that the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework would break the current logics of developing policies in silos, and to take ambitious action to build a resilient and ecological civilization, for the current generations and the ones to come.

High-Level Segment Day 1

The second day of the first part of the CBD COP15 consisted of a Leader’s Summit and a High-Level Segment at ministerial level.

During the Leader’s Summit, worldwide leaders from China, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, France, Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea and the UK took the floor to express their support towards the COP15 negotiation process and their ambition for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Amongst all these statements, China proposed the concept of Ecological Civilization as a guide within the negotiations and the implementation of the future framework. Russia reminded us of the current negative impacts of human activities – notably technology and industry development – on nature and climate, and called for collaboration with all Parties to preserve our common habitat. France, as a leader of the climate negotiations, underlined the positive effects of biodiversity conservation on climate regulation. Costa Rica supported an ambitious and transformative framework, and highlighted the progresses of the High Ambition Coallition for Nature and People (HAC) that gathers over than 72 countries in taking commitments for protecting 30% of total land and marine areas by 2030. He also reminded us of the importance of Indigenous People and Local Communities in the global efforts to protect nature, as they are among the first holders and managers of natural areas. The United Kingdom also supported the ambition 30×30 from the HAC and, by reminding us of all the services provided by nature to our economies and livelihoods, called for the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions at the heart of our supply chains, at home and abroad.

Finally, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres closed the deliberations by raising its concerns regarding the current biosphere destruction, reminding us of the impact of nature loss on developing countries and local communities, underlined the rising and strong voice of Youth for a sustainable future for all, and called worldwide leaders for a bold ambition for our future and the future of generations to come.

Biodiversity is not a risk, it is a certainty and it is already here. The financial community must have clear guidelines to align financial flows. Yes, WE ARE calling for more regulations.Finance for Biodiversity Initiative

The High-Level Segment, gathering ministers from all over the worlds, opened by a statement from the UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen and CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, who both called for a reform of our economies towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns, for social justice and collaboration with local communities, for concrete actions and great political will to put biodiversity on a path to recovery.
Then, the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), Ms. Anne Larigauderie recalled some conclusions for the last IPBES global assessments and underlined the need for transformative change, by putting biodiversity at every centre of human activity in all sectors.
The High-Level Segment pursued with discussions on three main topics, animated by three different panelists of experts and representatives from worldwide institutions such as UN agencies, the World Bank, the GEF, the IUCN, and the IWC:

  • What ecological civilization means for food, health, jobs, trade, and education?
  • Aligning finance and building capacity to achieve ecological civilization.
  • Promoting synergistic action for biodiversity, climate, land, and oceans.

Finally, the COP15 president handed the floor to GYBN, who called once again for urgent and transformative action, in all communities, everywhere, for the current and the coming generations.

The scale of the deficit of financing in terms of biodiversity requires urgent action both at natural and international levels.Barbara Pompili, Minister of France at the Closing Plenary of the High-Level Segment

The ministerial discussions then began on two parallel roundtable discussions. The first one, addressing the question of “Putting Biodiversity on a Path to Recovery”, saw many ministers support the 30×30 target of the HAC, and individual Parties gave inspiring examples of how their own national action plans contribute to the preservation of biodiversity as well as other environmental agendas. The second roundtable, on the topic of “Closing the Financing Gap and Ensuring Means of Implementation”, addressed the mobilization of resources for the implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Ministers discussed the value of ecosystem services and the potential accountability of natural capital in national and international financial systems. They also discussed the need for additional support towards developing countries, and discussed financial mechanisms to effectively implement the framework.

In this moment when history has its eyes on us, this moment will be remembered, for better or for worse. What will we think when we look back at this moment? Were we ambitious enough? Were we brave enough? Were we courageous?Swetha Stotra Bhashyam, GYBN

Day 2 and round tables

On the second day of the High-Level Segment, two additional roundtable occurred in parallel, following the same organization as the day before.

The first roundtable, discussing “Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development”, focused on the interlinkage between biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, and access and benefit-sharing, with global developing agendas and other environmental matters. Ministers were thus invited to debate how biodiversity related actions can be balanced with economical development, and can even contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The IPBES showcased many recent publications showing the deterioration of life on earth and human wellbeing, proving the need to shift towards a sustainable use of biodiversity for a true sustainable development of human communities. Government’s representative then exchanged their views on the potential of biodiversity solutions for global issues like climate mitigation, economic recovery from the pandemic or health security, and presented some of their national initiatives on biodiversity conservation.

In the second roundtable, entitled “Knowledge, Innovation and Benefit Sharing”, participants focused on the equitable sharing of all benefits from biodiversity knowledge, technologies and innovations. Technical experts and ministers discussed the importance of technology transfer and capacity building, along with data sharing, for the success of the Global Biodiversity Framework. They underlined the particular importance of traditional knowledge held by Indigenous People and Local Communities, the stakes of sharing equitably the benefits from biodiversity, and the need to cooperate at all levels between governments, with local communities, and with the public by raising awareness for biodiversity protection.

During the closing plenary of the High-Level Segment, the Parties adopted  the Kunming Declaration,which had been commented and amended by Parties and observers during the weeks before the COP. This political statement confirmed the ambition of its signatories to act for biodiversity conservation, notably by developing and implementing an ambitious Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in decision-making, and strengthen their actions and resource mobilization to achieve the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. On the road to the second part of COP15, this text is a tool to keep the momentum and raise awareness for the necessity to achieve an ambitious agreement at a global level.

Besides this declaration, some Parties took the opportunity to underline some weaknesses in the current implementation of the CBD agreements. Costa Rica underlined the need for adequate means of implementation, especially after the covid-19 crisis. The European Union reminded the failure of the Aichi targets and the need for transformative change. The JUSCANZ group underlined the fact that ambition needs concrete implementation of policies in the field. And the African Group called for additional funds at international level, to reinforce capacity and to reverse biodiversity loss.
Through the intervention of various stakeholders, such as businesses and environmental NGOs, the alignment of financial flows and adequate sharing of benefits and technologies were also stated as critical for the success of the Post-2020 GBF. There were also calls to reinforce the participation of IPLCs in the whole process, and to ensure the protection of their human rights at the core of the future agreement.

 Closing of CBD COP15 Part 1

On Friday October 15th, the first part of the COP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity ended, as well as the MOP10 of the Cartagena Protocol of the Convention, and the MOP4 of the Nagoya Protocol.

During the closing ceremony, the Parties and observers received the conclusions of the forum on Ecological Civilization that was held the day before. The delegates of the Open-Ended Working Group, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) highlighted the progresses made during the negotiations and placed the next meetings of January 2022 in Geneva as key events for the elaboration of an ambitious Post-2020 GBF.

During the closing statements, China confirmed its intention to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, providing it with 1.5 billion yuan, to support biodiversity conservation in developing countries. The UK also pledged to give £200,000 to the Special Voluntary Trust Fund, to facilitate the participation of developing countries into the process of the CDB. The UK also reminded the Parties of the coming COP26 of the UNFCCC in Glasgow, and recognized the huge responsibility of worldwide leaders on achieving a truly transformative change to meet the many environmental challenges occurring today.
Finally, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema thanked China for the organization of the first part of the COP, and underlined three main components for the success of the GBF: addressing all drivers of biodiversity loss, committing to adequate financial means, and ensuring an accurate measurement of progress on goals and targets.

The COP15 President Huang Runqiu then felicitated all Parties and stakeholders for the progresses made so far, and encouraged all to work together for the success of the future Global Biodiversity Framework.

More information on Part 1 here.

Check out CBD documents here.

Read Kunming Declaration here.

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