EU-Japan Dialogue – Tokyo

EU-Japan Dialogue
As international discussions on post- 2020 biodiversity governance progress, the question of ambition remains key. In order to achieve the 2050 Vision, the outcomes of COP15 should help increase action on the drivers of biodiversity loss, increase accountability, and help build broader support for biodiversity.

On the road to CBD COP15, many political and technical issues remain to be addressed to develop the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
The recent key messages of the IPBES’ summary for policymakers highlight the crucial need for transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors not only for biodiversity but also for sustainability purposes for present and next generations. The underlying and crosscutting question of ambition is, however, conditioning much of the other discussions. This is because it affects both the substance (what problems to focus on, what goals to be pursued in priority in the post-2020 framework?), the tools to implement this vision (strengthening existing tools, and how, but also to imagining new ones – with an innovative spirit), the mobilization of state and non-state actors and the search for funding and resources.

On 16 and 17 May 2019, in Tokyo, a dialogue co-organized by the European Commission and the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, was the occasion to share perspectives on these issues, including perspectives from negotiators, business, NGOs representatives, and experts from the United Nations University.

What could the post-2020 ambition be? A strong emphasis needs to be put on sustainable use of biodiversity everywhere and on addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss, accompanied with reinforced area-based measures, strong accountability mechanisms, and concrete commitments of all non-state actors concerned by actual transformative changes.

The Paris agreement on climate, besides long-term temperature goal, contains an ambitious goal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions: the goal of “carbon neutrality” in the second half of the 21st century, which provides a strong impetus to conserve ecosystems.
Strengthening cooperation among the biodiversity-related conventions, between the Rio conventions, and with the convention directly dealing with issues that constitute pressures on biodiversity could help biodiversity issues have more weight in domestic arbitrations.

The main ambitions that were discussed were:

  1. Developing a framework to achieve the P2020 vision
  2. Increasing commitments and accountability
  3. Mobilizing actors, resources and finances


These discussions will require broader support to help biodiversity actors gain in influence. Here, besides non-state actors and political champions, there are also synergies to be built within environmental and sustainable development’s governance. The post-2020 ambition must be coherent, shared with or embeddable within other arenas such as the SDGs, and efforts in this direction should be pursued and enhanced.