Geneva Executive Briefing on the United Nations Biodiversity Conference
This Executive Briefing on the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, taking place in Montreal, Canada, from 7 to 19 December 2022, was held within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network and provided various perspectives on the preparations and what is expected to be achieved.
About this Session
This briefing focused on the preparations for the second part of the UN Biodiversity Conference (Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP-MOP 10), and the Fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (NP-MOP 4)), taking place in Montreal, Canada, from 7 to 19 December 2022.
The Conference is expected to adopt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The framework provides a strategic vision and a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade.
As humanity is facing the intertwined triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, pollution, collaborative action is needed from all sides of society to restore harmony with nature and foster a transition to sustainable socio-economic systems. The adoption of the global biodiversity framework is an important step to commit to action that protects nature. Biodiversity and nature conservation is mainstreamed in the multilateral activities of international Geneva, home to some of the key institutions that actively contribute in setting the global agenda to tackle the biodiversity crisis.
This event, to be held a few days ahead of the Conference, and as follow-up to the meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Wetlands, the Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, provided updates on the preparations of this important event and the perspectives from the Geneva Biodiversity Cluster.
By order of intervention.
Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
Basile VAN HAVRE
Co-Chair, CBD Open-Ended Working Group for a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework | Environment and Climate Change, Canada
Co-Chair, CBD Open-Ended Working Group for a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework | Natural Resources Manager, National Environment Management Authority, Uganda
Deputy Secretary General, Convention on Wetlands
Chief, Science Unit, CITES
Sonia PEÑA MORENO
Director, International Policy Centre, IUCN
Director General, WWF International
Executive Director, Business for Nature
Senior Policy Advisor, International Affairs Division, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland
Director a.i., Europe Office, UNEP | Moderator
Sylvie MOTARD | Director a.i., Europe Office, UNEP
During the past month, environmental negotiators and stakeholders have been extremely busy with:
- The Conference of the parties to the Convention of Wetlands (COP14), Geneva;
- The Conference of the parties to the Convention of Climate Change (COP27), Egypt;
- The Conference of the parties to the Convention of International Trading and Dangerous Species of Wildfire and Flora (COP19), Panama.
All those meetings are linked to the next highlight of this year. In a few days from now in Montreal, contracting parties will meet for the second part of a UN Biodiversity Conference, which includes the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity so-called COP15 to the Convention of Biological Diversity.
The Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits. This conference happens at a very crucial moment and is expected to adopt a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The framework provides a strategic vision and a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem.
Humanity is facing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature, and biodiversity loss, and collaborative action will be needed from our side of society to restore harmony with nature and foster a transition to sustainable socioeconomic systems. Thus, the adoption of a global biodiversity framework is a crucial step towards ensuring that nature is protected. International Geneva is home to some of the key institutions that actively contribute to setting the global agenda to combat the biodiversity crisis. The multilateral activities of international Geneva mainstream nature conservation and biodiversity.
This session will provide updates on the preparations for this event and the perspective from the Geneva Biodiversity cluster. Furthermore, other communities from International Geneva have been actively preparing the UN Biodiversity Conference, including human rights, finance, trade, and disaster risk reduction.
Update on Preparations for the UN Biodiversity Conference
Elizabeth MREMA | Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
I am pleased to see that I have been joined by other agency heads, civil society, and private sector representatives. We are facing a triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, which are all intimately related and cannot be effectively tackled separately. The current decade has been leveled as a decisive decade. This decade must be a decade of unified action. It is time to bring together the world commitment, including the Paris climate agreement, the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and the upcoming legally binding plastic pollution instrument.
So the time is now. We must work together to understand, to address, and to respond to this triple planetary crisis. The important work which has been done recently by the recently already completed :
- The Conference of the parties to the Convention of Wetlands (COP14), Geneva;
- The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire;
- The Conference of the parties to the Convention of International Trading and Dangerous Species of Wildfire and Flora (COP19), Panama;
- The Conference of the parties to the Convention of Climate Change (COP27), Egypt;
- The ongoing negotiations for the adoption of a global treaty on plastic in Uruguay;
- And all leading as we complete the year to really continue that momentum and progress.
The members of the Geneva Biodiversity Cluster really stand uniquely positioned to provide the leadership during and after months of this Conference of the Parties, and this briefing session presents that important opportunity for sharing the perspectives and updates on the ongoing preparation. Our Conference of the Parties is actually a tripartite conference, with:
- The 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity,
- The Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,
- The Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits.
But this confidence in all these meetings will be preceded by the Fifth Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The Open-ended Working Group is tasked with finalizing the preparation of the revision of the Global Biodiversity Framework, a primary outcome for consideration and adoption at COP15, among other decisions to be taken at the same meeting.
The awakening is informed by the outcomes of the recently held informal group convened here in Montreal during the last week of September, and this meeting was able to produce a streamlined, coherent text based on the draft framework produced during the fourth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group held in Nairobi in June. In addition to the consideration of the draft text of the framework, the Conference of the Parties will also consider draft decisions recommended by the Convention subsidiary bodies, namely the Subsidiary Body on Science and another one on Implementation, respectively, which both met in Geneva in March 2022. Some of the decisions to be negotiated provide guidance for the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework, for instance:
- Resource mobilization strategy,
- Digital sequencing,
- Information for genetic resources,
- Plan of action for capacity building,
- Technical and scientific cooperation,
- Technology transfer,
- Knowledge management,
Other decisions to be adopted include:
- Gender plan of action,
- A communication strategy,
- An action plan for the long term approach to mainstreaming,
Decisions related to a range of scientific issues, including
- Marine biodiversity,
- Invasive alien species,
For all partners joining here, your leadership, your commitment are required as we head into the negotiations of the open-ended working group and soon after the COP itself. It is now time for country delegates to finalize the negotiations of this framework in order to enable its adoption at the COP. We call all those of you who will be present here in Montreal to come with strong mandate not only to ensure your views are carried through the negotiations, but also at the same time to enable the rest of the negotiations to find consensus, compromises and solutions.
We count on your support to conclude the process of the global Biodiversity framework and really shape the outcomes of the COP15 and we call on you all to engage with your counterparts across the civil society and private sector with a view to generating that collective will to implement the framework. Once it is adopted, the framework will be a blueprint for action pillar of socioeconomic recovery to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity, to achieve the SDGs and to achieve our 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature.
So we must all play our part as we head to this final period for the global biodiversity and let us all ensure that the framework translates into opportunities that lift and support people in nature everywhere. This is our time to make the changes needed.
Update on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
Basile VAN HAVRE | Co-Chair, CBD Open-Ended Working Group for a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, Canada
Process for developing the GBF
Timeline: Zoom on WG2020-5 and COP-15.2
The OEWG4 was held in Nairobi in June. The draft was to be reviewed by an informal group. The text was simplified, half the brackets were removed, and a quarter of the lens removed, and this is what will be discussed in the fifth meeting. The work of simplification will continue with the aim of delivering to ministers a draft with ideally no brackets.
Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
We’ve talked about the Wetland Convention around land and sea use change, we’ve talked about the CITES that just took place. But let’s focus on what we’re trying to influence here, which is in between the current states and the vision.
We’re defining some goals as part of the GBF that are measurable expressions of the vision in time of outcome. What are we trying to achieve here and behind those frameless targets? This is all within the context of means of implementation, enabling environment, and this very important, more robust planning and reporting system, which we call responsibility and transparency.
Target 3: 30×30
A few words about 30×30. Although it is an important target, it should not be considered in isolation. This should be considered along with targets one and three regarding land use planning, restoration, and conservation of wildlands.
- Important to look at targets 1-3 as a group
- Land and sea-use planning, ecosystem restoration and conservation implemented together will give the best results
- Implementing 30×30 on its own will not allow us to achieve the Mission of halting and reversing biodiversity loss
- We need to address all direct drivers of biodiversity loss
- 30×30 is a global target
We want to leave you with one key message: 30×30 is an important target, but it is not critical, nor is it sufficient. We need to address in a balanced way all of the drivers of biodiversity loss and then finally it is a global target. Everybody recognized that they will have different capacity to implement the targets according to national circumstances.
Climate change in the context of the GBF
Equally, at COP27 recently in Egypt, but COP26 in Glasgow, there was a recognition of the links the episode Climate change as one of the direct drivers and the IPCC as well as identified that safeguarding environment is a fundamental tool to address climate mitigation and adaptation.
- UNFCCC COPs (26&27): recognition of links between climate change and biodiversity.
- IPBES identified climate change as one of the direct drivers of biodiversity loss.
- Clear co-benefits between UNFCCC and CBD.
- The IPCC AR6 Working Group II highlighted that safeguarding biodiversity is fundamental to climate resilient development
- With respect to the issues in negotiation at the two COPs, aspects pertaining to financing, transparency, monitoring and reporting are similar in scope.
3 top issues will be negotiated jointly
Three issues coming up will need to be negotiated together. There is the issue of ambition and the notion of a balanced approach to the five drivers, but that has to be negotiated along with the resource, which is the financial resources, as well as transparency and responsibility. Those are the three great negotiations we see taking place through the opponent, working group five, and the COP.
- Resource Capacity
- Financial resources, agreeing on needs, scale… Accepting new paradigm
- Transparency & Responsibility
- A new & more robust model mixing global and national data
- Agreeing on schedule and performance indicators
- Actions (Targets)
- Balanced action on all drivers of biodiversity loss… not just 30×30
- Numerical targets
Linkages to Climate, Pollution and others
This is a group where we will be able to talk about how values work together very easily. As a result, this is not an isolated convention, but a convention that works with other instruments, others to achieve a collective goal. Thus, we saw at COP26 the importance of conservation and protection, as well as the phasing out of oil and gas subsidies. This will be a very important contribution to the biodiversity agenda. A few months later, we move on to the WTO decision on fishery subsidies, which is yet another great contribution to our work, and then on to UNFCCC COP27, which is another contribution, and finally, COP15 contribution to global agendas. Will it be on agricultural transformation, will it be on phasing out negative subsidies and particularly in the sector?
3. The road to COP 15.2
The informal group was mandated to address clearance redundancy, consistency, and communication ease. The group was not a negotiation group, and we have been very clear about that. This was kind of a technical mandate to do a simplification of the text and there was plenty of work to be done with that. There were five representatives in the region, and one thing we’ve asked is that the region reflect the breadth of views. This is a text you can actually read and hopefully some of you will, and definitely the recommendation will be to the Open-Ended Working Group to use that text and to use it in their deliberation.
- Reviewing the text from WG2020-4 to address coherence, redundancies, consistency, and ease of communication;
- Identifying potential technical solutions;
- Providing technical analysis of options for ways forward, including proposals for streamlined text;
- The mandate of the IG excluded negotiating the text.
- Regionally balanced (five representatives from each region), aiming to reflect the various views expressed during meetings of the Working Group;
- Proposed streamlined text (IG draft):
- The streamlined text is easier to read and the different options/points of divergence are more clearly visible
- The streamlined text is about 25% shorter and has about half the number of brackets
- For practical reasons, Parties and stakeholders are encouraged to work on the basis of the IG draft
- Parties may re-introduce some elements of language from the WG2020-4 draft, if deemed necessary, but without overburdening the IG text
WG2020-5 Organization of Work
What’s going to happen at the Open-Ended Working Group Five? We will try to work as much as we can in contact group. We will priorize the elements that were not discussed in the hobby. There is not much time to discuss these three priorities, but we can probably fill up the time with them, which means that a number of elements, targets, and sections will be discussed later. You can find a scenario note that provides details on your support and engagement.
- Very short plenaries
- Maximized time in Contact groups (no more than two at a time)
- Prioritizing elements that:
- Were not discussed at WG2020-4
- Are not entirely dependent on draft decisions from SBSTTA/SBI (as is section J)
- Have best potential for resolution
- Some elements may be agreed on at OEWG5 and negotiation will have to finalized at CoP:
- This could include Targets 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 18, 19.1, Goal D, Section J and Cop decision.
2. A scenario note describing the modalities of the WG2020-5 has been posted online
Call for Political Engagement and Support
We’re trying to build a different framework over the last few months and years, one that’s for the whole society. As well, I am very pleased to see a large number of private sector representatives on this call and in Montreal. As a whole, the private sector is very large and diverse, and it basically pushes us forward in terms of ambition. We are very grateful for that. Then we will try to replicate that across ministries and across governments and everybody is helpful that is welcome. As a region, our role is very important, and some regions that have been less active in the past, particularly Pacific island states, are now very, very active.
- We call upon all to support the process and maintain the momentum until an ambitious and transformative framework is adopted at COP-15.2
- Whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach are crucial
- Opportunities for mainstreaming across ministries and sectors – e.g. business and finance sectors
- Influence of all regions and stakeholders to spearhead political attention towards the achievement of the three objectives of the Convention
We cannot afford to remain stagnant in the process. A vigorous engagement among negotiators is needed – to listen to each other, to seek consensus – in the lead-up to COP-15.2.
The GBF in the MEAs’ context
In the past, I have spoken about the vision of having representatives from all parts of civil society on stage at the end. All the conventions in this world play an important role.
- Considering the need to better address drivers of biodiversity loss.
- It will be important to engage all sectors and stakeholder in implementation.
- The GBF will need to be implemented in a complementary manner with other global processes of key importance .
- Synergizing the different MEAs work will be of utmost importance in the implementation stage.
Perspectives from the Geneva Biodiversity Cluster
From Wetlands Convention COP14 to the UN Biodiversity Conference | Jay ALDOUS, Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Perspectives of the Wetlands Convention on opportunities for synergies
COP14 saw the adoption of Resolution 18.8 on enhancing the Convention’s visibility and synergies with other MEAs and other international institutions. There is clear language encouraging Parties to continue to establish and strengthen mechanisms to enhance effective coordination to support the mainstreaming of wetland ecosystem functions and services provided to people and nature in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).
- NBSAPs. The resolution urges MEA focal points to promote synergies through national biodiversity working groups, relevant measures in NBSAPs, harmonized national knowledge management and national reporting. If our collective aim is to have a GBF be a common unifying framework that leverages relevant conventions with NBSAPs as a means it can be operationalized, then NBSAPs have to build upon and incorporate other relevant national strategies.NBSAPs need to be developed with a whole-of-government approach with the support and approval across ministries.
- Encouragement of national focal points to the Convention on Wetlands to increase efforts to coordinate with the Rio Conventions, other MEAs and contracting Parties of the CBD to enable the recognition of wetlands in the goals, targets and indicators of the GBF, and the importance of Ramsar sites for implementing the post-2020 GBF.
- Request the Scientific and Technical Review of the Convention on Wetlands to engage with the CBD for the development of appropriate reflection of wetlands within the indicators and monitoring framework of the GBF.
It’s important that where existing indicators and reporting indicators exist, that they be utilized. We encourage Parties during the upcoming negotiations to explicitly make them a part of the GBF.
The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands remains hopeful that we will have a GBF that provides a common framework for all, that recognizes the importance of wetlands in the goals and targets, and that builds off existing instruments and tools to realize the synergies that the Parties to the Convention are seeking in the Resolution.
From CITES Convention COP19 to the UN Biodiversity Conference | David MORGAN, Chief, Science Unit, CITES
During the CBD COP4 in 1998, the CITES Secretary-General at the time spoke at the meeting to underline the need for close cooperation between CITES and CBD. In particular, they stressed that a key pillar of the upcoming CBD Strategic Plan should be cooperation with other MEAs.
When the CBD COP6 adopted its Strategic Plan for 2002-2010, it was nevertheless a strategic plan for the CBD. How things have changed since then. The 2011-2020 plan is for everybody to promote effective implementation of action on biodiversity by all partners and stakeholders. As no plan to secure biodiversity for the future can succeed without buy-in from all parts of society, this was a welcome development.
The CITES Secretariat has always believed that biodiversity is far too important to be left to biodiversity specialists. Consequently, we’re delighted to see the current draft of the GBF is participative, holistic, and inclusive.
We recognize the importance of the three pillars of biodiversity:
- Maintaining genetic biodiversity
- Species biodiversity
- Healthy, functioning ecosystems
Species are the currencies of CITES. Species are of great intrinsic value to many people, and as such hold a special place in people’s hearts. IPBES has reported that around a million species already face extinction, many within decades unless action is taken to reduce the drivers of biodiversity loss.
The global rate of species extinction is at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it’s averaged over the past 10 million years. The average abundance of native species in most major terrestrial biomes have fallen at least by 20% mostly since 1900, and maybe accelerating. It’s great to see species feature strongly in the current draft of the GBF.
Species are of great economic value as well. Trade, including trade in species, underpins human well-being, but we need to mend our relationship with nature in that regard. Since CITES entered into force, the human population on our planet has virtually doubled. The global economy has grown nearly four-fold. Global trade has grown tenfold. These are driving up demand for wild species used by humans. International trade has not been the cause of any species extinction since CITES came into force. CITES has restricted the adverse effects of trade and demonstrated that international trade in wildlife specimens has benefited both humans and species concerned.
These win-win examples need scaling up so that the implementation of the Convention is more than a damage limitation exercise, but can deliver a conservation and sustainable use combined. A number of goals, targets and indicators in the current draft of the GBF address this challenge.
The CITES Secretariat is an active member of the liaison group of biodiversity-related conventions (BLG), comprising the secretariats of the 8 major biodiversity-related conventions. We share the BLG’s objective urging the mandates and missions of our respective conventions are woven into the GBF vision, mission, goals and targets, including using the data and indicators we already have in place.
The GBF targets also need to reflect how other sectors can impact the aspects of biodiversity that fall within our responsibilities.
As a Secretariat, CITES has been asked by Parties to input to the negotiation process to strengthen the linkages between CITES and the framework. CITES is a small, but important part of the biodiversity jigsaw. But, to have a full picture, you need all the pieces together. We wish to see the Parties to the CBD wisdom, courage and success in their negotiations. We can assure that CITES and its Parties will play a full role in the negotiation and implementation of the new GBF.
From IUCN Congress to the UN Biodiversity Conference | Sonia PEÑA MORENO, Director, International Policy Centre, IUCN
Strong mandate from IUCN members
Members of the IUCN World Conservation Congress gave the Union a strong mandate to engage in the development and implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. As a first point, it is important to note that the Congress’ outcome document, the so-called Marseille Manifesto, commits to addressing the biodiversity and climate crises, as well as pursuing the coveted recovery.
“Halting biodiversity loss by committing to a transformative, effective and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework”
- Understanding transformed ecosystem better
- Committing to an ambitious, interconnected and effective site-based conservation network
- Mobilising partnerships to accelerate restoration
- Fostering effective conservation of species, ecosystem and genetic diversity
The Marseille resolutions
22 Resolutions related to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework were adopted by the Members Assembly under a wide variety of subjects. Those 22 resolutions provide the Union with its marching orders. In order to engage and accompany the process from beginning to end, resolutions can be clustered under several headings:
- Transformational change to humanity’s way of living
- Area-based conservation – protected areas and OECMs
- Restoration of degraded ecosystems
- Species conservation
- Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities
- Genetic diversity
- Strengthening finance, monitoring & planning
- Protecting threatened ecosystems…
One resolution stands out, and that’s resolution 116, entitled develop and implement a transformational and effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This is an umbrella resolution that outlines the scope and elements that the framework should include. For the benefit of humans and the planet, it calls on us all to take urgent action across societies and geographies to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
The IUCN Programme
IUCN calls on the Director General and all of IUCN to contribute to the development of the post- 2020 global biodiversity framework, and to fully support the global biodiversity framework once adopted through the implementation of the IUCN Programme 2021–2024 Nature 2030 and the Addendum.
Our economy and our society are dependent on nature, healthy ecosystems and biosphere. Through the Nature 2030 Programme, for the first time, the ambition is set in a decade timeframe. From 2021, when it was adopted, to 2030, it’s a call to action for the entire Union to work together to conserve life on this planet. This longerterm outlook ensures precisely alignment with the existing global commitments to conserve nature, including the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, as well as the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
IUCN is also committed to contribute to the Post-2020 Framework, its development, but also its implementation. We do not have time to loop and we do not have time to reach an agreement in Montreal on this Post-2020 framework. The perfect cannot be the enemy of the good. In order to list the nearly 1000 brackets or whatever number of brackets remain in the GPS text, we must find ways to bring us closer to a consensus or a middle ground. We need a balanced agreement that catalyzes the necessary action that is required to fight biodiversity loss and the crisis we’re facing.
The Civil Society Perspective | Marco LAMBERTINI, Director General, WWF International
We are approaching Montreal with a mix of excitement on one hand, but also anxiety on the other. Montreal could be either the Paris or the Copenhagen for nature. Paris wasn’t perfect as an outcome, but he did something absolutely critical that was missing at the time. It brought the world together around a clear direction, a clear global goal for climate, which, as we all know today, is beginning to rally consented effort towards reaching a carbon neutral society economy by 2050 through a net zero emission goal. That’s what Paris is remembered for : set the direction, sent the message to society, to the economy, to the markets, that that was the direction of climate. We need the Montreal COP15 to do the same for nature. So we have been missing that direction, measurable, clear, compelling for too long and that has led to a lot of actions in uncoordinated way. We need much more measurability all across the GBF and particularly we need clarity and measurability in the GBF 2030 mission. That’s why we and many others are advocating for a clear global goal for nature embedded in the mission that will drive the ambition across the whole of the GBF.
For nature, net zero loss is not enough. We know that we need to restore. We know that nature can come back. And we know that a mix of conservation and restoration and sustainable management it’s the formula that will help us address not just the issue of nature loss per se, but also all the connected social and economic challenges that we’re facing, from food security to water security. Nature today is understood as a major contribution to so much, so many dimensions of our life. And that’s a new cultural, almost a cultural evolution from taking Nietzsche for granted and exploiting it as sustainably as we’ve done at the end.
So, Montreal COP15, the GBF, particularly the mission, needs to really set that direction, send that strong signal. Everybody use the word ambition, but ambition honestly is a very subjective concept. What we need here is an ambition in the GBF, through the goals, the targets indicators, the mission actually is able to deliver the overall goal, a goal that is about halting and reversing nature loss by 2030 in order to move from a nature negative economy to a nature positive one.
I hear a lot of words about realistic balanced. I don’t hear words about courageous outcome, about a sciencebased outcome. This is what we need. There is no time to faffle around, there is no time to tweak around the edges. We need an agreement that sends a strong signal that drives a big transformation in our way of living. We’re producing, we’re consuming, or else we will continue to see initial loss continue until 2030 to a point where some inconsistency will reach, as you know, irreversible tipping points. So we urge the leaders to, particularly the ones who have until now committed publicly to a clear ambition, for example, endorsing a whole to reverse gold a nature positive goal by 2030, to stick to that ambition. Don’t let the consensus process to water it down. We need to find ways to bring, of course, everybody on the same page. But that page needs to be the right page of the journey that we need to deliver sustainability.
The Private Sector Perspective | Eva ZABEY, Executive Director, Business for Nature
The pressure is on. We have a long way to go. Biodiversity and nature loss are still a relatively new concept for businesses, but more are starting to understand their impacts and deep dependencies on nature because they are starting to understand the related risks and opportunities for business, the planet and people.
All businesses and financial institutions must contribute to a nature-positive world now. However, voluntary actions taking place now are fragmented and not enough. We need to use the strong lever of policy and policy ambition to scale up meaningful and impactful business action.
Going into COP15, the two messages I’d like to share today:
We need to ride the wave of exponential momentum in the business community. We have never seen this level of engagement in business and finance before. COP15 has been a hook for such engagement. Within the GBF, Target 15 is a concrete entry point for business and finance to understand their broader role in implementing the framework itself. 700 individuals from business and finance have registered to attend COP15, both in-person and online. This signals to policymakers that nature and biodiversity loss are becoming a more material issue for them.In a webinar held, 90% said that this is for them, their first CBD COP. This is an indication of the need for a bit of handholding to bring newcomers, and for them to give courage and comfort to negotiators that they want an ambitious and transformative framework, clear targets and goals they can contribute though. There’s a risk that after COP15, especially if the outcome falls short, nature will fall back down in the business and finance agenda. We cannot let this happen. Regardless of the outcome, we need a strong plan of action for business. We need a radical collaboration
We need to keep the ambition high through business leadership. Business for Nature is a global coalition of over 78 partner organisations, also working on technical negotiations. The technical document, built on consultation, goes into text recommendations and justifications. Three priorities include:
- Target 15. Make it mandatory for all business and financial institutions to assess and disclose their impacts and dependencies on nature. Over 330 companies support this message. Having it mandatory in the target will play a catalyst role as it will help the information flow throughout the accountability system. With existing frameworks available (Science-based targets for nature methodologies, Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, etc.), even though we are pushing for mandatory disclosure, this is just the beginning as companies can already use these. You cannot take meaningful action without understanding the impacts and dependencies you should be acting upon. We also support the numerical target to reduce negative impacts by at least 15%, and increase positive impacts by 2030.
- Target 18. Environmentally-harmful subsidies. We are pushing for a strong Target 18 building on new research stating that 1.8 trillion dollars each year unintentionally flows to subsidies that are harmful. There is massive opportunity of redirecting subsidies towards nature-positive outcomes, and business leaders understand this.
- Clear mission: halt and reverse nature and biodiversity loss by 2030, and nature-positive. We are very supportive of this as it sets the direction and urgency to act.
Leading businesses and financial institutions are calling for an ambitious framework that will transform the system that we are working on. A Paris-like agreement is what is needed to give the political certainty to invest, innovate and shift their business models.
Q: Where do the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities stand in the GBF?
Basile VAN HAVRE: This is a cross-cutting issue as it concerns every goal and target in the framework. The suggestion was to have a mention of this in the introductory section called “fundamental premises”, and will be repeated in a couple of targets.
There is also significant support for the mention of a human rights based approach to protection and conservation. We should see protection and conservation as both a challenge in countries where land tenure, among others, is an issue, and as an opportunity for reconciliation.
Elizabeth MREMA: They have been listened to, engaged throughout the process. This is one stakeholder group, where I think the co-chairs have went above and beyond the expectation, as the co-chairs have briefed IPLCs at each stage of the process. It is not surprising that the conclusion is the inclusion of IPLCs in each and every target through the introductory chapter.
Q: How is trade affecting biodiversity?
There are well-known negative impacts of some trade activities, but at the same time, science is also showing that trade is an essential tool to minimize the land and sea impact of productive activities. Reducing land and sea use means concentrating these in areas where they’re most productive, and trade allows to bring such products across the country.
The economic model that sustains trade reflects the cost of nature. Target 15 of the GBF (requirements that supply chains of large companies are sustainable) will be an essential tool.
Comments by Ivo MULDER, Head, Climate Finance Unit, UNEP
The UNEP Climate Finance Unit launched its State of Finance for Nature 2022 report, calling for more than doubling of investments into Nature-based Solutions. The report highlights that “Time is up”, while emphasizing on phasing out nature-negative public and private financial flows. COP15 is a major momentum. If we want to stay within the 1.5-degree warming target, turn around biodiversity loss, and restore land and seascape loss, the time for delay and inaction is over.
Good, ambitious and measurable GBF can provide this momentum. We hope the report can bring an impetus to make that happen.
Q: What is the importance of the links from one COP to another?
Basile VAN HAVRE: The outcome of COP27 will have a large and positive effect on COP15. In speaking with colleagues who worked on the loss and damage fund, there is a sense of trust in the community of delegates and in multilateral process. It situates us in a good point, as they came out of the negotiations with a sentiment of having been heard and being able to influence the process. We will try to capitalize the non-tangible elements of the negotiations.
Closing Remarks: On engaging with civil society movements
David MORGAN: We need to turn warm thoughts into action. We have a special attraction to species, but it doesn’t translate to action. As part of an ambitious GBF, we need a process of outreach to all stakeholders to do so. We need to bring everyone together and deliver what’s been put down on paper.
Eva ZABEY: We know we don’t have the methodologies and perfect solutions. But, we do know a lot. We need to build on the indigenous communities, conservation organizations, science organizations. We know what needs to happen. The GBF is only negotiated every 10 years. Even though we’re going into COP15 without a perfect set of plans, we’re in crisis management mode as we don’t have time.
Sonia PEÑA: Not just because considerations of cross-cutting issues (human rights, gender, indigenous peoples, synergies, etc.) are placed in the high-level principles that it automatically applies to all targets. Some targets in particular will have to deal with the discussion whether in the language of the target itself and indicators, they should include these high-level principles. With regards to IPLCs, it’s important to discuss where we should really place the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Perfection is the enemy of the good. We need to compromise somewhere without leaving ambition behind.
Niklaus WAGNER | Senior Policy Advisor, International Affairs Division, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland
This panel today is another example of the important role that Geneva based organisations and conventions play for the post-2020 GBF and is also testimony of Geneva as a global hub for global environmental policy. Even more so as this year, besides Ramsar COP-14 and other conferences also the important 3rd negotiation round for the GBF was hosted by Switzerland in Geneva. In this sense it was great that also Elisabeth and Basile were Geneva based, earlier this year.
The comments today made it clear that we need to adopt an ambitious post-2020 GBF with a strengthened implementation mechanism. We need to be more effective and more efficient in implementing measurable goals and targets and maximise the impact on the ground.
We have heard today many relevant points that were suggested to be considered to make the new framework a success. We have also heard that many relevant actors and organizations will play a critical role in supporting and contributing to the implementation of the framework, including, Civil Society, International Organizations and the private sector.
Allow me to highlight one element that Switzerland considers of particular importance for a successful implementation, which is the crucial role of biodiversity-related conventions including Ramsar and CITES. Basile and Jay Aldous and also David Morgan have already referred to the importance of synergies. As a party to the biodiversity related conventions, Switzerland is convinced, that even though the GBF is negotiated under the regime of the CBD, all relevant conventions have to make their specific contribution to the implementation of the goals and targets – within their respective mandates.
However, this requires that they are included in the development and implementation of the GBF. Switzerland had therefore invited to two workshops on this topic (Bern I and Bern II). The main aim of the Bern Process so far was to strengthen the involvement of Parties and Secretariats of the relevant conventions in the development of the GBF. Now, once the framework will be adopted, we see a great need to continue the Bern Process. In our view, some of the important questions that should to be discussed among Parties are the following 3:
- How can the different biodiversity-related conventions concretely contribute to the achievement of specific goals, targets and indicators
- How can a future GBF reporting and review mechanism be most effectively informed by inputs from the biodiversity-related conventions? Basile has already referred to the importance of the data reporting tool dart.
- How can these conventions contribute to a potential global stock take for the GBF?
We are convinced that the governing bodies of the different conventions can benefit a lot from conclusions on these questions.
As you know, Parties did not wait until CBD COP-15 to discuss about the future of the Bern Process but discussed it e.g. at governing body meetings of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Ramsar and CITES and made important decisions.
GB-9 of the IT and Ramsar COP-14 invited UNEP to continue facilitating the Bern Process and requested their secretariats and encouraged parties to continue engaging in the bern process. CITES
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Moderating today’s session, Sylvie Motard @UNEP_Europe, stresses the need for collaborative action to restore harmony with nature and to transform towards a sustainable socio-economic system.
The adoption of the #GBF is an important step we need to take #ForNature. #COP15 pic.twitter.com/GYS1dqVCki
— GENeva Environment Network (@GENetwork) November 30, 2022
- UN Biodiversity Conference
- Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework | Convention on Biological Diversity
- Partnerships with Other Conventions | Ramsar Convention and the CBD
- Cooperation and Partnerships | CITES and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
- IUCN and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity
- IUCN at CBD COP15
- Issues Brief on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework | IUCN | July 2022
- Bridging the Gap: Translating Political Statements into an Ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework | WWF | 2022
- 2030: Securing a Global Plan to Save our Life Support Systems | WWF | 2022
- Business for Nature and CBD COP15
- On the Road to the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15): Why the engagement of the agrifood sectors will be critical to the success of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework | 22 November 2022 | FAO in Geneva
- State of Finance for Nature 2022 Launch on 1 December 2022