The Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), the biggest biodiversity conference in a decade, is kicking off today. Hosted by China, the first phase takes place virtually from 11 to 15 October 2021 in the Chinese city of Kunming, followed by the second phase from 25 April to 8 May 2022. This is when world leaders will meet in person to conclude negotiations on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework – a new accord to halt and reverse the loss of the planet's plants, animals and ecosystems.
The first virtual segment brings ministers around the world together to demonstrate their commitment to achieving the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature, achieving transformative change across our societies and putting nature on a path to recovery by 2030. The EU, represented at the virtual conference by Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, is leading efforts and working with like-minded partners to achieve an ambitious global agreement to halt biodiversity loss, as set out in the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
Commissioner Sinkevičius said:
Nature is under unprecedented pressure. It’s time to tackle the biodiversity crisis with the same urgency as the climate crisis. The two crises are in fact two sides of the same coin. At COP15, the international community will seek to agree on an ambitious global biodiversity framework with strong monitoring to measure progress on the ground. This is a generational task – we must succeed in offering a liveable and thriving planet to future generations.
The COP15 summit, together with the climate summit COP26 in Glasgow, are crucial meetings for life on Earth, with existential implications for humankind. The decisions made at the Summits will have long-lasting impacts for companies, economies and societies. With the European Green Deal, Europe is leading by example, creating pathways for a nature-positive, carbon neutral and equitable world.
Pushing for ambition, the EU will negotiate for the following elements of the Framework as a minimum:
- Ambitious, measurable and time-bound goals, milestones, and targets that will aim for all of the world’s ecosystems to be restored, resilient, and adequately protected by 2050;
- A target to protect at least 30% of world’s land and oceans by 2030, complemented by targets that address the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss and ensure sustainable use of natural resources;
- Operational provisions to mobilise finance and other means of implementation. In this context, in September, EU President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU will double its international biodiversity financing, in particular for the most vulnerable countries;
- Much stronger implementation, monitoring and review processes, including transparency on intended implementation, reporting, a global gap analysis and stocktake with ratcheting up of efforts if needed;
- Effective implementation of the 3rd Biodiversity Convention objective regarding access to and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources linked to biodiversity, which at the same time guarantees that science, research and innovation can continue to bring full benefits that also support the implementation of the other objectives, and
- Ensuring respect of the rights of indigenous peoples, and full and effective participation by indigenous peoples and stakeholders.
The key negotiations for the Framework are taking place from 12 to 28 January at meetings of the CBD subsidiary bodies in Geneva.
Biodiversity loss, climate change and environmental degradation are closely interrelated, and their impacts further mutually aggravate the global situation. These crises cannot be solved separately – they need to be tackled together. Biodiversity underpins human and planetary health, economic prosperity and sustainable development. Around the world, forests and other natural ecosystems are being rapidly destroyed, often due to expansion of agriculture and production of commodities like palm oil, soy and beef as the world's population grows. If too many ecosystems vanish, their basic life support services can falter, scientists warn.
Under the European Green Deal, the European Commission adopted its EU Biodiversity Strategy last year, which aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. It commits to establishing a larger EU-wide network of effectively managed protected areas covering 30% of land and 30% of sea, with one third of this area strictly protected. The Strategy also sets out a wide range of commitments and measures aimed at restoring nature, enabling the necessary transformational change and expresses the Commission's determination to mobilise all tools of external action and international partnerships to help develop and implement an ambitious new UN Global Biodiversity Framework.
Originally signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and later ratified by about 195 countries, the 'Convention on Biological Diversity' is designed to protect diversity of plant and animal species and ensure natural resources are used sustainably. It also aims to achieve "fair and equitable sharing" of benefits from natural genetic material, used in everything from medicines to new crop species. The previous global targets to halt biodiversity loss, set in 2002 and 2010, were largely missed.
The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be a key instrument to help us transform our relationship with nature and bring us closer to the shared vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050. It aims to galvanize urgent and transformative action at all levels — by governments and all of society, including indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society and businesses, the financial sector, women, and youth.
- Publication date
- 11 October 2021
- Directorate-General for Environment