The finish line of COP15: A new Global Biodiversity Framework is adopted!

(c) Fiona Dobson, RSPB

Today’s blog is written by Georgina Chandler, Senior International Policy Officer, and Fiona Dobson, International Policy Officer, to reflect on the outcomes of the landmark nature summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15.

It’s been a very long and bumpy road, but in the early hours of December 19th, the world came together at COP15, and the gavel fell to mark the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

This is a new action plan, under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to take the world through the next decade, with the guiding mission to halt and reverse the loss of nature by 2030. No international framework will ever be perfect, but this lays a critical foundation to give strong hope that if we implement these commitments, we can seriously tackle biodiversity loss.

COP15 is a landmark moment for nature. It is the moment the biodiversity convention graduated into a relevant and politically serious forum for tackling one of the biggest challenges of our time.

What was achieved?

Below we share our take on the key pieces of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. 

MISSION: The guiding star of the framework is a mission to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. This is a critical commitment to take urgent action to halt extinctions, recover populations, and protect and restore ecosystems by the end of the decade. This goes above and beyond the ambition of the previous Aichi Targets and recognises the urgent need to not just stop things getting worse but to focus on recovery.  

The real question is whether the package of Goals and Targets that underpin this Mission will set us on the right path. 

SPECIES: We were very concerned that the near-final draft released yesterday was completely devoid of any measurable outcomes for species’ recovery by 2030, which would have stripped the ‘halt and reverse’ mission of accountability or meaning. But many voices rallied behind ambition for species and it's a real success that these voices were heard; the final text includes commitments to take urgent actions to halt extinctions and significantly reduce extinction risk by 2030 alongside 2050 goals to tackle extinction risk and recover species abundance. We’re disappointed that these commitments aren’t more concrete, but the framework does make species’ recovery a clear pillar of the framework. We will be working hard help show what the trajectory of progress needs to be to meet these commitments, and to drive action this decade. 

ECOSYSTEMS: Other pieces of the framework that bring hope include: a much-anticipated ‘30by30’ target to effectively conserve and manage 30% of terrestrial, inland water, and of coastal and marine areas; a target to strive to bring the loss of high integrity ecosystems close to zero, and a target to restore at least 30% of degraded ecosystems. Significant language on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs), including over their traditional territories, was also included in the ‘30by30’ target. Crucial recognition of the leadership of IPLCs is an important strengthening the framework beyond its predecessor.  

TACKLING THE DRIVERS: To achieve our conservation outcomes we must tackle the key drivers of biodiversity loss. It is fair to say that the set of targets on drivers are a mixed bag, and it is quite hard to see the “wood for the trees”. National action will be critical to make sure that these are integrated into national plans in the strongest way possible to deliver meaningful change. 

FINANCE: While we still have a long way to go to close the biodiversity finance gap, these commitments are a significant step in the right direction. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework committed to mobilise US$ 200bn per year by 2030 from all sources of funding, triple public finance to US$ 30bn annually by 2030, and to develop a new fund under the existing architecture to support the delivery of the framework. 

IMPLEMENTATION: The ‘implementation mechanism’ is a crucial piece of the puzzle that is meant to underpin the framework with a clear agreed structure for how countries will make national plans and monitor, report and review their progress. This part of the package is definitly stronger than the last framework’s which is really encouraging. However there will be lots of work to do to ensure that countries respect dealines for submitting plans and reports, and step up their action and implementation across the decade. 

GENDER AND RIGHTS: A landmark part of this new agreement is the gender target – the first ever to be agreed under the CBD. The framework also makes clear that a human-rights approach should be followed in the implementation of all the goals and targets, and it recognised for the first time the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. These pieces give us the hope that this decade really can be different. 

(c) Fiona Dobson, RSPB

We may have finished the marathon, but the real prize is yet to be won  

It feels like we have been running this marathon for an eternity, and the fact that we’ve finally crossed the finish line (at 3.33am) seems hard to comprehend. But the real prize is yet to be won – that will be earned when countries turn this new framework into action at home. Action that genuinely halts and reverses the loss of nature, for the sake of all people and planet. 

Further reading:  

As countries now take this framework home and start national implementation, we’ll be working hard to demonstrate how the UK can deliver on its global commitments. Check out our vision for the UK, and our recommendations for action across the four countries of the UK in our ‘World Richer in Nature’ report here: