Today’s blog is written by Georgina Chandler, Senior International Policy Officer, and Fiona Dobson, International Policy Officer, reporting back from a set of intense negotiations in Geneva.
As the latest round of detailed talks on a new global biodiversity framework come to an end in Geneva, despite welcoming some progress, we’re left feeling frustrated with the slow pace and perplexed with the lack of urgency in efforts to agree specific targets and delivery methods. There is a large gap between what was accomplished and what is still needed for the crucial final agreement at COP15, Kunming, in late summer.
Over the past two weeks, delegates from across the world have gathered to progress negotiations on the development of a new global framework for biodiversity, which will be adopted later this year at the UN Biodiversity talks (CBD COP15) in Kunming, China. This framework is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to secure an ambitious and transformative agreement that sets nature on the path to recovery – essential for climate action, the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the future of life on our planet.
The collective voice for ambition is growing. Over 300 organisations signed a global call to action asking governments to strengthen the first draft of the Global Biodiversity Framework so that it commits to reverse the loss of nature by 2030.
Yet this urgency has not been reflected in the preparatory negotiations in Geneva which were supposed to lay a strong foundation for COP15 later this summer.
Negotiations moved at a glacial pace, and it is hard to unpick the progress made from the mountain of work still to be done before COP. For those following the process closely, it was often frustrating and occasionally downright perplexing. This was largely due to the complexity of the issues being discussed, and that the extraordinary meeting had to tackle three (interdependent) sessions in parallel – which would normally have dedicated week-long meetings of their own. For example, were faced with having to discuss and try to agree indicators to measure the delivery of targets, before having even agreed the content of the targets themselves! The phrase of the Geneva meeting has been: “it’s a Chicken and Egg situation”!
Georgina and Fiona with BirdLife colleagues during a meeting break at the UN (c) BirdLife International
What were the outcomes?
The grind to COP15
Despite some positive steps forward, the is still a yawning gap between the deal we need to secure a nature-positive world and the current text on the table. Considering the tremendous challenges ahead, it will take both an injection of urgency, and extremely careful planning, for COP15 to achieve the deal we all need.
In order to better pave the way for agreeing a strong framework at COP15, it is the RSPB’s opinion that:
In the face of the catastrophic loss of nature, we urgently need governments, including the UK, to step up to the enormous challenges at hand. We must point to the successes of the Geneva sessions, such as the growing support for a nature-positive mission to reverse the loss of nature by 2030, and now must agree a clear way forward with renewed momentum for tackling the biodiversity crisis.
Watch this space
As we continue on the long road to COP15, we’ll be reporting out on progress as we put pressure on the global process, and on the UK government to show leadership and drive ambition.
Fiona and Georgina at the United Nations in Geneva (c) Fiona Dobson
You can read our joint statement on the talks here: https://nature4climate.org/news/joint-ngo-statement-on-state-of-play-in-the-un-convention-on-biological-diversity-cbd-negotiations/
Check out this page on the BirdLife International website to learn more about our policy positions for the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: https://www.birdlife.org/projects/the-post-2020-global-biodiversity-framework-a-now-or-never-opportunity-for-nature/