After being postponed due to the Covid pandemic, the 15th Conference of the Parties for Biodiversity (COP15), will begin today (7 December) in Montreal Canada, for two weeks of negotiations. Attendees will include government representatives of the 196 countries that have ratified the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, other non-ratified nations (such as the USA), various NGOs, and representatives from other interested parties, such as Indigenous peoples and youth organisations to name but two.
The UN will hope to achieve a strong, post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which will aim to set out measures to stabilise global biodiversity loss by 2030 and facilitate the recovery of natural ecosystems, with measurable improvements by 2050. This is in line with the Convention’s goal of ‘Living in harmony with nature by 2050’. If achieved, this will be the first global framework on biodiversity since the Aichi Biodiversity Targets from 2010.
Agreements will also be sought for any solutions to include all of society, with Indigenous peoples and local communities involved in decision-making processes concerning nature and Indigenous people’s rights to land being recognised and valued.
Consensus will also need to be reached on finance, with decisions on how much wealthy nations will contribute to aiding developing countries to finance biodiversity conservation and recovery. Agreed benefit sharing, specifically around the use of data and products originating from genetic resources will also be negotiated.
With a quarter of global animal and plant species threatened with extinction, overwhelmingly due to human activity, the rate of habitat loss to agriculture and industry across the world, and with half of global GDP dependent on nature, there needs to be real consensus and resultant action from this Conference. We can only hope that the urgency of this situation, makes the outcome of this COP15 a positive one as we begin to see some change.