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COP15 in Montreal in 2022
The COP15 conference on biodiversity overcame fears of a failed summit and saw more than 190 countries approve a sweeping, last-minute deal to protect 30% of the planet’s land and seas by 2030. Beyond the 30x30 plan, the accord features 23 new targets, to which AFD is committed. Five points are worth exploring.

1A historic agreement

“This global agreement is positive, impactful, mature and demanding,” said Gilles Kleitz, AFD’s Director of Sustainable Development Solutions. 

On December 19, at COP15 in Montreal, 195 countries and the European Union, all members of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, reached a historic agreement aimed at taking urgent measures to stop and reverse biodiversity loss between now and 2030.

The Kunming-Montreal accord is more demanding than the Aichi agreement that preceded it, whose targets went unmet largely because of a lack of effective monitoring. This new global biodiversity framework contains a set of 23 more ambitious targets for the protection and restoration of natural spaces, the regulation of pesticides and public and private financing.

Read also: COP15: what is the new global biodiversity framework?

“This is a great toolkit which governments, businesses and local authorities should leap at the chance to use,” said Gilles Kleitz. “The work AFD has been doing for years on the interface between finance and biodiversity has borne fruit. This agreement provides us with much stronger tools for greening the financial sector in a tangible and robust way.”

230% of the planet to be protected

The new agreement contains the target of protecting “at least 30% of land, sea, coastlines and inland waters” by 2030 through protected areas or other effective, targeted conservation measures. Only 17% of land areas and 10% of the world’s oceans currently form part of a protected area. The agreement also underlined the recognition of and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities over their traditional territories.

This was a breakthrough for AFD, which stressed at COP15 the importance of arriving at an ambitious framework for the conservation of nature. “This effectively doubles the target outlined in the Aichi agreement,” says Gilles Kleitz. “One regret, however, is that this is a global target as opposed to a national one. Political commitment will be required from each country in order to meet it.” 

Read also: How AFD's projects protect, preserve and restore biodiversity

The AFD group has already provided support to hundreds of projects aimed at protecting biodiversity. At COP15, AFD officially launched the second phase of the TerrIndigena program, which will involve expanding into Brazil and Peru. In total, more than 50 million hectares of land in the Amazon rainforest will be protected with support from more than 60 indigenous organizations, stretching from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean.

3Protecting biodiversity will become mainstream

“The targets in terms of mainstreaming are really good,” says Odile Conchou, biodiversity and finance advisor at AFD. In what is a global first, the Kunming-Montreal agreement enshrines “the full integration of biodiversity and all of its values into policies, regulations, and planning and development processes [...] at all levels of government and across all sectors.” The goal is to gradually bring all relevant public and private policy into alignment with the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework.

In pursuit of this goal, the signatories have committed to introducing measures aimed at encouraging and enabling businesses to evaluate and share their risks, their dependencies and their impact on biodiversity in a consistent and transparent manner. This is in addition to providing consumers with the information they need to promote sustainable consumption.

Read also: AFD uses "Strong Sustainability" to support partners' transitions to greener development

AFD has been promoting this sort of mainstreaming for a number of years now, seeing it as a vital addition to financing for the protection and conservation of protected areas. Prior to COP15, it had made unprecedented efforts to incorporate biodiversity in all of its activities, across all sectors.

4Increased support for developing countries

The financial support given by rich countries to developing countries is set to double by 2025 and to triple by 2030 at the latest, reaching at least $20 billion (€18.8 billion) a year and then $30 billion (€28.2 billion). This measure is aimed at enabling these countries to “implement national strategies and plans of action relating to biodiversity.”

“It might be an ambitious target, but we feel it’s achievable,” says Odile Conchou. AFD has been working for decades to improve the protection of biodiversity in low-income countries. In 2020 it made a commitment to double its nature-positive financing to €1 billion by 2025. This financing totalled €591 million in 2021 and is expected to surpass €700 million in 2022.

Rémy Rioux, CEO of AFD, believes that “public development banks can play a key role in the solution. Together they are responsible for 15% of global investment each year, and have unique potential when it comes to taking advantage of the private sector and promoting the alignment of all financial flows through shared methodologies and criteria.”*

In November, the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), which is formed of 27 national and regional development banks, made a commitment to raise $100 billion (€94 billion) by 2027 to promote biodiversity. It has also developed a toolkit to help its members and financial institutions to incorporate biodiversity into their strategies and operations.

5The application framework has still to be determined

Prior to COP15, a number of stakeholders had spoken of the need to find an agreement that was as ambitious from a biodiversity perspective as the Paris Agreement was for the climate. “This agreement is still less robust than the Paris Agreement in terms of the obligations on signatories,” says Gilles Kleitz. Despite a procedure for revising the objectives, the application framework is still very loose.

“We will need strong coalitions and a great deal of willingness on the part of those involved. AFD is ready to play its part,” says the executive director of Sustainable Development Solutions at AFD. “We will continue to seek to address these issues, working alongside development stakeholders. This will include choosing green infrastructure, where possible, or nature-based solutions. Development banks must play a proactive role in this regard.” 

AFD also intends to continue to innovate. “We had anticipated a number of breakthroughs at this COP, on the alignment of financial flows, the integration of biodiversity into the fight against climate change, mainstreaming and the recognition of financial risks linked to nature,” says Gilles Kleitz. “This agreement has everything we need to make the 2050 vision - humans living in harmony with nature - a reality. We must continue to act as a driving force and remain at the forefront.”