WHAT IS THE NEW GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK?
To halt the collapse of animal and plant ecosystems worldwide, with one million species under threat of extinction, a new agreement must be reached between the 196 signatory countries of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This new Global Biodiversity Framework, which covers the period from 2020 to 2030, will be the focus of discussions at the 15th CBD Conference of the Parties (COP15), held in Montreal, Canada, over the next ten days.
Originally scheduled to take place in China in October 2020, COP15 was postponed several times because of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures in the country. Only the first part of the summit was held in Kunming.
The previous global framework gave rise to the twenty “Aichi Targets”, for the period from 2011 to 2020. However, the majority of these targets have not been achieved, mainly due to a lack of effective monitoring.
“This new Global Biodiversity Framework has been in the pipeline for three years. It is an incredibly important political commitment, the biodiversity equivalent of the Paris Agreement on Climate,” says Odile Conchou, Biodiversity and Finance Advisor at AFD. “As a result, expectations are high for COP15 to reach an agreement.”
See also: “Every year, $500 billion goes to projects that may be destroying nature”
WHAT ARE ITS OBJECTIVES?
Negotiations in Montreal will focus on validating the final version of the new Global Biodiversity Framework, which sets out four global goals and 22 action targets. Each target is broken down into several milestones that must be crossed before 2030 for the world to be “living in harmony with nature” by 2050, according to the guidelines adopted in 2010 by CBD members.
The agreement will aim to safeguard at least 30% of the world's land and sea by 2030, by establishing protected areas in sites of particular importance for biodiversity. The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, co-chaired by France and comprised of over 100 countries supporting this goal, should provide more details on initiatives ranging from strict protective measures, which exclude all economic activity, and other provisions allowing such operations under certain conditions, while working in collaboration with indigenous peoples and local communities. Protected areas now cover 17% of the planet’s land and 10% of its oceans, with varying levels of effectiveness.
“We have to go a step further. We cannot keep 30% of nature sealed in a bubble and let everything else fall by the wayside,” says Odile Conchou. “We must reduce the impact of all human activities on biodiversity, and this will involve a greater effort to integrate the natural world into cities and agricultural areas.”
The first version of the Global Biodiversity Framework for the post-2020 period sets forth additional objectives: integrate biodiversity into all sectors of the economy, reduce pesticides by at least two-thirds, eliminate plastic waste, reduce incentives (economic, financial, regulatory) by at least $500 billion per year to industries that harm biodiversity, and increase support to developing countries by at least $10 billion per year to help them address these issues.
See also: The IUCN World Conservation Congress in 8 Points
WHAT ISSUES WILL STILL NEED TO BE ADDRESSED AFTER THE FRAMEWORK’S ADOPTION?
The final agreement may not be as ambitious as currently hoped, but whatever the outcome, certain barriers must be overcome after the final deal is signed, such as monitoring progress on the actions required.
“Without quantified targets, it will be difficult to track progress,” says Odile Conchou. No indicators or monitoring procedures were drafted to support the Aichi Targets at the time, which partly explains why certain goals were not achieved.”
The financial and human resources set aside to achieve these targets is also an issue. “Developing countries have said that they don’t have the capacity to implement an ambitious agreement,” says Conchou. “Others insist that the money is there, but is not being spent effectively. Currently, $500 billion a year goes to projects that may be destroying nature.”
See also: Feature Report “Forests: As Vital as They Are Vulnerable”
WHAT ROLE HAS AFD PLAYED IN PROMOTING THIS NEW GLOBAL FRAMEWORK?
For several decades, AFD has been working to improve biodiversity protection in the countries where it operates. In 2021, it allocated €591 million to biodiversity and this financing is set to double to €1 billion per year by 2025.
At the same time, AFD plans to ensure that 30% of its climate financing also has co-benefits for biodiversity. The group is also making progress to include nature-related risks in its project portfolio, notably through its involvement in the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD). Furthermore, AFD contributed to the publication of the “Little Book of Investing in Nature”, in collaboration with the NGO Global Canopy.
With regard to the new Global Biodiversity Framework, AFD seconded biodiversity expert Odile Conchou to the CBD Secretariat for two years to help broaden the United Nations teams’ knowledge of these issues and to play a part in the signing of an ambitious agreement at COP15.
“AFD, along with the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), aims to align its operations and financing with the future agreement,” says Odile Conchou. “Several of our commitments are already heading in this direction: doubling our biodiversity financing between 2020 and 2025, supporting protected area projects, and integrating biodiversity across the entire AFD portfolio. But we can do more, like increasing the amount of funding allocated exclusively to biodiversity, encouraging our partners to get more involved, improving our project monitoring practices, and so on.”
This is an opportunity for public development banks, which account for 12% of global financial flows, to set an example by aligning their activities with the targets of the future Global Biodiversity Framework. For its part, IDFC has pledged to commit $100 billion to biodiversity projects by 2027. The Club has also developed a toolkit to help its members and financial institutions integrate biodiversity into their strategies and operations.
Find out more about the AFD Group Program for COP15