XuFancheng Culture Study Center at COP15 Part 2 UN Biodiversity Conference
The United Nations Biodiversity Conference, COP15, took place in two parts in 2021 and 2022. The first part was virtual, while the second part was held in Montreal, Canada, from December 7-19, 2022. Dr. BikashKali Das participated as an observer at the conference, representing the XuFancheng Culture Study Center.
China, as COP 15 President, continued to preside over the Meetings, with the logo and the theme of COP 15 maintained. China also convened the High-Level Segment and led the facilitation of negotiations. The conference resulted in the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, an international agreement to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030 (30 by 30).
Several cities signed the “Montreal Pledge” before the conference, committing to protect biodiversity in their cities through 15 actions. However, during the talks, divisions remained on numerous issues, such as disputes over the funding for conservation efforts, and the possibility that protections for marine biodiversity could be dropped completely.
An op-ed published in mid-December criticized the proceedings as being very slow and lacking urgency. However, on December 19, almost every country on earth signed onto the agreement, which includes protecting 30% of land and oceans by 2030 and 22 other targets intended to reduce biodiversity loss. The agreement also includes protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and changing the current subsidy policy to one that is better for biodiversity protection.
However, the agreement makes a step backward in protecting species from extinction in comparison to the Aichi Targets. Only the United States and the Holy See did not join the agreement, weakening its impact. Nevertheless, the United States helped to reach the agreement, strongly advancing some of the targets mentioned in it, especially 30 by 30, nationally and internationally, and is a major donor to biodiversity protection issues.
In addition to protecting 30% of land and oceans by 2030, the agreement includes recovering 30% of earth degraded ecosystems and increasing funding for biodiversity issues. Other targets for the year 2030 include cutting overconsumption and waste, reducing food waste by 50%, and completely stopping harming ecosystems that are strongly important for biodiversity. There are also four targets for the year 2050, which include increasing the area of natural ecosystems, restoring their integrity and normal functioning, reducing tenfold the human-caused extinction rate, and protecting traditional knowledge.
COP15 adopted a comprehensive package of six items, including the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a monitoring framework for the framework, mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review, capacity-building and development and technical and scientific cooperation, resource mobilization, and digital sequence information on genetic resources. The advocacy of the UNCBD Women’s Cacus and its members led to a Rio Convention for the first time in its 30-year history to adopt a stand-alone target, Target 23, on gender equality in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
The conference was an important step towards protecting biodiversity and ensuring that future generations can enjoy the benefits of a healthy and diverse planet. The adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the targets set for 2030 and 2050 will require the cooperation and commitment of governments, organizations, and individuals around the world. By working together, we can make a difference and protect the natural world for generations to come.