Countries attending the COP 15 summit in Montreal have adopted a 2030 deadline to protect 30% of the world’s lands, oceans, coasts, and inland waters, cut subsidies that harm nature by US$500 billion, reduce the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance to near zero, and cut food waste in half, in what some participants and observers have been calling a “Paris moment” for nature.
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) pledges $200 billion in domestic and international biodiversity funding from public and private sources, including at least $20 billion per year by 2025 and $30 billion per year by 2030 in “international financial flows from developed to developing countries,” the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) secretariat said in an overnight release.
By 2030, it calls for governments to complete or at least initiate restoration of at least 30% of the world’s degraded ecosystems, “significantly reduce overconsumption and waste generation,” halve excess nutrients from agriculture and “overall risk posed by pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals”, reduce the impact of invasive species, and require large, multinational corporations and financial institutions to disclose their biodiversity “risks, dependencies, and impacts,” the release said.
All told, the conference agreed on 23 targets to support the four 2050 goals in the GBF:
• Maintaining, improving, and restoring ecosystem integrity, connectivity, and resilience to halt human-induced species extinction and reduce the rate of extinction tenfold;
• Ensuring that biodiversity is “sustainably used and managed”, and that the ecosystem services humanity depends on from nature are “valued, maintained, and enhanced”;
• Fair sharing of the benefits of using genetic resources, including digital sequencing information, with Indigenous and local communities;
• “Adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation, and access to and transfer of technology”.
Countries called for a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach” to implementing the GBF, with full participation from women, people with diverse gender identities, youth, indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society, the private and financial sectors, and other stakeholders.
A day earlier, Canadian Environment and Climate Minister Steven Guilbeault said a global agreement to protect a significant percentage of the world’s lands and waters would be reached by the time COP 15 wrapped up.
It was supposed to be the second to last official day of the conference, as negotiators in Montreal pored over the draft of an agreement that would also mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars to fund the pledges, The Canadian Press reported Sunday.
In the end, the CBD secretariat published the final list of four goals and 23 targets at 3:39 AM Monday.
Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu, serving as COP 15 President, had released the new draft of the Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework on Sunday morning.
It preserved the marquee goal of ensuring that 30% of “terrestrial, inland water, and coastal, and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services,” be effectively conserved by 2030.
That should include recognition of Indigenous territories when applicable, it added.
It also includes the commitment to mobilize at least US$200 billion per year from both public and private sources to finance nature, and to reduce subsidies that are harmful to nature by at least $500 billion by 2030.
The final draft came after nearly two weeks of negotiations among 196 countries that are signatories to the CBD.
The United Nations estimates three-quarters of the world’s land has been altered by human activity and one million species face extinction this century as a result.
While some countries were still seeking adjustments to the agreement on Sunday afternoon, Guilbeault said many had voiced support for the text as it stands.
He said he expected a deal on the framework to be reached by Monday, and compared its potential significance to the climate change deal reached in Paris in 2015.
“Six months ago, we didn’t even know if we would have a COP this year, let alone a Paris moment for biodiversity, and that’s sincerely where I think we’re heading,” he told reporters outside the closed-door meeting where negotiators continued to debate the text.
The framework seeks a balance between countries pushing for more ambitious targets and developing nations that insist those targets can only be met with equally ambitious financing commitments from richer countries, delegates and observers said.
Sunday’s draft proposed to have developed countries commit to providing developing countries at least $20 billion per year by 2025, and $30 billion per year by 2030.
Maria Susana Muhamad González, Colombia’s environment minister, said that last number will need to come up to between $30 and $100 billion per year.
But she noted that broad consensus appeared to have been reached in many areas, including the 30% protection goal, restoration of degraded lands, and recognition of Indigenous people.
“I’m very optimistic that, as the main goals have been landed and there is no general opposition to these goals, we have made a very important step forward,” she told reporters outside the meeting.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, environment commissioner at the European Commission, said the text represented a “compromise” and a “solid document on which we can work.”
But he said the agreement needed to be strengthened, noting there were no numerical targets on a key goal that includes halting human-induced species extinctions by 2050 and increasing the abundance of native wild species.
“We could clearly see increased ambition on resource mobilization, but then there are no numerical values in Goal A at all, and that’s of course, very problematic for the framework to be adopted in 2030,” he said.
A draft on the issue of resource mobilization, or funding, proposed a dedicated global biodiversity fund, a key demand of developing nations and one that some developed nations have been resisting.
But the draft suggested the fund operate within the existing Global Environment Fund preferred by Europe and G7 countries, including Canada.
Representatives of environment and civil society groups praised the text’s conservation and finance goals, but said it fell short in other areas.
Brian O’Donnell, director of Campaign for Nature, said the text would be the “world’s largest commitment to biodiversity conservation” if adopted as written.
He particularly praised the inclusion of Indigenous rights, which he said could herald “the start of a new era of conservation in which Indigenous people’s rights and leadership are included.”
However, he said he was worried about language on “sustainable use” in protected areas and called for more clarification on the commitment to oceans.
Eddy Pérez of Climate Action Network-Canada described the accord as an “ambitious” one that puts pressure on developed nations when it comes to finance.
“China is telling the world, ‘if we want more ambition on biodiversity action at the international level, we also need more resources,’” he told CP.
Pérez said the finance package sets the bar “really high,” even if the proposed amount still falls below what some developing nations have been asking for.
But he said the language on pesticides is weak and reiterated concerns over the lack of measurable goals on reducing extinctions by 2030.
As COP 15 President, China oversaw the negotiations. The conference itself was moved to Canada because of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in China.
The new agreement is titled the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework after the host cities.
The main body of this report was first published by The Canadian Press on December 18, 2022 at 5:13 PM.