In a historic UN Biodiversity agreement, over 190 countries agreed to protect 30% of the planet by 2030, while pledging to achieve 23 targets to reverse ecosystem degradation under four overarching goals for survival of the natural world. They have also adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

 

What is the deal?

  • The deal calls for raising $200 billion by 2030 for biodiversity from a range of sources.
  • As a part of the financing package, the framework asks for increasing to at least $20 billion annually by 2025 the money that goes to poor countries.
    • That number would increase to $30 billion each year by 2030.
  • Under the deal, countries have agreed to reduce harmful government subsidies worth $500 billion annually.
  • The agreement also obliges countries to monitor and report every five years or less on a large set of headlines and other indicators related to progress against the GBF’s goals and targets.
  • The next COP i.e., COP16 will be held in Turkey in 2024.

 

About the ‘Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework’

  • The framework has 23 targets that the world needs to achieve by 2030.
  • The countries will monitor and report every five years or less on a large set of indicators related to progress.
  • The Global Environment Facility has been requested to establish a Special Trust Fund to support the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework (“GBF Fund”).
  • Countries committed to protecting 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030, fulfilling the deal’s highest-profile goal, known as 30-by-30.
  • The deal also aspires to restore 30% of degraded lands and waters throughout the decade, up from an earlier aim of 20%.
  • And the world will strive to prevent destroying intact landscapes and areas with a lot of species, bringing those losses “close to zero by 2030”.
  • The parties agreed to large companies and financial institutions being subject to “requirements” to make disclosures regarding their operations, supply chains and portfolios.
  • Countries committed to identify subsidies that deplete biodiversity by 2025, and then eliminate, phase out or reform them. They agreed to slash those incentives by at least $500 billion a year by 2030, and increase incentives that are positive for conservation.
  • The deal focuses on the risks associated with pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals, pledging to reduce those threats by “at least half”, and focusing on other forms of pest management.

 

United Nations Biodiversity Conference

  • The UN Biodiversity Conference is the regular meeting of the countries who have signed (and are therefore ‘parties to’) the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
      • CBD is an international agreement for conserving biodiversity with the vision of “living in harmony with nature by 2050”.
      • The convention was adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
  • The first Conference of the Parties to the convention (COP 1) took place in Nassau, Bahamas in 1994.
      • The COP is the arena for international governments to meet and review progress on the convention and establish new measures needed to support its goals.
  • The objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity encompass both social and economic aspects —
      • the conservation of biological diversity;
      • the sustainable use of its components; and
      • the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of biological diversity.

 

What has been achieved so far?

  • Areas of progress in biodiversity conservation include —
    • The incorporation of biodiversity values into national accounting systems;
    • A decline in the rate of deforestation globally of about one-third in 2020 compared with the previous decade;
    • The expansion of protected terrestrial and marine areas and areas of particular importance for biodiversity;
    • An increase in available data and information on biodiversity;
    • A doubling of financial resources available for biodiversity through international flows.
  • The conferences have also seen the adoption of supplementary agreements, including the –
    • Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000), on managing the movement of living modified organisms from one country to another and
    • the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing (2010), which aims to ensure that the benefits of genetic resources – which refers to living organisms with perceived value – are managed or distributed in a fair and equitable way.
  • Along with the Nagoya Protocol, the COP-10 also adopted a ten-year framework for action by all countries to save biodiversity.
  • Officially known as “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020“, it provided a set of 20 ambitious yet achievable targets collectively known as the Aichi Targets for biodiversity.

 

Countries as part of the Convention

  • A total of 196 countries (including India) are party to the Convention on Biological Diversity – although the United States is notably absent.
  • Each country is required to set National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) detailing how the principles of the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources will be integrated into their country’s national policies.

 

About Conference of Parties 15 (COP15)

  • COP15 has been split into two parts, the first was held online in October 2021.
  • The second part was recently held in Montreal, Canada.
  • The COP15 was significant in the sense that a new ‘post-2020 global biodiversity framework’ was expected to be finalised and it has been finalised.
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called this conference an opportunity to “call a ceasefire” on the human-inflicted destruction of ecosystems, which he has labelled a “suicidal war against nature”.