The 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, held at Montreal in Canada, has managed to conclude an agreement that looks impressive on paper but might prove tough to implement despite mooting an elaborate financing mechanism to do so.


What is the deal?

  • The historic deal, styled after the Paris climate accord, aims essentially to restore 30 per cent of the degraded terrestrial, inland waters, and coastal and marine ecosystems, and halt further loss of important biodiversity hotspots, by 2030.
  • This is a tall order, considering that at present only about 17 per cent of the terrestrial, and less than 10 per cent of the marine areas, are under some kind of protection. The bulk of the world’s vital bio-resources are totally unguarded.


Key highlights of the GBF

  • The new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) envisages mobilisation of a minimum $200 billion per year from all sources, public and private, by 2030, to put in place the needed facilities to take care of the earth’s ecology. This also seems an overambitious proviso, given none-too-inspiring experience of organising the flow of $100 billion a year for the climate mitigation fund as agreed upon by the developed countries in 2009.
  • The GBF, on the whole, proposes as many as 23 targets, many of which are quantifiable, making it easier to track their progress. These include slashing subsidies to the biodiversity-injurious industries by $500 billion per year and lowering the use of pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals by half.
  • Besides, it stipulates a 50 per cent reduction in global food wastage and a significant cut in overconsumption and waste generation. Moreover, it calls for big businesses and private investors to regularly disclose their actions that impact and protect nature.


How practical are these targets?

  • All these, undoubtedly, are need-based and — more so — pivotal tasks that are easier said than done. Their true importance can be gauged when viewed against the backdrop of the current dismal state of the planet’s biodiversity as outlined in the Living Planet Report 2022 of the Worldwide Fund for Nature.
  • According to this report, nearly 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species, including one-eighth of the bird species, face the threat of extinction. Worse still, the overall wildlife population has plummeted by a whopping 69 per cent since 1970.
  • Habitat destruction, over-exploitation, harmful anthropogenic activity, air and water pollution, and climate change are deemed to be the main reasons for this.


What is in it for India?

  • India can, however, draw solace from the fact that its suggestion to make all goals and targets globally applicable has been accepted.
  • The countries have been granted freedom to adopt them according to their circumstances, priorities and capabilities.
  • Also notable is that India, with the support of many developing countries, besides a relatively rich Japan, has managed to keep references to the agricultural and fisheries subsidies out of the text adopted at this summit.
  • More importantly, as desired by New Delhi, sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits accruing from the utilisation of genetic resources with indigenous people (read forest dwellers), and protection of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, have become part of the GBF.


Way forward

Regardless of the merits and demerits of the new biodiversity accord, political will is essential to make any tangible progress on this front. Otherwise the earth’s natural balance would get perilously skewed, portending a grave ecological crisis.


SourceBusiness Standard


QUESTION – At the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the ‘Global Biodiversity Framework’ was adopted. What are its provisions? Can the world achieve the intended objectives by 2030?