UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15)
Convention on Biological Diversity
- Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is dedicated to promoting sustainable development.
- Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live.
- India is a party to CBD and enacted the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to meet the obligations under Convention on Biological Diversity.
- Agenda 21 is a non-binding action plan of the United Nations for sustainable development, covering a wide range of specific natural resources and the role of different groups, as well as issues of social and economic development and implementation.
- It is a product of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
- The CBD Secretariat is based in Montreal, Canada and it operates under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- The UNEP is the leading environmental authority in the United Nations system. It was founded as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Conference) in 1972.
- The Parties (Countries) under CBD meet at regular intervals and these meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP).
- The CBD entered into force in 1993. It has 3 main objectives:
- The conservation of biological diversity
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
- The ‘Aichi Targets’ were adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP10) which took place in Nagoya, Japan in 2010.
- During the meeting, the parties agreed that previous biodiversity protection targets were not achieved, and therefore they needed to come up with new plans and targets.
- The short-term plan provides a set of 20 time-bound, measurable targets to be met by the year 2020, collectively known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, grouped under five Strategic Goals.
Protocols to CBD
- The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health.
- It entered into force in 2003. Number of Parties: more than 170 countries (including India).
- The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.
- It entered into force in 2014. Number of Parties: more than 120 countries (including India).
Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol
- Adopted as a supplementary agreement to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety aims to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity by providing international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress relating to living modified organisms.
- It entered into force in 2018. Number of Parties: more than 50 countries (including India).
- The Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) Report is the flagship publication of the CBD and summarises progress made towards achieving the objectives of the Convention, such as the Aichi Targets and identifies key actions to achieve these.
Why in News?
- The second part of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) ended in Montreal, Canada with a landmark agreement to guide global action on nature through to 2030. The first part took place in a virtual format, in October 2021.
- Chaired by China and hosted by Canada, COP 15 resulted in the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
About Global Biodiversity Framework
- GBF aims to guide biodiversity policy through four overarching goals to be achieved by 2050 and a set of 23 targets to be reached by 2030, to achieve a vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050.
- The most significant part of the framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030, known as the 30×30 target. Currently, 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas are protected.
- The GBF is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals, three of which directly deal with the environment and thus with biodiversity: Goal 13 on climate action, Goal 14 on life below water and Goal 15 on life on land.
4 Overarching Goals:
- The GBF consists of four overarching global goals to protect nature, including:
- maintaining ecosystem integrity and health to halt extinctions,
- measuring and valuing ecosystem services provided by biodiversity,
- sharing monetary and non-monetary gains from genetic resources and digital sequencing of genetic resources with indigenous people and local communities, and
- raising resources for all countries to close a biodiversity finance gap of an estimated $700 billion.
- It sets out targets for 2030 on protection for degraded areas, resource mobilisation for conservation, compensation for countries that preserve biodiversity, halting human activity linked to species extinction, reducing by half the spread of invasive alien species, halving global food waste, cutting pollution to non-harmful levels and minimising climate change impact and ocean acidification, among others.
- The GBF goals and targets do not prohibit the use of biodiversity, but call for sustainable use, and a sharing of benefits from genetic resources.
- The GBF emphasises respect for the rights of indigenous communities that traditionally protect forests and biodiversity, and their involvement in conservation efforts. It advocates similar roles for women and local communities.
- Besides emphasising sustainable practices in agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry, the agreement calls upon members to adopt biodiversity-supporting methods such as agroecology and sustainable intensification.
Implementing & Monitoring:
- Recognising the challenging nature of the goals and targets, the GBF has specific provisions on implementing and monitoring.
- Member nations need to submit a revised and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan in the conference to be held in 2024.
- Further, the parties to the CBD should submit national reports in 2026 and 2029 to help prepare global reviews.
- Countries would have to review existing laws relating to not just the environment, but areas such as industry, agriculture and land use, to ensure that the national strategy and action plan adequately protects biodiversity.
- By 2030, the GBF hopes to see at least $200 billion raised per year from all sources — domestic, international, public and private — towards biodiversity-related funding.
- Developing countries should get at least $20 billion a year by 2025 and at least $30 billion by 2030 through contributions from developed countries.
- The framework also aims to phasing out or reforming subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least $500 billion per year, while scaling up positive incentives for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use;
- It was requested that the Global Environment Facility set up a Special Trust Fund – the GBF Fund – to support the implementation of the GBF, in order to ensure an adequate, predictable and timely flow of funds.
- The GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues. It was established during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
- GEF is a financial mechanism for five major international environmental conventions: the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
What are the challenges to protecting biodiversity?
- The major challenge to protecting and expanding biodiversity conservation is the use of GDP as the chief determinant of development.
- GDP is based on a faulty application of economics that excludes “depreciation of assets” like nature which is degraded by relentless extraction of resources. Experts call for measuring “inclusive wealth”, which captures not just financial and produced capital but also human, social and natural capital.
- The UN’s effort to measure wealth more broadly through its “Inclusive Wealth” (IW) report showed in 2018 that although 135 countries did better on inclusive wealth in 2014 compared to 1990, the global GDP growth rate considerably outpaced IW: an average of 1.8% per year for IW compared to 3.4% for GDP per year during the period.
- The targets are ambitious, considering that biodiversity is in a poor state. In 2020, the world had failed to meet the last set of targets, the Aichi Targets. Countries would need to ensure success this time round.
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