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Discussions open in Rome towards landmark new UN biodiversity framework

Over 1000 delegates from over 140 countries on Monday, February 24, 2020 started negotiations at the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy on the zero draft of a landmark post-2020 global biodiversity framework and targets for nature to 2030.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Opening plenary session in Rome, Italy on Monday, February 24, 2020

The new framework will be considered by the 196 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15) holding in Kunming, China, from October 15 to 28, 2020.  

“I cannot underscore enough the importance of making progress at this meeting. I will be encouraging the Parties to initiate and advance negotiations with a focus on building a common understanding of the different elements of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and on developing the key goals and targets of the framework,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the CBD.

“I know that the world is eagerly waiting out there for demonstrable progress towards a clear, actionable and transformative global framework on biodiversity.  They want a framework that can be implemented at all levels, namely, at global, regional levels, national and subnational levels. 

“They want a framework that builds upon the existing Biodiversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and its accompanying Aichi Biodiversity Targets and a framework that aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she added.

Almost 10 years ago, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) held in Nagoya, Japan, 2010, adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, with the Vision of “Living in Harmony with Nature by 2050”.

Many elements of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets are reflected in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030).

As the period for the Aichi biodiversity targets is drawing to a close, the CBD’s 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14), held in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2018, established the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to develop a framework that would follow this plan, and designated Francis Ogwal (Uganda) and Basile van Havre (Canada) to lead the process as co-chairs. 

At the 1st meeting of the Working Group in Nairobi in August 2019, the co-chairs were mandated to prepare a “zero draft” text of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.  This was published on January 13, 2020 and is under consideration at the second meeting of the Working Group this week. (the draft text is available in all six UN languages at http://bit.ly/CBD-0Draft-UNlanguages).

This initial “zero” draft is based on extensive consultations, advice from governments, scientists, indigenous peoples, NGOs and others, gathered through dozens of meetings and hundreds of written submissions. 

It was also developed in response to the 2019 global assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which warned of one million plant and animal species threatened by extinction.

“The proposed framework recognises that action globally, regionally, nationally, and locally is required to transform economic, social and financial systems in order to reduce biodiversity loss and put biodiversity on a path to the recovery.  Governments and societies need to recognize the cost of inaction, determine priorities, internalise the value of nature and allocate financial and other resources commensurate with the challenge at hand. Only then can we achieve the shared vision of ‘living in harmony with nature by 2050’, agreed by world governments 10 years ago,” said Basile van Havre, a co-chair of the CBD. 

“The framework’s theory of change is complementary to and supportive of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. It takes into account other multi-lateral environmental agreements and involves enabling conditions and means of implementation, including financial resources, human capacity and technology, good governance, sharing of scientific knowledge and information. It also assumes that progress of implementation is monitored in a transparent and accountable manner with adequate stocktaking exercises,” added Francis Ogwal, the second CBD co-chair.

The results of this week’s negotiations will be taken up by the third meeting of the WG2020 scheduled for Cali, Colombia, from July 27 to 31, the last meeting before COP15.

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