With the participation of almost 2,918 delegates in Kunming, and 2478 connecting online, Part one of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) closed on Friday, October 15, 2021, setting the stage for the adoption of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the resumption of the meeting in spring 2022.
The conference’s two-day High-Level Segment (October 12 to 13), which opened with the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping of the 1.5 billion-yuan (about $233 million) Kunming Biodiversity Fund, saw the adoption of the Kunming Declaration, where Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committed to negotiate an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework that can bend the curve of biodiversity loss.
The landmark framework, due for adoption at the resumption of the UN Biodiversity Conference in May 2022 following further formal negotiations in January 2022, gives clear political direction for those negotiations, according to the UN.
Important initiatives and commitments introduced during the meeting included the announcement by the Global Environment Facility, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme, that they will fast-track financial and technical support to developing country governments to prepare for the rapid implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Moreover, the European Union announced it is doubling external funding for biodiversity; President Macron of France committed 30% of climate funds to be used for biodiversity; the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland announced that a significant part of its increased climate funding would be directed towards biodiversity; the Government of Japan announced a $17 million extension to its Japan Biodiversity Fund; and, a coalition of financial institutions, with assets of €12 trillion, committed to protect and restore biodiversity through its activities and investments.
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “With the conclusion of the first part of COP15, we have taken a critical step towards writing a new chapter for our planet and for our societies.”
The adoption of the Kunming Declaration, and the strong political direction provided by many ministers has put us firmly on the path to the adoption of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework that will engage the entire world in the task of putting nature on a path to recovery by 2030. Further, the Government of China’s announcement of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, and the joint commitment by the GEF, UNEP and UNDP, among other commitments, gives us confidence that the new framework will be rapidly implemented.”
The meeting also saw China assuming the role of COP15 Presidency, the adoption of an interim integrated budget for 2022 for the Convention, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, and a progress report from the co-chairs of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Many non-State actors participated the meeting, ensuring good participation of a wide range of stakeholders.
The Minister of Ecology and Environment of China and COP15 President, Huang Runqiu, said: “The construction of ecological civilization is related to the future of mankind. Building a green home is the common dream of mankind. At present, the rate of global species extinction is accelerating. The loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation pose a major risk to human survival and development. Global environmental governance is facing unprecedented challenges. The international community must work together to strengthen cooperation in the construction of global ecological civilization and biodiversity conservation in order to achieve sustainable world development and all-round human development.”
“As the president of the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, I sincerely hope that Parties will maintain this valuable spirit of cooperation at part two of COP15, give strong support to my work and advance the process of the Convention. I will earnestly perform my duties as president of COP15, work together with all Parties, translate consensus into practical action, and actively promote the achievement of important achievements such as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework,” he said.
Global leaders participating in the conference included Chinese President Xi Jinping, Egypt President Abdul Fattah al–Sisi, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron, President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica, Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea, HRH The Prince of Wales, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.