Zelal Aktas
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COP15 – What Have We Achieved for Biodiversity?

Dec 20 2022 | 7 MINS READ

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Image of colorful official COP15 sign in Montreal, Canada

#MakeItMandatory was the superseding message surrounding the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference- also known as COP15. What was really achieved in the delegations of the last two weeks? Read on for our take on the events that took place between December 7-19th.

The COP15 summit saw nations come together once again, in Montreal, Canada, this time to discuss the biodiversity crisis. Arguably overdue but nonetheless necessary, the summit gave leaders the space to discuss and agree upon the global action needed to halt and reverse the biodiversity crisis, which has been coined the sixth mass extinction event.

It is key to point out that, alongside the biodiversity crisis, acute attention was also given to the status, rights, and involvement of local communities and Indigenous peoples in climate and biodiversity discussions. As such the continued involvement of groups such as the ‘International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity’ (IIFB) in the delegations and future policies, is also key to the success of the agreements which will continue to come out as a result of COP15. It will be important to keep an eye on how nation states, organisations and global leaders continue to involve and give space to local and Indigenous peoples beyond COP15.

Overall, COP15 closes with a hopeful outlook on the future of climate and biodiversity action. The biggest takeaway is the signing of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – a historic step to protect the planet’s nature and biodiversity. Read on to learn more about this framework and other key takeaways from COP15:

Logo for the Biodiversity Credit Alliance

A Biodiversity Credit Alliance

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) have joined forces to launch the Biodiversity Credit Alliance (BCA), with support from carbon investors, academic institutions and climate and sustainability organizations. The alliance sets out to drive voluntary biodiversity credits to the market to enable private sector investment into projects with a stronger biodiversity impact.

Currently the BCA is moving toward setting up a working group and establishing an official secretariat, which is a process that will take at least until June of 2023. The aims of the BCA are to:

  • Define and categorise biodiversity credits
  • Co-develop a model set of digital standards for the market
  • Establish a peer review mechanism for biodiversity credits.

This is a positive development for the Voluntary Carbon Market as the benefits of Nature-based Solution projects that go beyond carbon can often be overlooked and under appreciated. That’s why at goodcarbon we work with projects that can demonstrate not just a carbon impact, but also a biodiversity and social impact.

Image of Nature Action 100 launch campaign

Launch of a Biodiversity Impact Initiative – Nature Action 100

Following on from the footsteps of the highly successful Climate Action 100+ initiative, which was launched in 2017, a biodiversity focused initiative was unveiled at COP15. Named the Nature Action 100 (NA100), the initiative aims to support further financial sector and private sector involvement in biodiversity action. The initiative is set to launch a platform to connect global investors who are aligned on a journey to develop net-zero biodiversity loss portfolios. Ultimately, the platform envisages to increase engagement of signatories, and support the development of private sector decisions on how to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

Image showing moment of signing of the Kunming-Montreal Framework
The Kunming-Montreal Framework, what is it and what does it achieve?

‘The Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework sets out an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to bring about a transformation in our societies’ relationship with biodiversity by 2030… and ensure that, by 2050, the shared vision of living in harmony with nature is fulfilled’ (UNEP)

In a historic bid to halt and reverse global biodiversity loss, nations and leaders have joined forces at the COP15 summit to sign the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The purpose of the framework is to “catalyze, enable and galvanize” global action in a result-oriented and action focused manner.

The framework builds on the previously signed ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ and its 3 main objectives of:

  • The conservation of biological diversity
  • The sustainable use of its components
  • The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

With a detailed long (2050) and short (2030) term mission and vision, the framework sets out 23 global targets for urgent action to be achieved by 2030.


Here are the key goals of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework:

A close up image of a spider in its web

Reducing Threats to Biodiversity:

The framework sets a total of eight targets in the section around reducing threats to biodiversity. From saving species from near extinction to reducing pollution, the framework offers a comprehensive and detailed list of actionable goals through which it calls on parties to address.

The main targets in addressing the threats to biodiversity are as follows:

  • Aiming to reduce the loss of areas which are of high biodiversity importance to close to zero by 2030.
  • Furthermore aiming to restore, conserve and manage 30% of terrestrial, coastal, and marine areas by 2030 – echoing the 30×30 pledges from cop27 (read more on that here).
  • To halt human induced extinction as well as increase sustainable use and management of wildlife and nature in such areas.
  • Finally, to reduce pollution from plastics, pesticides and other highly harmful chemicals which are currently used in agriculture, to half of what we are using by 2030.

 

Women carrying baskets

Sustainable Use and Benefit Sharing

A term and process that is very important to us at goodcarbon is benefit sharing. Reflecting the importance of local and Indigenous involvement on all levels, including when creating policy which directly affects such communities the most is key to the success and fair implementation of climate and biodiversity action. This section of the framework addresses the need for benefit sharing and sustainable use across targets and future policy.

Check out the main targets:

  • Making sure that the use of wild species provides socio-economic and environmental benefits for vulnerable communities and those most dependent on biodiversity.
  • Protecting and encouraging customary sustainable use by Indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Ensuring the sustainable management of agriculture, aquaculture, fishery, and forestry areas through the implementation of biodiversity friendly practices – to contribute to the long-term resilience, efficiency, and productivity of these areas.
  • Increasing the climate change adaption capacity of nature through Nature-based Solutions and ecosystem-based approaches.
  • Taking effective legal, policy, administrative and capacity-building measures at all levels, to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits in accordance with relevant international access and benefit-sharing instruments.

Local and Indigenous peoples’ customs, rights and knowledge were consistently referred to throughout all the targets in the framework. There are now promises to respect, protect, and encourage the customary sustainable practices of said communities. Without the inclusion of local and Indigenous voices and knowledge, climate and biodiversity action will be destined for failure and arguably do more harm than good. Time will tell if this framework will promote the successful inclusion and encouragement of local and Indigenous spaces in discussions, policies, and further climate and biodiversity action.

To achieve the targets set in the Kunming-Montreal Framework, the UNEP and signatory parties envisage an investment of $200 billion USD (€188 billion) toward supporting biodiversity by 2030. A further $500 billion may be raised to phase out or reform subsidies, such as those for food or fuel. Science states that we need an investment of $8 trillion USD to successfully stop the climate and biodiversity crisis. While the investments envisioned in the framework are a step forward, scaling climate and biodiversity action is essential to truly make a lasting positive change for the planet.

We will definitely be keeping an eye on any further developments that come out of COP15 as the dust settles and are hopeful that leaders globally will heed science’s warning and keep the momentum going. In the meantime, goodcarbon continues to strive for its mission of shifting global capital to conserve and restore our precious planet. We fully support and call for scaled private sector involvement in climate action and believe that we have the power to push our fight for nature and wildlife forward.