Policy Conventions & Agreements - GlobalProtection for wildlife & habitats is preserved in global agreements
This month, the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) takes place in Montreal, Canada.
Since 1993, parties to the CBD have met regularly to agree on and review the steps they are taking to implement the three objectives of the convention, namely: to conserve biodiversity, to use it sustainably, and to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use.
This year’s CBD meeting is especially important because countries will be negotiating a new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). While the post-2020 Framework contains a whole host of detail, its best-known feature is the call to manage or conserve 30% of the Earth by 2030—or what is popularly referred to as “30x30.” But it’s much more than just that target—it’s a ten-year plan (with eight years remaining because of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic) for protecting nature and ensuring its use is sustainable and its benefits are shared equitably.
The post-2020 Framework will include a number of targets (there are 22 in the latest draft) that set out what governments of the world intend to achieve to conserve nature over the next decade. This, to a large extent, will dictate where funding for conservation will flow.
As we approach a tipping point for many of nature’s systems, this iteration of the GBF becomes pivotal and we need to see real ambition from countries if we are to stand any chance at preventing catastrophic biodiversity loss in the coming decades.
what are IFAW’s priorities in the Global Biodiversity Framework?
IFAW has raised concerns about the lack of progress made to date during these crucial UN biodiversity talks. That’s why we’re calling for more urgent action to protect nature.
With biodiversity and ecosystems across our planet on the brink of collapse, there is still a massive gap between what is needed to sufficiently address this global crisis and the inadequate text currently on the table.
The post-2020 Framework contains several areas and proposed targets of particular interest to IFAW. These areas include:
- 30x30: This is the best-known target of the Framework, which aims to conserve 30% of land and ocean on Earth by 2030. This is the minimum that scientists recommend, and more than 100 countries have publicly backed it, yet the target is still debated. Along with the percentage of land and ocean protected, it’s also critical that the most important areas for wildlife are being conserved, that they are well connected and effectively and equitably managed. Many of the most important places for nature are on Indigenous lands, and Indigenous peoples have consistently proven to be some of the best conservationists. It is therefore important that the target includes respect for the land tenure and rights of Indigenous peoples and recognizes the critical role they play in conservation.
Learn about how IFAW is protecting critical wildlife habitat in Africa.
- Saving species: There is also a specific species conservation target in the Framework that seeks to inspire urgent species conservation action. To match the level of ambition require to tackle the current extinction crisis, the final target must contain three elements: stopping human-induced extinctions, recovering already-threatened species and maintaining abundant species populations so they do not become threatened.
- Ending overexploitation of wildlife: Overexploitation is the second greatest cause of wild terrestrial species decline behind habitat loss, and the main cause of marine species decline. The Framework’s target must seek to eliminate any exploitation, trade and use of wild species that is illegal, unsustainable or poses a risk of pathogen spillover.
Read about IFAW’s work to combat wildlife crime.
- Preventing pandemics: Ironically, even though we are two years late with this Framework because of a pandemic most likely caused by spillover from wild animal use, there is still some resistance to including aspects directly related to preventing pandemics in the Framework. Failing to include them would be a missed opportunity to make the clear link between conserving nature and preventing pandemics at source.
Learn how the health of animals, people and ecosystems are connected.
- Funding for nature conservation: One of the biggest reasons the previous Framework and its targets failed was because they were not funded properly. A crucial element this time will be ensuring there is funding available, which must involve dramatically increasing resources from public, philanthropic and private investment, as well as eliminating subsidies for activities that are harmful to biodiversity. The money on the table (or current lack thereof) will be one of the main sticking points in the negotiations, with developing countries quite rightly demanding support from richer nations to enable them to play an active part in delivering an ambitious Framework.
There is little time left, and yet such a long way to go to finalize the new Framework. We hope governments will arrive in Montreal this December ready to finally address the significant conservation and biodiversity issues that will continue to worsen if we fail to act now. IFAW is committed to supporting these endeavors, both at CoP15 and with resulting implementation efforts.