Nature CoP15 gavelled to a 3AM happy close with anxieties

BirdLife joins other NGOs in recognising the good, but is concerned about roadmap. Before trudging out into a dark and snowy Montreal night, BirdLife negotiators and partners joined with the assembled leaders and delegates to salute the long-awaited approval of a global biodiversity framework designed to set us on a path to save nature and the planet.

BirdLife International’s CEO Patricia Zurita released the following statement on the new Global Biodiversity Framework which was agreed at 3.35am in Montreal this morning:

“The text of the global biodiversity framework finally agreed today thankfully has the clear mission to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. There are wins in the text for biodiversity conservation, for finance, for Indigenous peoples and local communities rights, and gender equality, with a commitment to take a human rights-based approach and recognition of the right to a healthy environment. 

Though ambition on the critical elements of species and ecosystems is less clear cut, there are elements to commend.  A clear win is the 30×30 target – the commitment to protect and conserve 30% of land and of oceans by 2030, which has finally landed in the framework after years of science, debate and horse-trading. However, it is essential that new protected areas are located in the most important places for nature and are effectively managed: weak language in the targets on these aspects means that we risk another decade of paper parks and losses in Key Biodiversity Areas. The recognition that species declines need to be addressed in order to halt and reverse biodiversity loss is also a win – with a commitment to take urgent management action to halt species extinction and to substantially reduce extinction risk by 2030. Again, however, and disappointingly, no concrete measurable elements to hold us accountable appear.

The finance package includes elements that are positive, beginning to close the finance gap for nature. We need more and we need it faster. The finance package includes elements that sum to close the finance gap for nature, with a commitment to reducing subsidies by at least $500 billion by year by 2030 and to mobilise $200 million of finance from all sources, from private and public finance, with a pledge to raise $30 billion annually by 2030 through official development assistance.  It is hoped the agreement of a new fund under the Global Environment Facility will unlock finances and channel funds to where they are most needed.

Overall, these broad-brush strokes are promising but we remain concerned about the inconsistencies in measurable elements across the framework. Without a concrete road map and verifiable timelines, we could be taking more steps back than forward.

We salute the governments for the all-night marathon efforts, and our partnership working in Montreal and around the globe with their national delegations, as well as our super Canadian partners for hosting us and pushing so hard. We implore governments to begin urgently to act now. Let’s get a good night’s sleep, but then get to work. Implementation cannot wait a second more. Nature is gasping its last breath and we must immediately begin its resuscitation by delivering concretely on this agreement, and more.”

She was joined in her remarks by Noelle Kumpel, Head of Policy, BirdLife International, who stated:

“We are pleased to see that the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework gavelled in the early hours of this morning has a clear mission to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. While not perfect, it represents a significant advance from the lengthy, muddled text with over 1400 brackets of yet-to-be-agreed text with which we started COP15 two weeks ago. Where measurable loss of reference to the right to a healthy environment in the early hours of yesterday set the tone for weakening ambition, and the text released today confirms this with the loss of all 2030 milestones from the goals, kicking the can down the road with no clear map on how to get to our final destination. We’re happy to see a strong target to protect and conserve 30% of the world’s land and ocean – focusing on key areas for biodiversity and recognising the rights of Indigenous People and local communities – but ambition and clarity seems to have slipped from other goals and targets in the process, including on addressing species declines and finance by 2030.”

And Amy McDougall, Global Biodiversity Policy Coordinator, says:

“The fate of 1 million species at risk of extinction hangs in the balance. It may not be perfect but after an intense effort, from today the Global Biodiversity Framework provides us with a collective commitment to address species declines, alongside a strong target to protect and conserve 30% of the world’s land and ocean – focusing on key areas for biodiversity and recognising the rights of Indigenous People and local communities.”

Source: BirdLife International. You can read the announcement in English HERE.