COP 15 biodiversity: a historic agreement
You might have heard about COP 27, but have you heard about COP 15?
Widely overshadowed in the media, the COP 15 aimed to find solutions to the increasing degradation of biodiversity across the world. And, it is fair to say that some great commitments have been made. Here is your COP 15 cheat sheet ⬇️
First things first, COP what?
COP is short for “Conference of the Parties”. The countries who join COPs are all parties to the international treaty called the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In this treaty, they have committed to take action to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic [human-caused] interference with the climate system.”
Each year, countries meet, report on their progress, setbacks, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the objectives agreed upon and can sometimes pass on new agreements.
The 27th COP on climate change took place in November 2022 and revolved around a common goal: reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally. It mainly focused on tracking progress with regards to the Paris Agreement and its goal to keep the global temperature under 1.5 degrees.
What’s COP 15 then?
The COP 15 is fully focused on the protection and restoration of biodiversity and, in the same spirit as the COP 27, on taking common targeted actions.
The COP 15 started back in 2020 in China, but due to the COVID19 pandemic, it was delayed 4 times. It (finally!) took place from the 7th to the 19th of December 2022 in Montreal and brought together governments from around the world.
Unfortunately, in December, the football World Cup took over biodiversity. As a result, the COP 15 received very little media attention. It was impossible to escape football broadcasts, and almost impossible to follow the COP 15’s progress.
Back to the roots: what is biodiversity?
Biodiversity refers to all living organisms and the ecosystems in which they live. It is fair to say that, without biodiversity, our future is not looking so great.
🌱 No plants, no oxygen.
🐠 No corals, no fish.
🐝 No bees, no harvest.
🥵 Degraded ecosystems absorb less CO2 which means more global warming
- 1 million species are threatened by extinction
- The cost of ecosystems’ degradation is estimated at 3.000 billion dollars per year by 2030
- The protection of biodiversity can generate up to 195 million jobs by 2030
A historical agreement
On December 19th, 195 states made a “peace pact with nature”. The global plan agreed upon known as the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is giving us one last chance to reverse biodiversity loss, and start working with nature rather than against it.
4 main global goals for 2050
- Maintain, enhance or restore the integrity, connectivity and resilience of all ecosystems by 2050
- Halt human induced extinction of known threatened species and reduce tenfold the extinction rate and risk of all species by 2050
- Maintain the genetic diversity within populations of wild and domesticated species, safeguarding their adaptive potential
- Use and manage biodiversity sustainably by 2050
- Share fairly and equitably and increase genetic resources by 2050
- Ensure that the technical and financial means for the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework are available to all parties, in particular to the least developed countries and small island developing states.
And some priority targets to be achieved by 2030
Here are some priority actions agreed upon for 2030:
- Protect at least 30% of the world’s land, seas, coasts and inland waters
- Restore 30% of degraded ecosystems
- Cut global food waste in half
- Reduce by half the overall risk posed by pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals
- Require transnational corporations and financial institutions to transparently monitor, assess and disclose the biodiversity risks and impacts of their operations, portfolios, supply and value chains.
- Unlock $30 billion in annual conservation aid for developing countries.
The agreement also mentions at least 18 times the importance of including indigenous and local communities in the protection of the environment – a recognition long awaited.
Marco Lambertini, WWF International’s General Director, highlighted the historical nature of the agreement: “Halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 is the equivalent of [the global warming limit] 1.5ºC – and has the ability and power to inspire and unite the whole of society.”
“This global agreement for biodiversity does not rock the house, but it at least saves the furniture”.Pierre Cannet, WWF France’s Advocacy Director
And what now ?
Now, it is up to each country to implement a roadmap at the national level to achieve these goals: indicators, deadlines, real commitments… It is up to each country to live up to this vital agreement for none other than Life.