UN Biodiversity Convention COP15

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There are nearly two dozen targets in the draft biodiversity agreement on the negotiating table for the Montreal conference. They include protecting 30 per cent of the world’s land from development by 2030 and cutting in half the establishment of invasive species. Others include reducing the use of pesticides, eliminating plastic pollution and eliminating or reforming government subsidies that harm biodiversity.

UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’
Current global response insufficient;
‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature;
Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good
Most comprehensive assessment of its kind;
1,000,000 species threatened with extinction
Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace (6 May 2019)

How will climate change affect biodiversity?
While climate change will increasingly drive species loss, that’s not the only way in which the two are interlinked. Last year the [intergovernmental science-policy platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services/IPBES] joined with its climate change counterpart to issue a paper declaring that neither crisis could be addressed effectively on its own. For example, intact ecosystems like peatlands and forests both nurture biodiversity and sequester carbon; destroy them, and they turn into emitters of greenhouse gasses as well as lost habitat. (22 April 2022)

19 November
2 weeks into COP27, Canada part of progress on loss and damage funding
Canada also moves further on ambitious methane goals, and prepares for biodiversity conference in Montreal
(CBC) Laying the groundwork for a biodiversity agreement
Closely following COP27, Canada will host the COP15 conference on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal
This year’s conference is seen as a pivotal moment to gain a landmark agreement on protecting nature around the world, which is linked closely to reducing the impacts of climate change.
Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s environment minister, said that COP15 “must reach a deal as ambitious and comprehensive as the deal reached for climate in Paris,” referring to the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 C and ideally 1.5 C.

Biodiversity needs same protection as climate, say scientists, activists at COP27
UN Biodiversity Conference is scheduled for next month in Montreal to work on global framework
Civil society groups, Indigenous activists and scientists are standing together at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and demanding firm action be taken next month at the UN Biodiversity Conference that will be hosted in Montreal.
The conference aims to get governments to agree on a framework to “bring about a transformation in society’s relationship with biodiversity,” which is in rapid decline worldwide due to climate change and other factors.
The moment is seen as critical for biodiversity loss, as the world warms to a level that could soon trigger tipping points in the natural world that could have cascading and catastrophic effects not yet fully understood, but which experts say would be, in all likelihood, irreversible.

Saving nature is the goal at COP15 in Montreal. Will Quebec step up?
Environmentalists hope the UN summit will lead to protection of the province’s most vulnerable, including the copper redhorse fish and the Magpie River.
Andy Riga
Thousands of scientists, environmentalists and government officials from around the world will convene at Montreal’s Palais des congrès in December. Their mission: save Earth’s biodiversity by forging a new, 10-year plan to slow the alarming rate of species extinction.
To put it simply, biodiversity means nature — from insects, plants and animals that live on the earth to the forests, streams and oceans they live in.
For a few weeks, at least, Montreal will be the biodiversity capital of the world.
From Dec. 3 to 19, officials from almost 200 countries will gather at the city’s convention centre for a United Nations Biodiversity Conference.
Called COP15, it’s the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), ratified by 196 countries.

17 November
Canada’s Trudeau to attend U.N. biodiversity summit in Montreal
(Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend next month’s U.N. biodiversity summit in Montreal, the country’s environment minister said on Thursday – despite the event’s official host China plan to send no invitations to world leaders.
At the nature summit, dubbed COP15, countries will try to agree a global deal to protect nature and wildlife, as species populations plummet and landscapes are degraded.
China, which holds the COP15 presidency, has not invited world leaders to the COP15 summit. It is taking place in Montreal on Dec. 7-19, after being postponed four times from its original 2020 date in China’s city of Kunming.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is not scheduled to attend.
But Trudeau will be present, the country’s Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told Reuters on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Egypt. “The prime minister will be there, and he will be there on a number of occasions during COP15,” Guilbeault told Reuters.

12 October
Why a Few Words in Montreal are Key to Ending Deforestation
By preventing commodities linked to deforestation and habitat destruction from entering commercial supply chains, we can disable one of the key drivers of nature loss.
Mandating deforestation- and conversion-free supply chains through an international convention would demonstrate true leadership, provide clarity, and level the playing field for private sector actions.
We need world leaders, businesses, finance institutions, and others who have made pledges on forests to turn their words into action.

By Hermine Kleymann, Head, Policy, WWF Forest Practice, and Jean-François Timmers, WWF Policy and Advocacy Manager, Deforestation and Conversion-Free Supply Chains
In December, all eyes will be on Montreal, Canada, which hosts the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15). At the conference, governments will be meeting to agree a post-2020 global biodiversity framework – nothing less than a plan to halt and reverse the loss of nature. Like the Paris Agreement on climate change, the new framework is expected to be legally binding in almost every country in the world

10 October
Ecosystem destruction is increasing the risk of future pandemics, UN warns
Over 1M species are currently threatened with extinction, UN official says
(CBC) Wide-scale destruction of nature is raising the risk of future pandemics and is making climate change worse, the heads of the United Nations biodiversity office warned Thursday.
Their warning came in advance of a major global conference on biodiversity loss scheduled for next month in Montreal, where governments are trying to sign a new global agreement to end the loss of biodiversity.
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, said the world needs to treat biodiversity destruction with the same sense of urgency it applies to climate change.
Maruma said that the goal in Montreal is to get an agreement from most countries to take actions to end the decline in species and habitats by the end of this decade, and to recover much of what already has been lost by 2050.
Extreme weather events are made worse by the degradation of natural protections such as coastal marshes that help reduce the energy of storm surges during a hurricane.
“The pandemic has also emphasized and raised the profile of the importance of protecting the natural environment,” Cooper said. “People understand that something is not right in our relationship with nature when we have this increasing risk of pandemics. And we know, in fact, that the more we destroy nature, the greater the risk of the emergence of new diseases.”

US appoints special envoy to champion nature in time for Montreal summit
Monica Medina will be responsible for biodiversity and water resources, announces state department ahead of Cop15
The United States has created a new diplomatic role to show the country’s commitment to tackling the biodiversity crisis ahead of Cop15 in Montreal, Canada, where the next decade of nature targets will be drawn up.
(The Guardian) Monica Medina, a former military officer who started her governmental career in 1989 as senior counsel to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has been named special envoy for biodiversity and water resources.
Historically, the country has not been a supporter of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) treaty. The US is the only UN member state not to ratify the 1992 Rio Declaration, citing concerns ranging from financial commitments to who would own the rights to genetic discoveries in forest reserves. But the creation of the new role for nature shows the US is “very much committed to the aims of CBD negotiations”, said Medina.
“It’s a priority for our administration,” she said. “We use nature for free essentially, but it’s not free. We know it’s not free. We know there are costs to the way that we’ve been extracting from nature. And now we need to find a way to make sure we account for that today and in the future.”
A state department spokesman said the new role signalled “the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to resolving the world’s intertwined biodiversity and water crises”.

9 October
Canada, host of the UN biodiversity summit, is struggling to meet its own targets
The land of the great outdoors isn’t doing so great at protecting its great outdoors
It was the spring of 2014, … then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper … announced at a May news conference in New Maryland, N.B., that by 2020 Canada would protect 17 per cent of its land and inland waters, and 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas. At the time, 10.5 per cent of land and only one per cent of marine area was protected.
Fast forward to 2022, federal governments have changed and those pre-pandemic days may feel like a distant memory, but one thing that remains constant is that Canada continues to struggle to meet its own biodiversity goals.
[Biodiversity]’s declining at unprecedented rates globally, which threatens not only wildlife and natural spaces, but also human food security and genetic resources necessary for medicine and science.
When it comes to protecting the land and water that house those natural assets, the latest data show Canada is coming up short.

6 October
Cop15: ‘World leaders might have to invite themselves’ to summit
In its role as president, China has sent invitations only to ministers and NGO heads, raising fears it is downplaying the crucial talks
In December, governments will finalise a UN agreement to halt the destruction of the natural world at a summit organised by China but hosted in Canada. Because of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy and after several delays, Cop15 was moved to Montreal, the seat of the UN convention on biological diversity. It was meant to take place in Kunming, Yunnan province, in 2020.
The move has meant that China and Canada, who have a tense diplomatic relationship, must work together to organise the conference with the UN. In late September, the Chinese government sent out invitations to Cop15 in its role as president of the meeting, but addressed them only to ministers and NGO heads.
This raises the prospect of no world leaders attending the talks, where targets on biodiversity for the next decade will be created.
Xi, the Chinese president, is not expected to be at the summit and there are fears that organisers are trying to downplay the importance of Cop15 to avoid highlighting his lack of attendance. Several world leaders are understood to have privately expressed a desire to attend.

1 October
Cop15 is an opportunity to save nature. We can’t afford another decade of failure
Phoebe Weston
Ahead of the UN biodiversity conference, our reporter reflects on lessons of hope and change in three years reporting with the Guardian’s age of extinction team
In 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there was a wave of enthusiasm about tackling the great environmental problems, and so governments set up three UN conventions to deal with climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification. Since then, the climate crisis has been treated as separate to the biodiversity crisis, yet there is huge overlap between the two.
Some people think separating them was an error. Both crises have carbon in common. Releasing it as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is driving the climate crisis, but the main building block of biodiversity on our planet – in soil, forests, wetlands, plants and animals – is also carbon. Dealing with each requires us to store carbon in healthy ecosystems, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. You fail on one, you fail on both.
Governments are slowly starting to treat them as one issue. Many commentators said the Cop26 UN climate talks in 2021 marked a new era, with ambitious pledges to protect forests, which store not only vast amounts of carbon but are rich in biodiversity, too.
Mapping has revealed must-not-destroy ecosystems that cannot be lost if we are to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown, including carbon-rich forests and peatlands, from Brazil to Britain.
The Guardian set up its biodiversity desk, the age of extinction, at the end of 2019, in anticipation of the UN Biodiversity Conference (Cop15), a once-in-a-decade opportunity to create targets to stem the collapse of ecosystems globally. Some refer to it as the nature crisis, or the wildlife crisis, but they are all ways of explaining that our ecosystems are in freefall, being destroyed at alarming rates. Indigenous communities, who are key to the survival of many ecosystems, are also under threat, with record numbers being killed in recent years.

28 September
The Secret Negotiator: Cause for optimism at Cop15 – but could Bolsonaro scupper the deal for nature?
(The Guardian) There are many reasons to suggest a deal to save the natural world is possible in Montreal, if division can be overcome and the Brazilian president doesn’t cause problems
So far, negotiations have been slow and painful. … In Geneva and Nairobi earlier this year, the size and complexity of 20 or so targets on how humanity will halt the destruction of the natural world grew and grew.
Much of the draft agreement is in brackets, reflecting disagreement in the UN process as countries have added suggestion upon suggestion on how the final set of targets should look.
One country that does worry me is Brazil. …as the presidential elections approach, Jair Bolsonaro could have a major impact on the agreement we reach at Cop15. If Bolsonaro wins, Brazil may curtail an ambitious final text. If his main rival, the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, wins – and Bolsonaro accepts it – he could still instruct his negotiating team to cause problems, if only to embarrass his successor.

30 August
What is Cop15 and why does it matter for all life on Earth?
Once-in-a-decade plans to protect the natural world and halt its destruction will be decided in Canada in December
It is 100 days until Cop15 – and the omens are good for a global plan to protect nature | John Vidal
(The Guardian) With only a few short months until Cop15 in Montreal, governments are gearing up to create targets on biodiversity for the next decade. The world has so far failed to meet any UN targets on halting the loss of nature, yet awareness of the challenge is greater than ever. Here we examine why this UN meeting matters and how it could herald meaningful action on nature loss.
What is Cop15?
Nature is in crisis and for the past three decades governments have been meeting to ensure the survival of the species and ecosystems that underpin human civilisation.
Every 10 years, governments agree new targets on protecting biodiversity, which they aim to meet by the end of the decade. The last round of targets was agreed at Cop10 in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010, when governments pledged to halve the loss of natural habitats and expand nature reserves to 17% of the world’s land area by 2020, among other targets. They failed on every count.

12 August
Countdown to COP15: Landmark Leaders’ Event for a Nature Positive World
Securing an agreement to save our life support systems
(Leaders Pledge)  The ambition and announcements will demonstrate the highest level of commitment from leaders to secure an ambitious global biodiversity framework (GBF) at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to take place in December 2022 in Montreal under the China Presidency and ensure its immediate, inclusive and effective implementation

28 June
Cop15: lack of political leadership leaves crucial nature summit ‘in peril’, warn NGOs
Nairobi biodiversity talks end in stalemate, prompting open letter to world leaders calling for action before Montreal conference
(The Guardian) UN biodiversity negotiations have reached crisis point due to a lack of engagement from governments, leading NGOs have warned, three years after experts revealed that Earth’s life-support systems are collapsing.
Last week, countries met in Nairobi for an extra round of talks on an agreement to halt the human-driven destruction of the natural world, with the final targets set to be agreed at Cop15 in Montreal. Governments have never met a target they have set for themselves on halting the destruction of nature despite scientists warning in 2019 that one million species face extinction, and that nature is declining at rates unprecedented in human history.
While world leaders including Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson have underscored the importance of the summit, which only takes place once a decade, the biodiversity negotiations have seen substantial divisions between the global north and south over money, proposals to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030, and implementation of any agreement. The Africa group warned it would not sign off the final post-2020 global biodiversity framework unless it includes a target on digital biopiracy.

29 March
COP15: is 2022 the year we save biodiversity? (podcast)
As human activities like agricultural production, mining and pollution continue to drive the so-called sixth mass extinction, government negotiators from around the world are currently meeting in Geneva to try to protect the planet’s biodiversity. At stake is an ambitious Paris-style agreement for nature, the final version of which will be negotiated at the COP15 summit in Kunming, China, in August. Madeleine Finlay speaks to reporter Patrick Greenfield from Geneva about what’s being discussed, how the talks are progressing, and whether time is running out to halt the destruction of life on Earth

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