UN Biodiversity Convention COP15 (Part 2)

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After helping prevent extinctions for 50 years, the Endangered Species Act itself may be in peril
(AP) Fifty years after the law took effect, environmental advocates and scientists say it’s as essential as ever. Habitat loss, pollution, climate change and disease are putting an estimated 1 million species worldwide at risk.

30 May
The evolution of corporate behaviour to tackle biodiversity challenges
(HSBC) It’s clear that there is no net zero without embedding nature-based solutions, preventing biodiversity loss and pricing in natural capital.
Biodiversity loss translates into a 69% species loss since 1970, inextricably connected to changes in land use, overexploitation, and climatic conditions, as well as increasing levels of pollution. Businesses’ role in contributing to biodiversity loss is widely acknowledged, and business leaders are starting to step up to the challenge of mitigating and reversing the trends of biodiversity losses.
Imperial College Business School, in partnership with HSBC, has launched a new report: ‘The evolution of corporate behaviour to tackle biodiversity challenges’, which examines how companies across all sectors and regions globally, have addressed biodiversity in the last two decades.
The study analysed 40,000 biodiversity initiatives disclosed in the sustainability reports of over 6,000 publicly traded companies, identifying those relating specifically to ‘preservation and regeneration of life on land – Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 and ‘life below water’ (SDG14).
Of the 651,880 sustainability corporate initiatives identified between 2000-2021, only 6% relate to biodiversity
The six key conclusions of the report are:
The share of initiatives targeted at biodiversity is small relative to the problem at hand
Biodiversity initiatives primarily target Life on Land
The nature of corporate initiatives targeting biodiversity is evolving for the better
Companies are indirectly addressing biodiversity challenges through efforts to address other nature-related SDGs
The concentration and quality of biodiversity initiatives vary across regions
Where a biodiversity issue is more material for a sector, we see more initiatives, and they are more complex

10 January
COP15 sur la biodiversité : les entreprises veulent – aussi – faire partie de la solution
Lynda Hubert Ta, Professeur en droit, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa
(The Conversation) La COP 15 a également donné lieu à une mobilisation sans précédent des entreprises. Pour la première fois dans une COP sur la biodiversité, de nombreux événements et espaces leur ont été dédiés avec une participation record, notamment un Forum entreprises et biodiversité qui s’est tenu du 12 au 13 décembre 2022. Parmi les firmes participantes, de gros noms : Total Energies, BP, Vale, IKEA, Holcim et Walmart.
Professeure à la Faculté de droit de l’Université d’Ottawa, où je fais des recherches sur la responsabilité sociale des entreprises, j’ai été l’une des représentantes du Centre du droit de l’environnement et de la durabilité mondiale à la COP 15 en tant qu’observatrice. Je me propose de vous présenter un survol des principaux messages des entreprises lors de cette conférence.

9 January
A U.S. perspective with valid questions for many-if not all- other countries
30×30 is conservation’s flashy new goal. Now countries need to figure out what it actually means.
The new global target aims to protect 30 percent of land and waters. But is it a powerful goal or an empty slogan?
(Grist) The goal, commonly known as 30×30, has been around for a few years, slowly gaining traction in environmental circles since it was first proposed in the journal Science Advances in 2019. It draws inspiration from research by famed biologist E.O. Wilson that at least half the planet needs to be conserved in some way to protect 80 percent of species. The formal adoption of 30×30 by nearly all of the world’s governments at COP15 turned it into the official guiding star for the global conservation movement, with some leaders comparing it to the Paris Agreement in terms of significance.
with negotiators at home and a new year underway, countries face the monumental task of figuring out what one of the most ambitious goals in conservation history actually means, in practice.
One of the toughest questions yet to be answered is: What exactly counts towards the 30 percent? Can certain conservation-minded agricultural methods that protect soil and promote a diversity of crops be included, or do only strictly protected areas like national parks count? To what degree will Indigenous territories be considered conserved land? And how will areas that connect fragments and contain the rarest, most species-rich ecosystems be prioritized under the goal? The final language in last month’s global agreement was vague on many of these topics. …
The final agreement reached at COP15 nodded to the inclusion of working lands and the importance of protecting ecologically-representative and high-biodiversity habitats, without setting clear guidelines. It “recognized and respected” the rights of Indigenous peoples, who steward 80% of the world’s biodiversity on their lands, without establishing their territories as a specific category of conserved area, leaving them vulnerable to human rights violations.

2022

20 December
What’s this unfamiliar feeling I have after the Cop15 meeting? It might just be hope
by Craig Bennett
(The Guardian) I don’t normally finish United Nations Cop meetings with a smile on my face. Yet as the sun sets on the UN biodiversity conference, Cop15, in Montreal with a global agreement for nature’s recovery, I’m walking away feeling rather more optimistic than I did only a fortnight ago.
In the early hours of Monday morning in Montreal, Canada, nearly 200 countries agreed and adopted a new “global biodiversity framework” containing various goals and targets. The pact requires all nations – particularly the UK – to dramatically up their game on protecting and restoring nature.
The headline ambition of “30 by 30” was finally adopted, committing governments “to ensure and enable” that, by 2030, at least 30% of land and sea is “effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative, well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures”.
Working by consensus among many countries means that these agreements are the lowest common denominator of what the global community thinks must be done to tackle the climate and nature crises. This is not where you get cutting-edge policy or innovation. And this is why it’s noteworthy when Cops finish with an agreement that represents some sort of progress. Finally, we have a north-star target for biodiversity that can provide that same level of focus as the temperature targets do for climate.
Cop15 in Montreal: did the summit deliver for the natural world?
The talking is over, and a text has been agreed on the next decade of targets to save the natural world. Here are the highs and lows of the Convention of Biological Diversity’s (CBD) agreement

UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) (Part 2)
(IISD) This Conference comprises the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the tenth Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 10), and the fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 4).
CBD COP 15 will review the achievement and delivery of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It is also anticipated that the final decision on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be taken, together with decisions on related topics including capacity building and resource mobilization.
The UN Biodiversity Conference was originally scheduled to take place from 15-28 October 2020, in Kunming, China, but was postponed several times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On 18 August 2021, the CBD Secretariat announced that COP 15 would take place in two parts. The first part took place in a virtual format, from 11-15 October 2021. The second part of COP 15 … was moved to … the seat of the Secretariat, in Montreal, Canada from 5 to 17 December 2022; and
China, as COP 15 President, will continue to preside over the Meetings, with the logo and the theme of COP 15 maintained. China will also convene the High-Level Segment and lead the facilitation of negotiations. To this end, the Government of China has agreed to fund the travel of Ministers from Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States to Canada to participate in the High-Level Segment.

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 December

Biodiversity agreement to protect planet reached at UN conference in Montreal

Negotiators in Montreal finalized an agreement to halt and reverse the destruction of nature by 2030, as the COP15 talks entered their final official day.
“Many of us wanted more things in the text and more ambition, but we got an ambitious package….” Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault said. “We have an agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, to work on restoration, to reduce the use of pesticides. This is tremendous progress.”
An announcement issued early Monday morning says the gathering nations at the biodiversity summit have agreed to four goals and 23 targets.
The goals include protecting 30 per cent of the world’s land, water and marine areas by 2030, as well as the mobilization, by 2030, of at least $200 billion US per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from all sources, both public and private.
There is also a pledge to reduce subsidies deemed harmful to nature by at least $500 billion by 2030, while having developed countries commit to providing developing countries with at least $20 billion per year by 2025, and $30 billion per year by 2030.
Cop15: historic deal struck to halt biodiversity loss by 2030
Agreement on ’30 by 30’ target forced through by Chinese president, ignoring objections from African states
(The Guardian) Negotiators from Cameroon, Uganda and the DRC expressed incredulity that the agreement had been put through. The DRC said it had formally objected to the agreement, but a UN lawyer said it had not. The negotiator from Cameroon called it “a fraud”, while Uganda said there had been a “coup d’état” against the Cop15.
Cop15 summit: DRC drops objections to seal deal on historic action on biodiversity
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, and its objections raised the prospect of legal challenges
Earlier on Monday, Ève Bazaiba, the DRC’s environment minister, threatened to throw the integrity of the historic UN biodiversity agreement into doubt just hours after it was signed, when China’s summit president appeared to ignore her country’s objections to the text and forced it through.
Objection by DRC sours ‘paradigm-changing’ Cop15 biodiversity deal
But on Monday evening, just before the final plenary, the Chinese Cop15 president, Huang Runqiu, approached Bazaiba to shake her hand in an apparent apology – to the applause of the entire conference hall at the Palais des congrès– and she later gave a speech in which she congratulated the Chinese environment minister on the deal, acknowledging it had passed.
COP15 negotiators heading towards a global nature deal: Guilbeault
A global agreement to protect a significant percentage of the world’s lands and waters will be reached by the time the COP15 nature convention ends on Monday, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Sunday. Guilbeault spoke on the second to last official day of the conference, as negotiators in Montreal pored over the draft of an agreement that would also include mobilizing hundreds of billions of dollars to fund the pledges.
COP15: China presents biodiversity framework for approval
The draft of the Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework was published Sunday morning as delegates gather at the second to last official day at the COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal.
Governments move closer to deal at biodiversity conference
(AP) There were signs Sunday that negotiators were closing in on a deal at a U.N. conference that would protect nature and provide financing to set up protected areas and restore degraded ecosystems.
China, which holds the presidency at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, released a draft deal that calls for protecting 30% of the most important global land and marine areas by 2030. Currently, 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas are protected.
The draft also calls for raising $200 billion by 2030 for biodiversity and working to phase out or reform subsidies that could provide another $500 billion for nature. As part of that, it calls to increase to at least $20 billion annually or by some estimates triple the amount that goes to poor countries by 2025. That number would increase to $30 billion each year by 2030.
The draft now goes to a meeting of all governments this evening and could be adopted soon after.

17 December
Global South makes its case for $700B to protect biodiversity at COP15
(CBC) The funding gap between what developing countries need for conservation and what’s actually being offered by wealthy nations has become a major sticking point at the UN biodiversity conference in Montreal.
Looming over the negotiations is an estimated $700 billion US gap that’s needed to conserve biodiversity around the planet. Until now, only about $17 billion US in public funding has been committed.
“Without finance none of this can happen,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of global environmental group the Nature Conservancy, which put together the widely cited 2020 report highlighting the shortfall.
Now, with just three days left before the official end of the COP15 conference, environment ministers from the Global South are making their case — highlighting how more funding could help them save nature.
And they are gaining some momentum. In the months leading up to COP15, and even in the past few days, wealthy nations have scaled up their contributions significantly. About $7 billion US of the public funding committed until now was pledged since 2020 alone.
Hope for nature at Montreal’s COP15
The House travels to Montreal to talk with experts and decision makers at the COP15 biodiversity conference, including Kenyan coral reef scientist David Obura, former top COP negotiator Tim Hodges, academic and Amazon activist Alicia Guzmán León, Indigenous biodiversity expert Tyson Atleo and Canada’s Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Germany representative Jochen Flasbarth.
Activists, experts say there’s still hope for a breakthrough at COP15
The divide between developed and developing nations is driving tensions at the talks
Cop15: UK accused of hypocrisy over environment protection targets
Despite backing calls to protect 30% of world’s land and sea by 2030, UK has no such target in its own plans
With France and Costa Rica, the UK is co-leading a coalition of more than 100 countries who are supporting a target to protect 30% of land and sea on the planet by the end of the decade, known as “30×30”.
The UK’s environment targets are a missed opportunity to protect Britain’s rainforests, cold water coral reefs, chalk streams and peat bogs, environmentalists have said, amid accusations of hypocrisy over the government’s position at Cop15.

COP15: Daily highlights – December 16, 2022
MINISTER’S THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“The entire world is watching, hoping we can land an ambitious global biodiversity framework at COP15. More and more countries are joining our call to unite around the goal of protecting 30 percent of the world’s lands and waters by 2030. Halting and reversing biodiversity loss demands nothing less. 30 by 30 must be our 1.5 degrees. At the same time, ambitious countries need to back that up with the financial resources, and those countries who want the financial assistance need to commit to ambitious nature protection targets. Today, Canada stepped up with new support for developing countries, bringing our total to $1.5 billion. I am confident we will get there.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

A conversation with the climate ministers of Canada, Chile and the U.K. (audio)
(CBC The Current) Three lead negotiators at COP15 once held their governments to account in climate science and advocacy, and are now working on the inside. Matt Galloway talks to Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault; the U.K.’s Minister for International Environment and Climate Zac Goldsmith; and Chile’s Minister of the Environment Maisa Rojas.

14-16 December
Why Brazil’s lead climate negotiator walked out of COP15 biodiversity talks
‘There was no genuine engagement from the other side of the table’: Leonardo Cleaver de Athayde
(CBC) The walkout took place on Wednesday, following an impasse over how a biodiversity framework would be funded. Developing countries were not convinced by the commitments from weather nations, and demanded they come up with more cash to pay for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
Negotiators returned to the table on Wednesday evening, but De Athayde said he hasn’t seen genuine engagement from the other side since.
“We have yet to see any counterproposals from the developed countries that would address the concerns that developing countries have raised in this regard,” he said.
COP15: Developing countries walk out of Montreal biodiversity conference over funding
Developing countries have walked out of a global conference on conserving the world’s biodiversity over concerns that talks about how those efforts should be funded are lagging behind those on how much land and water should be set aside.
“We feel that negotiations have not been moving at the same pace,” said a delegate from one of the countries that left the COP15 talks in Montreal at about 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“We feel that resource mobilization has been left behind.”
Most of the world’s biodiversity is located in the poorer countries of the global south. Most of the wealth — much of which was created at the expense of the world’s biodiversity — exists in the north.
“It’s everyone’s problem, but we are not equally responsible for the drivers that have led to the destruction of biodiversity,” said the delegate. “This is an issue of fairness.”
Estimates of how much money is involved range from US$200 billion to US$700 billion a year, including the redirection of public subsidies from projects that damage biodiversity to those that support it.

13 December
Debate at COP15 summit in Montreal over whether biodiversity credits can put a value on nature
As the UN COP15 summit in Montreal aims to halt rapid destruction of nature and restore degraded lands, some experts have called for selling “biodiversity credits” to help pay for that monumental task.
The United Nations said the world is far short of the $384 billion needed annually by 2025 to protect nature. Biodiversity credits, proponents argue, can help close the gap.
The concept is based on carbon credits, where each unit represents a reduction of 1 tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, through efforts such as using renewable energy or planting trees.
When it comes to nature conservation, though, there is no single metric to measure progress. Few analysts agree on what credits should look like, how they should be used, or even whether they should be called credits. Some say the effort could backfire, for example by enabling companies to buy credits tied to one area to excuse destruction elsewhere.

The ambiguity of the U.S. relationship with the CBD
Can the U.N. Save the World from Ecological Collapse?
At this week’s summit, delegates will consider ambitious new conservation targets—even though the old ones have yet to be achieved.
(The New Yorker) The Convention on Biological Diversity…was presented to world leaders in 1992, at the so-called Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, alongside the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since then, the climate-change treaty has received the lion’s share of the world’s attention, while the C.B.D. (and actual lions) have often been overlooked. The reasons for this disproportion are complicated, but one of them sits in Washington, D.C. A few months after the Earth Summit, the United States Senate unanimously approved ratification of the climate-change convention. But, owing to Republican lawmakers’ (largely specious) objections, which (ostensibly) involve concerns about American sovereignty and intellectual-property rights, the C.B.D. has never even been debated on the Senate floor. This is the case even though the convention was drafted under a Republican President, George H. W. Bush, and shaped by U.S.
“The U.S. failure to ratify the CBD is a classic case of actual American ‘exemptionalism’—the tendency of the U.S. to seek to make rules for the world, only to defect in the end from a treaty it initially spearheaded,” Stewart Patrick, the director of the Global Order and Institutions Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote recently. At this point, the U.S. is the only member nation of the U.N. that has not ratified the C.B.D., a situation Patrick called “embarrassing, unconscionable and self-defeating.”

12 December
IISD Webinar Assesses Progress in UN Biodiversity Talks at COP Halfway Point
On 10 December, a UN Biodiversity Conference stocktaking plenary adopted several decisions on technical matters, with negotiations continuing on more controversial issues, including a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
For the Conference to be considered a success, agreement would need to be reached on four issues: the GBF; resource mobilization; digital sequence information; and monitoring and review.
…while the stocktaking plenary acknowledged that the Working Groups are close to finalizing their work, more controversial issues are still being negotiated in contact groups and other informal groups, including the GBF, marine and coastal biodiversity, and digital sequence information (DSI) – an issue that has also been the subject of controversy in the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), and negotiations on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

New UN project office focused on sustainable cities to open in Montreal
Montreal has been chosen as the site of a new United Nations office that will oversee a program focused on developing green, resilient and sustainable cities.
(CBC) UN-Habitat, the international body’s program for human settlements and sustainable urban development, made the announcement today at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, COP15.
Stéphane Paquet, the president of the organization Montreal International, says the city was chosen due to its expertise in sustainable development and artificial intelligence, as well as its universities and the number of international organizations it hosts.
Neil Khor, chief of staff at UN-Habitat, said Montreal’s bilingualism was another factor in choosing it to host the office, which will employ 28 people.

11 December
Indigenous people recognized as leaders at biodiversity summit, but not equals in negotiations
Indigenous lands contain about 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, while making up about 20 per cent of the Earth’s total territory, according to the UN. Many scientists, environmentalists and world leaders have recognized their leadership as environmental stewards, and experts on how to best live in harmony with nature.
A total of 195 nations plus the European Union have a seat at the negotiating table as world governments meet on the traditional land of Kanien’kehá:ka Nation to hash out a global biodiversity framework. The framework aims to save nature from the brink by cutting pollution, ensuring sustainable forestry and agriculture practices, and protecting at least 30 per cent of land, freshwater and oceans by 2030.
There is a significant Indigenous presence on the ground, with at least 497 of the 15,723 people registered to attend the summit representing Indigenous nations or organizations.
But none of those Indigenous nations have decision-making status.

9 December
The Biodiversity COP Has So Far Failed. Scientists Say This Year Must Be Different
one of the key reasons society is even talking about climate change is because the most significant impact of a warming climate on the world is the threat it poses to plants, animals and wildlife habitats—the same ecosystems that also ensure a healthy environment for humans.
This month, “the fate of the entire living world will be determined in Montreal, Canada.”
That’s the dramatic warning three of the world’s leading biodiversity scientists wrote in an editorial for the journal Science Advances this week to mark the kickoff of the United Nations’ annual global summit aimed at halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity.
…COP15, which began Wednesday in Montreal, has been described by some environmental experts as “the most important global meeting you have probably never heard of” and “the most important United Nations Biodiversity event of this decade.”
That’s because for the next two weeks, environmental ministers and other world leaders will work on setting the official international agenda for the next decade about how they can protect the roughly one million plant and animal species now believed to be at risk of extinction. While the biodiversity COP hasn’t received the same kind of attention as COP27, the U.N.’s global climate summit held last month, many wildlife and climate experts believe it’s the more significant conference of the two.

8 December
Trudeau says 120 countries are ready to agree to ’30 by 30′ framework at COP15
As negotiations officially began at the COP15 UN nature talks in Montreal Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said almost two-thirds of the countries at the table have already agreed to protect 30 per cent of the world’s land and water by the end of the decade.
(CTV) But he said the negotiations with some of the five biggest countries in the world, including Russia and China, pose a diplomatic and political challenge.
The UN assessed in 2019 that one-quarter of animal and plant species in the world are at risk of extinction by 2100. It also said three-quarters of land-based ecosystems and two-thirds of marine environments had been “significantly” changed by human actions, including agricultural and industrial expansions, consumption patterns and population growth.
When it comes to protecting nature, size matters. The five biggest countries by land mass — Russia, Canada, China, the United States and Brazil — are home to more than half the world’s forested lands. Russia alone has one-fifth of it.
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault made the point that 30 per cent of Canada’s land mass is equivalent to the entirety of every country in the European Union.
Losing forests, wetlands, grasslands, and damage to coastlines and pollution in marine areas, all negatively affect the harmony of biodiversity humans depend on for everything from clean air and water to food security and a safe climate.

Ottawa announces up to $800M for Indigenous-led conservation projects

7 December
Kirsty Galloway McLean
COP15 in Montreal – do we really need another UN meeting?
(Linked In) I’m going to ignore all the storytelling conventions and dispel the tension from that headline straight away – yes, we really do need this meeting. And we desperately need it to go well.

6 December
Quebec announces $650 million to protect 30 per cent of its territory by 2030
(CTV) The premier said the “Nature 2030 Plan” will have three components: the first is “to give Quebecers more access to nature”; the second is “to protect our threatened and vulnerable species”; and the third “is to support Indigenous leadership in biodiversity conservation.”
Québec annonce un « Plan Nature » de 650 millions
‘Make peace with nature’: World gathers at Montreal’s COP15 to protect biodiversity
Negotiators face major hurdles before countries can agree to the goals scientists say are needed. Preparatory meetings for the conference produced few concrete results, officials admitted Tuesday.
Amid high security and tight COVID-19 measures, governments of the world started gathering at Montreal’s Palais des congrès on Tuesday, with a lofty goal: save nature by 2030.

5 December
Quebec to add 27 names to list of vulnerable, threatened species
The Quebec government is updating its list of threatened or vulnerable species for the first time in more than a decade, with 27 species either added or deemed in greater danger.
Environment Minister Benoit Charette made the announcement Monday at the COP 15 Youth Summit, taking place on the sidelines of the UN Biodiversity Conference that opens Tuesday in Montreal.
Under provincial law, two statuses can be assigned to species — vulnerable if survival is considered precarious in the long term, and threatened for those that could disappear in short order.

Plante espère des « changements radicaux »
La mairesse de Montréal appelle les décideurs réunis à la COP15 à s’engager en faveur de « changements radicaux » pour la biodiversité.
« On en demande plus à nos décideurs, on en demande plus à celles et ceux qui ont été élus par le peuple pour faire des changements – j’ai envie de vous dire – radicaux », a dit la mairesse. « Quand il est question de biodiversité, ce sont des changements radicaux qu’on doit faire. »

Allison Hanes: How much can be accomplished at COP15, and how can we help?
As leaders from around the world converge on Montreal’s Palais des congrès for the biodiversity conference from Dec. 7 to 19, the stakes are high, but expectations are far from great.
Andy Riga: Why 20,000 delegates are coming to Montreal to talk nature
Who will attend, what will they try to achieve, what are the sticking points? These and other questions answered.

4 December
What is COP15? Why it matters and what’s at stake at the Montreal summit
Expect difficult negotiations as delegates finalize plan to protect nature for the next decade
Thousands of delegates representing 192 countries will spend the next two weeks in Montreal, hammering out a once-in-a-decade agreement that will aim to build a more sustainable relationship between humans and nature.

3 December
Préserver la biodiversité pour mieux protéger notre santé
C’est plutôt rare qu’on associe la protection de la biodiversité à la santé. Pourtant, la préservation de la biodiversité est essentielle à la vie humaine. Toute menace à la biodiversité — que ce soit la destruction des milieux naturels, les changements climatiques ou bien encore la pollution de l’air, des sols et de l’eau — peut consister en une menace directe ou indirecte à la santé humaine.
Les défis du Québec pour protéger la biodiversité
Le Québec sera l’hôte de la COP15 sur la biodiversité à compter du 7 décembre, mais sommes-nous de bons élèves en matière de protection de l’environnement ? Des experts se prononcent sur la performance québécoise et les défis à venir.

2 December
Xueman Wang, Senior Urban Specialist and Program Manager: Global Platform for Sustainable CitiesThe World Bank: Our program Cities4Biodiversity under the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities just finished its meeting in Paris on Urban Nature and Biodiversity with the participation from 50 cities in 22 countries. We were all impressed by Paris’ green vision and the commitment to bring nature to cities and convert the abandoned railway to a green belt that enriches biodiversity.
Nov 28 – Dec 02, 2022 C4B 2nd Deep-Dive Learning
– Theme 1: What are urban nature and biodiversity?
– Theme 2: How to manage urban nature and biodiversity & How to manage “urban trees”?
– Theme 3: How to incorporate urban nature and biodiversity into spatial planning and urban form
– Theme 4: How to incorporate urban nature and biodiversity into project financing

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.
Opinion: Freshwater biodiversity loss has been out of sight, out of mind
COP15 can serve as a catalyst for changing how society regards the rich, precarious diversity of life in our lakes, rivers and wetlands.
Anthony Ricciardi, professor of biology at the Redpath Museum and the Bieler School of Environment, McGill

16 November
Major cities join Plante in vowing to protect nature ahead of COP15 gathering
The news came as federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced funding that will allow non-profit groups and Indigenous communities to take part in the UN biodiversity conference in Montreal.
Several cities — including Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Milan and Paris — have agreed to an initiative that Plante has dubbed “the Montreal pledge,” the city announced Wednesday.
The mayor is urging cities around the world to commit to carrying out 15 “concrete actions in order to continue and accelerate their efforts to preserve the diversity of species and ecosystems.”

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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