The Evolving Framework of Global Biodiversity

The first in-person meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in two years was held in Geneva last month. After 15 days of negotiations, a text of goals, targets and supporting mechanisms for the ambitious and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework were produced, subject to confirmation at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming later this year.

The overarching goals to protect all the elements of biological diversity, including genetic, species and ecosystem, sustainability, human well-being in the use of biodiversity and fair and equitable sharing of benefits were all reaffirmed during the Geneva sessions, besides extensive discussions on the 21 draft targets.

The discussions on monitoring progress by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24) yielded a proposal for using a “traffic-light” system to judge the readiness of different indicators. The SBSTTA-24 also adopted recommendations on marine and coastal biodiversity, activities to promote the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of soil biodiversity; targets and actions related to invasive alien species, including their monitoring and reporting; linkages between health and biodiversity, synthetic biology, risk assessment and risk management of living modified organisms, and the programme of work of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

The Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3), also held concurrently, completed work on the mobilization of resources for biodiversity, as well as a mechanism to keep the implementation of the new framework under review to allow for course corrections in Convention policy. It has agreed on the recommendations for assessment of progress, the financial mechanism, capacity building and development, reporting and review, and recommendations related to implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing.

The CBD is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity; the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity; and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. It seeks to address all the threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous peoples and local communities, youth, women, NGOs, sub-national actors and the business community.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing are supplementary agreements to the CBD. The Cartagena Protocol seeks to protect biodiversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. The Nagoya Protocol aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.

About the Author:

Rituraj Phukan is an environmental writer, adventurer and naturalist with personal experience of climate change impacts in the polar regions. He is also the National Coordinator for Biodiversity with The Climate Reality Project Foundation (India branch); COO of Walk For Water; Secretary General of Green Guard Nature Organization; and Member of IUCN [Member, IUCN Wilderness Specialist Group; Commission Member — IUCN WCPA Climate Change, IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation, IUCN WCPA Indigenous People and Protected Areas Specialist Groups, IUCN WCPA South Asia Region and IUCN WCPA-SSC Invasive Alien Species Task Force]. He is also the Member, International Antarctic Expedition 2013; Climate Force Arctic 2019 Ambassador, Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. Additionally, he is the Assam Coordinator, Kids For Tigers, the Sanctuary Tiger Programme and Associate Editor, Igniting Minds.

He has worked extensively on the interconnected issues of global warming, water, and wildlife, and has been sharing his learnings with audiences around the world as a guest speaker and mentor.

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