The Conference on Biodiversity in Geneva that is to pave the way for COP15 opened on Monday 14 March, and is the first negotiation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be held in person since more than two years.
The main topic on the agenda of the CBD negotiations in Geneva is the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which will provide a strategic vision for biodiversity protection over the next decade.
The pressure to manage the workload ahead of COP15 is tangible already in the first days of negotiations. The two CBD bodies, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Working Group on the Global Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework (WG2020), are meeting during these two weeks, with negotiations going on until after 10.30 p.m., according to the negotiating schedule, but informally ending late at night.
The text of the Global Biodiversity Framework is quite complex, it includes four long-term goals with a time horizon relative to 2050 and milestones for each goal to be achieved by 2030.
In addition, the Framework has 21 operational targets to be implemented by 2030.
Regarding the structure of the Framework, several Parties agreed that the co-presence of milestones and targets overcomplicates the structure of the text and that the milestones duplicate what is foreseen in the targets, therefore the Parties asked to eliminate the milestones but to integrate their content within the 21 targets.
Furthermore, the countries requested the 4 goals and 21 targets to be measurable and provided with clear indicators. The issue of monitoring was addressed in ad-hoc negotiation sessions and will continue in the next week negotiations.
The first goal, referred to as “Goal A” in the text, forecasts that:
- the integrity of all ecosystems is strengthened, with an increase of at least 15% in the area, connectivity and integrity of natural ecosystems
- the rate of extinction is reduced by at least tenfold
- the risk of species extinction is reduced by 50 %
- at least 90% of the genetic diversity within all species is conserved
Delegates were asked whether the numerical values contained in Goal A should be included or the target should be reformulated as an aspirational goal.
The European Union, Colombia, Norway and Jordan supported the inclusion of such values, stressing that numerical targets will support ambition and provide an opportunity to measure progress.
However, several intervening countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Egypt, Chile and others, supported the removal of numerical values, stating that quantitative elements are too challenging and demanding due to the absence of appropriate implementation tools at the national level.
In the following days, negotiations went ahead on the next three goals. In particular, Goal B on the conservation and sustainable use of nature’s contributions, Goal C on sharing the benefits of the use of genetic resources in a fair and equitable manner, and Goal D on the financial funds needed to implement the 2050 goals.
Despite the significant amount of content to be negotiated in Geneva, delegates are concerned that discussions are getting lost in the details, going so deep for each goal and target that it is difficult to keep track of the big picture. Some sessions have not even managed to negotiate all the agenda items.
We hope that the situation will unlock in the coming days, since, as we explained in the previous update, the preparatory negotiations here in Geneva play a fundamental role in bringing a text that should be as much agreed as possible in Kunming, to be eventually adopted by COP15.
by Margherita Barbieri, Italian Climate Network volunteer at COP15 Biodiversity