The intermediate negotiations on biodiversity in preparation for COP16, which will be held in October in Colombia, ended on Wednesday 29 May.

The national delegations arrived in Nairobi shortly after the devastating floods and inundations that hit Kenya and placed before everyone’s eyes the urgency of addressing the loss of biodiversity. Indeed, the best tool we have to slow the rise in global temperatures is to rely on nature. Oceans and forests can help to absorb up to a third of global emissions needed to keep global temperatures within +1.5°C.

The next UN Conference on the protection of biodiversity, COP16, will be held in Colombia in five months. There are two areas of intervention for which member countries must urgently work and increase ambitions.

First, we need to translate the Kunming-Montreal Agreement into ambitious national strategies for the protection of biodiversity. This Agreement, approved in 2022 at COP15, contains the objectives of this decade to protect and restore biodiversity, as we explained here. In Cali, Convention member countries will need to demonstrate the alignment of their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (or NBSAPs) with the 23 goals contained within the Kunming-Montreal Agreement.

To date, however, 186 countries (out of 193) have yet to update their national strategies, and only 10 countries have sent the update of their NBSAPs on the CBD Convention website. Both Italy and Colombia, which will host the next COP16, are missing from the roll call.

During the negotiations this week, countries had very long discussions on every line of the preamble of the text on updating the NBSAPs, without focusing on the heart of the matter, namely the ambition of the new national plans. Furthermore, developing countries (or countries that present themselves as such in these negotiating forums), such as China, Brazil, Egypt and Indonesia, have clashed with developed countries, such as the EU, Canada, Australia, asking to recognize – and keep reference of this within the text – the difficulties that many countries face in updating their NBSAPs due to the lack of adequate and timely financial support.

Finance, as a matter of fact, represents the second area of ​​intervention on which member countries must urgently work in view of COP16.

In Colombia, the Parties will have to commit to closing the financial gap on biodiversity, which amounts to 700 billion dollars a year, and work in such a way that the objectives contained within the Kunming-Montreal Agreement can be implemented and achieved thanks to adequate financial resources to support them. In particular, in target 19 of the Agreement it is envisaged to progressively increase the level of financial resources by mobilizing at least 200 billion dollars per year by 2030. These financial resources will have to support countries in the implementation of all the objectives contained in the Agreement, including the objectives of protecting and restoring terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

In the final text on financial resources approved in Nairobi, member countries are asked to develop and update national biodiversity finance plans in order to support the effective implementation of the objectives contained in the Kunming-Montreal Agreement.

The private sector and financial institutions are also asked to do their part, supporting the implementation of the new global strategy to protect biodiversity, aligning private financial streams in favor of the objectives contained in the Kunming-Montreal Agreement. Reference is also made to the possible synergies between finance for the climate (which will be discussed in Bonn during the intermediate negotiations on climate change in view of COP29) and that for the protection of biodiversity.

However, the text approved in Nairobi still has more than 200 brackets, which is not surprising given that finance was the key issue of COP15, and will be one of the most debated topics at COP16 as well.

Extract from the text on financial resources approved in Nairobi

As civil society we hope that new funding will be announced before the heads of government travel to Colombia in October, and that adequate commitments and financial funds will be able to bring about a turning point in international action to protect biodiversity, which is disappearing at an unprecedented rate. 

Article by Margherita Barbieri, Italian Climate Network Volunteer

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