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Australia and the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15 / CP-MOP10 / NP-MOP4) is meeting in Montreal, Canada, 7-19 December 2022. This is part of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The Biodiversity conference is important as countries will set the 2030 targets. Parties will seek to finalise the 10-year post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF). (read my blog on Global framework on Biodiversity – Australian statement on the Convention on Biodiversity 2030 target)

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has confirmed she will attend COP15 in Montreal.

| COP15 Day Summaries | Australian Pledges | Tracking Minister Plibersek | Resources |

COP15 Daily Summaries

Fifth meeting of the Working Group on the Global Biodiversity Framework 

This working group convened from 3-5 December, immediately before the  Conference of the Parties working on final technical details of the Draft Global Biodiversity Framework.

December 5:

Press Briefing: (English) (Daily Press Briefing) – Monday, 5 December 09:15 (GMT-5) Youtube

December 4:

From ENB/IISD bulletin In The Corridors 4 December:

Photo: ENB/IISD. contact group on GBF targets

“No light at the end of the tunnel,” a delegate exclaimed after a long contact group session on the very first target of the draft GBF concerning spatial planning. “We don’t have the luxury to spend four hours on a single target, especially on relatively uncontroversial issues,” commented another.

In an effort to put frustration aside, some resilient delegates held on to threads of optimism and exchanged ideas on ways forward. Many noted the need to reinstate faith in the process and restore trust among parties. Indeed, several noted that significant progress could be achieved by focusing on technical issues, while leaving political matters to be resolved by the COP. One delegate remarked on the need for firm, yet persuasive, contact group guidance to overcome the rising frustration. Another delegate, questioning the nature of the targets under discussion, provided more drastic perspectives, wondering if what we need is less technical but more aspirational targets. The flip side, one noted, is that aspirational targets are often more abstract, leaving the question, “how to implement international guidance that gets more and more vague.”

The discussion of fundamental principles similarly did not get off to a good start when delegates engaged in a lengthy discussion of a provision on the role of IPLCs, and their rights and traditional knowledge. An observer noted that certain parties bracketed long-standing CBD language while attempting to lower standards for long-fought IPLC rights. “Rather than making progress we risk witnessing a race to the bottom,” one seasoned participant cautioned, while expressing the hope that a strong GBF was still within reach.

December 3:

From ENB/IISD bulletin In the Corridors 3 December:

“The eyes of the world are upon us,” the Co-Chairs impressed upon delegates at the opening of the fifth meeting of the WG2020, the last chance to conclude negotiations before COP 15, to convene in four days. With such a tight schedule and a draft GBF full of options and brackets, many expressed the hope that the necessary sense of urgency will prevail. “Hopefully, the winds of change will soon start blowing to make a last-minute agreement possible,” an optimist commented. 

By the end of the first day, there were mixed feelings on whether the pace is sufficient to enable a successful outcome. Expectations appeared dimmed at first when plenary held an expected but lengthy debate on which draft to use as the basis for negotiations: the convoluted “official text” resulting from WG2020-4, or the shorter, streamlined, but not negotiated, text proposed by an informal group. In the contact groups, most delegates recognized the hard work achieved by the informal group, appreciating the concise nature of the text. However, on some occasions, participants kept adding to the text, mirroring the slow tempo of past meetings. Would “only a miracle” save us, as a participant was heard sighing? Or should we all be more optimistic, like some observers who noted that “contact group participants managed to pull themselves together” by cleaning up the text for certain GBF targets?

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Australian existing Pledges relating to Biodiversity

The Australian Government has signed up to a range of international initiatives that are aligned with the proposed action-oriented targets in the post-2020 GBF. These include:

The Australian Annual Climate Statement for 2022 summarises the environment and biodiversity as:

Australia’s biodiversity and ecosystems are among the most diverse on Earth. Australia’s unique biodiversity is part of our national identity and fundamental to the health of our environment, economy and communities. However, the 2021 State of the Environment report concludes that the condition of Australia’s natural environment is poor and deteriorating.

Australia has one of the highest rates of extinction in the world, and climate change is having a widespread impact on natural ecosystems. It is driving changes in the distribution and behaviour of species, reducing food and shelter availability, altering the composition and functioning of ecological communities, and worsening the impact of other threats to biodiversity, such as invasive pests and habitat destruction. At least 19 Australian ecosystems are showing signs of collapse or near collapse (CSIRO & BOM 2022).

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Tracking Environment Minister Plibersek

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Resources:

Tracking COP15

* Sign up to the COP15 daily briefing here

* Check latest UN CBD documents here 

* Follow the main CBD site here

* Watch CBD-Live on Youtube

* Follow Carbon Brief’s nature team at COP15 here

COP15 – in numbers
50% – of global GDP depends on healthy and well-functioning ecosystems

60% – number of people globally worried about nature loss, says WWF

110 – countries backing goal to conserve 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030

$1.5tr – investments in nature required by 2030 to meet 1.5C warming limit
$711bn – annual gap in finance for the protection and restoration of nature

1.5C limit – impossible without stopping deforestation

50-70k – plant species used in traditional or modern medicine

96% – amount of mammals humans & our livestock account for on earth

22% – amount of global world’s Key Biodiversity Areas protected by indigenous groups

$300m – criminal gains generated annually from illegal wildlife trade and logging

Background:

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