The first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference started its deliberations under the theme “Ecological Civilization – Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.” The Conference comprises of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CP COP/MOP 10), and the fourth meeting of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (NP COP/MOP 4). The first part is held in a hybrid format, with most participants joining in virtually and a limited number of representatives physically present in Kunming, China.
During the first day of work, participants:
- Watched an inspiring opening video on the famous 17-month journey of a herd of elephants through the Chinese province of Yunnan, and a performance of local songs;
- Witnessed the presidency handover from Mohamed El Badry, Egyptian Ambassador to China, to COP 15 President Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment, China;
- Listened to opening statements, including from regional and major stakeholder groups, highlighting the window of opportunity to address the biodiversity crisis through the development of a robust and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework;
- Adopted the agendas and organization of work for COP 15 and the COP/MOPs of the Protocols; and
- Formed a contact group on budget to address the interim budget for 2022, necessary for the continuation of the work of the Convention and its Protocols.
Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt, on behalf of the COP 14 Presidency, referred to advances in the last three years, including a reinforced commitment to mainstreaming biodiversity across all economic sectors, setting out pathways for furthering international cooperation at the nexus of biotechnology and equity, and establishing a roadmap for the development of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Expressing his commitment to a successful meeting, COP 15 President Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment, China, opened the Conference, welcoming more than 1,500 participants physically present and over 3,000 virtual participants from more than 140 countries.
Han Zheng, Vice Premier of the State Council, China, introduced the conference theme, stressing that ecological civilization is emblematic for recalibrating the relationship between humankind and nature.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), on behalf of Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, stressed that making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century, emphasizing that conserving and sustainably using biodiversity is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Ruan Chengfa, Governor of Yunnan, China, highlighted regional efforts for biodiversity conservation, underscoring the need to strengthen global cooperation and achieve the common dream of ecological civilization.
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary, drew attention to the interconnecting biodiversity, climate, and health emergencies, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of these interlinkages. She stressed that if we are to meet the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature, we must act during this decade to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
In opening statements from regional and major stakeholder groups, delegates and participants underscored the unique opportunity that the post-2020 global biodiversity framework offers to address and revert biodiversity loss, enabling a sustainable future for all, especially the most vulnerable; and shared insights and ideas on the outstanding discussions regarding the post-2020 framework.
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