Participants lined up for the first day of the UN Biodiversity Conference amidst unprecedented media presence and protesters surrounding the conference center. The need for a sense of urgency to achieve a successful outcome was prevalent in the opening statements by Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Negotiations geared into full speed without delay. During the opening plenary, regional groups outlined their priorities, with many focusing on the global biodiversity framework (GBF) and digital sequence information (DSI). Two Working Groups started deliberations on the long and broad agenda containing draft decisions with numerous unresolved matters. Several contact groups were established, leaving small and non-anglophone delegations wondering how they would deal with the workload.
Three contact groups met in the evening to address draft decisions on: mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review; resource mobilization; and risk assessment and risk management under the Cartagena Protocol.
Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China and President of the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP), highlighted China’s commitment, noting “we must now conclude a peace pact with nature” through a renewed GBF.
“The world is watching you,” Inger Andersen reminded participants, urging them to put their differences aside to face down the “apocalypse” that humanity is threatened with in a triple planetary crisis.
The success of COP 15, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said, is pegged on an ambitious and achievable GBF. She implored parties to find consensus and use their voices in chorus to put the planet back on the road to recovery.