Summary report, 3–19 December 2022
United Nations Biodiversity Conference - OEWG 5/CBD COP 15/CP-MOP 10/NP-MOP 4
The world is losing biodiversity, the variety of all life on earth, at an alarming rate. Ecosystems, from forests and deserts to freshwater and oceans, are in steep decline. One million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. Genetic diversity is disappearing. The planet’s life-support systems are at stake. Underpinning human wellbeing and livelihoods, biodiversity is the source of essential resources and ecosystem functions that sustain human life, including food production, purification of air and water, and climate stabilization. The 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference aimed to take strong action to reverse this trend. In the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, it had the “urgent task of making peace with nature.”
Whether the outcomes will address such challenge fairly and effectively remains to be seen in less than a decade. Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) engaged in a lengthy intersessional process amidst a global pandemic, intense negotiations during the meeting, and Presidential and ministerial interventions that pushed for a compromise package on the most controversial—and interlinked—agenda items. In the end, the CBD community delivered. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) will guide biodiversity policy in the years to come, through four overarching goals and a set of targets to be achieved by 2030. Its implementation is to be facilitated by decisions on resource mobilization and on capacity building and technical and scientific cooperation aiming to address the finance and capacity gaps between the developed and the developing world. A monitoring framework, and a decision on mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review, are expected to promote and strengthen implementation and compliance. A decision on benefit-sharing from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources aims to ensure that the CBD framework adapts to technological developments and ensures respect for the Convention’s third objective: fair and equitable benefit-sharing.
The first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference convened virtually from 11-15 October 2021, with a limited number of delegates physically present in Kunming, China. The meeting’s theme was “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.” It resulted in the adoption of the Kunming Declaration, which called for urgent and integrated action to reflect biodiversity considerations in all sectors of the global economy.
The second part of the UN Biodiversity Conference convened from 7-19 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada, under the presidency of China, and included concurrent meetings of the governing bodies of the Convention and its Protocols: the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP 15), the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 10) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 4) to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization. Approximately 16,000 participants attended the session and parallel events, representing governments, UN and international organizations, Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs), non-governmental organizations, academia, and the private sector.
A Brief History of the Convention on Biological Diversity
The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992 and opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”). The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 196 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
The COP is the governing body of the Convention. Four bodies met during the last intersessional period including: the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA); the Working Group on Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and related provisions; the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI); and the Working Group on the post-2020 GBF.
Key Turning Points
Three protocols have been adopted under the Convention. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (January 2000, Montreal, Canada) addresses the safe transfer, handling, and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) that may have adverse effects on biodiversity, taking into account human health, with a specific focus on transboundary movements. It entered into force on 11 September 2003 and currently has 173 parties.
The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (October 2010, Nagoya, Japan) provides for international rules and procedures on liability and redress for damage to biodiversity resulting from LMOs. It entered into force on 5 March 2018 and currently has 52 parties.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization (ABS, October 2010, Nagoya) sets out an international framework for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and technologies, and by appropriate funding, thereby contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. It entered into force on 12 October 2014 and currently has 138 parties.
Other major decisions include:
- the Jakarta Mandate on marine and coastal biodiversity (COP 2, November 1995, Jakarta, Indonesia);
- work programmes on agricultural and forest biodiversity (COP 3, November 1996, Buenos Aires, Argentina);
- the Global Taxonomy Initiative (COP 4, May 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia);
- work programmes on Article 8(j), dry and sub-humid lands, and incentive measures (COP 5, May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya);
- the Bonn Guidelines on ABS and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (COP 6, April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands);
- work programmes on mountain biodiversity, protected areas, and technology transfer, the Akwé: Kon Guidelines for cultural, environmental, and social impact assessments, and the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for sustainable use (COP 7, February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia);
- a work programme on island biodiversity (COP 8, March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil);
- a resource mobilization strategy, and scientific criteria and guidance for marine areas in need of protection (COP 9, May 2008, Bonn, Germany);
- the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including the Aichi Targets, and a decision on activities and indicators for the implementation of the resource mobilization strategy (COP 10, October 2010, Nagoya, Japan);
- an interim target of doubling biodiversity-related international financial resource flows to developing countries by 2015, and at least maintaining this level until 2020, coupled with targets aiming to improve the robustness of baseline information (COP 11, October 2012, Hyderabad, India); and
- agreement to use the terminology “indigenous peoples and local communities” (COP 12, October 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea).
COP 14 (November 2018, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt), set up the intersessional open-ended working group on the GBF; established an intersessional process, including an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) to continue work on DSI on genetic resources; and adopted the Rutzolijirisaxik voluntary guidelines for repatriation of traditional knowledge.
The Working Group on the GBF, co-chaired by Francis Ogwal (Uganda) and Basile van Havre (Canada), held four meetings between 2019 and mid-2022. Various submissions and consultations, as well as recommendations from SBSTTA, SBI, the Working Group on Article 8(j), and the AHTEG on DSI informed these negotiations. With several issues remaining unresolved, the Working Group held its fifth meeting immediately prior to COP 15, on Saturday, 3, Sunday, 4, and Monday, 5 December. Lengthy negotiations on various sections, goals, and targets of the GBF did not manage to bridge entrenched positions on several elements of the draft, which remained largely bracketed. In addition, a non-negotiated, entirely bracketed non-paper on DSI was forwarded to COP 15.
2022 UN Biodiversity Conference Report
Organizational and procedural matters: COP 15 President Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China, reminded delegates that the agendas of COP 15, Cartagena Protocol (CP) COP/MOP 10, and Nagoya Protocol (NP) COP/MOP 4 were adopted during the first part of the meeting. Delegates approved the organization of work (CBD/COP/15/1/Add.4/Rev.1, CBD/CP/MOP/10/1/Add.4/Rev.1, and CBD/NP/MOP/4/1/Add.4/Rev.1); elected Rosemary Paterson (New Zealand) and Helena Brown (Antigua and Barbuda) as Working Group (WG) Chairs; and noted that Elvana Ramaj (Albania) and Eric Okoree (Ghana) will continue to serve as Rapporteur and Chair of the Credentials Committee, respectively, following their election at the first part of the meeting.
SBSTTA Chair Hesiquio Benítez Díaz (Mexico) presented the SBSTTA 24 report (CBD/SBSTTA/24/12), noting that SBSTTA 23 and 24 delivered 17 draft recommendations, many of which still contained unresolved matters. SBI Chair Charlotta Sörqvist (Sweden) presented the SBI 3 report (CBD/SBI/3/21), noting recommendations to support the GBF, including on monitoring and resource mobilization. Basile van Havre (Canada) and Francis Ogwal (Uganda), Co-Chairs of the Working Group on the GBF, reported on the Working Group’s third, fourth, and fifth meetings (CBD/WG2020/3/7, CBD/WG2020/4/4, and CBD/WG2020/5/L.1). They highlighted that the Working Group’s progress on the draft GBF was insufficient and appealed to parties’ flexibility and spirit of compromise. CP Compliance Committee Chair Rigobert Ntep (Cameroon) presented the Committee’s report focusing on its 16th and 17th meetings (CBD/CP/MOP/10/2). NP Compliance Committee Chair Betty Kauna Schroder (Namibia) presented the Committee’s report (CBD/NP/MOP/4/2).
The two WGs began their work on 7 December. The Secretariat introduced the compilation of draft decisions for consideration by COP 15, CP MOP 10, and NP MOP 4 (CBD/COP/15/2, CBD/CP/MOP/10/1/Add.5, and CBD/NP/MOP/4/1/Add.5), including draft decisions for all agenda items, except for the GBF and DSI.
On Sunday, 18 December, COP President Huang circulated a package of non-papers on the interlinked main items under consideration: the GBF; its monitoring framework; resource mobilization; DSI; capacity building and development, and technical and scientific cooperation; and mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review. A closed meeting of heads of delegations addressed the President’s non-papers throughout the day, followed by hours of informal consultations. In the early morning hours of Monday, 19 December, plenary adopted the six decisions as a compromise package (CBD/COP/15/L.25-L.30).
Procedural concerns were raised over the “rapid” adoption of the compromise package after reservations were expressed by the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (DRC). The DRC stressed that he is “unable to support the adoption of the GBF in its current state” due to concerns regarding the financial mechanism and resource mobilization. MEXICO made an appeal for flexibility to adopt all documents as a package, followed by applause. After a small recess, President Huang announced that the six documents would be approved as a whole and, by lack of immediate objection, signaled adoption by gavel. The DRC, CAMEROON, and UGANDA made reservations about the procedure of adoption of the package “by force of hand,” with the latter requesting a reflection of his statement in the report. The Secretariat explained that the rules of procedure under the Convention had been observed, since some comments, but no formal objection had been raised.
The controversy was resolved later on Monday, 19 December. Following informal consultations, Ève Bazaiba, Minister for the Environment, DRC, reiterated her country’s participation in the constructive negotiations and its involvement in the development of the GBF. Congratulating the meeting on adoption of the GBF, she requested that DRC’s reservations related to GBF Target 19 (financial resources) and the decision on resource mobilization be recorded in the report of the meeting.
CBD COP 15
Budget: On Wednesday, 7 December, CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema presented the proposed budget for the Convention and its Protocols (CBD/COP/15/7 and 7/Add.1). Plenary established a budget committee, chaired by Hamdallah Zedan (Egypt), which met throughout the meeting. On Monday, 19 December, the closing plenary adopted the decision without comments.
Final Decisions: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.31 and Decision 15/1), the COP adopts an integrated programme of work and budget for the Convention and its Protocols. It approves a core programme budget for the Convention of USD 14,350,752 for the year 2023 and of USD 15,634,440 for 2024. The COP notes with concern that a number of parties have not paid their contributions to the core budgets for 2022 and prior years, and urges them to do without delay or conditionalities.
The decision includes tables on: the biennial budget for the trust fund of the CBD for the period 2023-2024; the integrated biennial budget for the trust funds of the Convention; Secretariat staffing requirements; resource requirements from the different trust funds; and contributions to the Convention’s Trust Fund for the next biennium.
Regarding the Cartagena Protocol (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.15 and Decision CP-10/1), the MOP approves a core programme budget for the Protocol of USD 2,989,700 for 2023 and of USD 3,257,200 for 2024.
Regarding the Nagoya Protocol (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.11 and Decision NP-4/1), the MOP approves a core programme budget for the Protocol of USD 2,591,100 for 2023 and of USD 2,822,900 for 2024.
Review of progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020: This item was addressed in WG I. On Wednesday, 7 December, delegates agreed that conference room papers (CRPs) can be developed on informing the scientific and technical evidence base for the GBF, and on review of progress in implementation. On Friday, 9 December, WG I approved two CRPs with minor amendments. Plenary adopted the decisions on Saturday, 10 December. On the first decision, INDONESIA requested that the meeting’s report reflect that the second Local Biodiversity Outlooks misrepresented a case study about criminalization of a Dayak community in East Kalimantan.
Final Decisions: In the decision on informing the scientific and technical evidence base for the GBF (CBD/COP/15/L.3), the COP welcomes the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the related regional and thematic assessments, and the special reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming of 1.5°C and on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. It takes note of the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, the second edition of the Local Biodiversity Outlooks, and the 2020 Plant Conservation Report.
The COP further encourages parties and invites others to use the reports when implementing the GBF and to take steps to widely disseminate their findings. It calls on parties to take urgent action to address the drivers of biodiversity loss identified in the reports in an integrated manner.
In the decision on review of progress in implementation (CBD/COP/15/L.4), the COP notes with deep concern that while there has been encouraging progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, national targets set through national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) were not commensurate with ambition set, implementation was limited, and lack of adequate means of implementation were a persistent obstacle. The COP also notes with deep concern that the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action has not been fully implemented; and that the full and effective participation of IPLCs and the consideration of traditional knowledge and the customary sustainable use of biodiversity have not been adequately reflected in NBSAPs.
The COP encourages parties, when developing, updating or revising their NBSAPs, to take into account the lessons from the review of progress at national and global level as well as information contained in the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, the second edition of the Local Biodiversity Outlooks, and the review of implementation of the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action.
It encourages parties and invites others to support national dialogues with IPLCs, and relevant stakeholders including women and youth, in the GBF implementation.
The COP also requests the Secretariat to organize international dialogues with IPLCs and relevant stakeholders on the GBF, its implementation, and the Gender Plan of Action.
Global Biodiversity Framework: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I established a contact group on the GBF, co-chaired by Francis Ogwal (Uganda) and Basile van Havre (Canada). The group met on Thursday, 8 December, Friday, 9 December, Saturday, 10 December, Monday, 12 December, Tuesday, 13 December, Wednesday, 14 December, Thursday, 15 December, and Friday, 16 December, working on the basis of the outcome of the fifth meeting of the Working Group on the GBF held immediately prior to the COP (CBD/WG2020/REC/5/1). The GBF was also the focus of informal and ministerial consultations. On Saturday, 17 December, Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt, and Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, reported progress on Goal A (conservation of ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity) and a set of targets, noting that, following consultations, they will forward recommendations to the Presidency. Adopted after four years of negotiations, the final decision was part of the President’s package, presented on Sunday morning, 18 December, and adopted in the early morning hours of 19 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.25), the COP adopts the Kunming-Montreal GBF, as contained in the annex, and notes that its implementation will be supported by the following COP decisions, and affirms their equal standing to the GBF:
- the Kunming-Montreal GBF monitoring framework;
- planning, monitoring, reporting and review;
- resource mobilization;
- the long-term strategic framework for capacity building and development to support nationally determined priorities implementation;
- DSI; and
- cooperation with other conventions and international organizations
It urges parties and other governments and organizations to implement the GBF, and enable participation at all levels of government. It invites parties to cooperate at transboundary, regional, and international levels in implementation and reaffirms expectations that they will ensure the rights of IPLCs are respected.
The COP invites the UN General Assembly to acknowledge the GBF and take it into account when monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The COP further decides that the GBF will be used as the strategic plan for the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols, its bodies and its Secretariat for 2022-2030, and requests the Secretariat to conduct a strategic review and analysis of the Convention’s programmes of work in the context of the GBF.
The annexed Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework comprises 11 sections, four overarching goals for 2050, and 23 targets up to 2030.
The Background (Section A) describes the current state of the planet and the fundamental role of biodiversity for human wellbeing and a healthy planet. The Purpose (Section B) outlines the aim of the GBF, to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. Considerations for implementation (Section C) consists of a set of elements for how the framework is to be understood, acted upon, implemented, reported, and evaluated. Relationship with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Section D) describes the GBF contributions to achieving the SDGs. The Theory of Change (Section E) recognizes that urgent policy action is required globally, regionally, and nationally to achieve sustainable development in order to reduce and/or reverse drivers of biodiversity loss.
The 2050 Vision and 2030 mission (Section F), states, “by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.” The supporting 2030 mission is about taking urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to put nature on a path to recovery.
The Kunming-Montreal goals for 2050 (Section G), consist of four overarching long-term goals for 2050: Goal A on ecosystems, species and genetic diversity; Goal B on sustainable use and management of biodiversity; Goal C on benefits from the utilization of genetic resources and DSI from genetic resources; and Goal D on means of implementation.
The Kunming-Montreal 2030 Targets (Section H) consist of 23 targets categorized in the following categories: reducing threats to biodiversity (targets 1-8), meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing (targets 9-13), and tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming (targets 14-23).
Implementation and support mechanism and enabling conditions (Section I) describes the support, strategies and means of implementation for the GBF. Responsibility and transparency (Section J) outlines elements and mechanisms including planning, monitoring, reporting, and review for effective implementation and follow up. Communication, education, awareness, and uptake (Section K) summarizes strategies for uptake for effective implementation by all actors, behavioral change, and promotion of sustainable lifestyles and biodiversity values.
Monitoring framework of the GBF: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I established a Friends of the Chair group on the monitoring framework, led by Hesiquio Benítez Díaz (Mexico) and Anne Teller (EU), to work alongside the contact group on the GBF. Following informal and ministerial consultations, the decision was adopted as part of the President’s compromise package.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.26), the COP adopts the monitoring framework, deciding to use 2011-2020, where data is available, as the reference period for reporting and monitoring progress of the GBF implementation, and to consider a review of the framework at COP 16 in order to finish its development.
The COP notes the value of aligning national monitoring with the UN System of Environmental-Economic Accounting statistical standard. It establishes an AHTEG until COP 16 to advise the further operationalization of the monitoring framework, and requests SBSTTA to review its outcomes, and complete the scientific and technical review of the monitoring framework for consideration by SBI and COP 16.
It requests the Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions to continue the development and operationalization of indicators related to traditional knowledge and IPLCs, and report on progress and outcomes to the AHTEG.
The COP requests the Secretariat to facilitate development of guidance on development of regional and national monitoring systems, and to facilitate use of relevant tools including the Data Reporting Tool (DaRT), to facilitate national reporting and sharing of information between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
Communications strategy: WG I addressed the communications strategy on Saturday, 17 December. The closing plenary adopted the final decision with no amendments.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.23), the COP adopts the Communications Strategy and renews the mandate of the Informal Advisory Committee on Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) until 2030, requesting it to: further develop action-oriented key messages; revise the Communications Strategy to align with the GBF; and advise the Secretariat on the Strategy’s implementation.
The COP requests the Secretariat to support a range of communication activities in the coming biennium, including: annual celebrations of International Day for Biological Diversity, CEPA Fair and social media development; Secretariat corporate communications; update of the Convention’s programme of work on communications, education, and public awareness; and submit a progress report for consideration by SBI 4, and subsequently COP 16.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.24), the COP adopts the Gender Plan of Action urging its implementation to support advancing gender mainstreaming and gender responsive GBF implementation. It urges parties and invites relevant organizations to incorporate the Gender Plan of Action in NBSAPs and to implement it in synergy with those developed under other relevant MEAs or related multilateral processes. It invites parties to submit information in their national reports on efforts and steps taken to implement the plan and encourages them to appoint and support a national gender and biodiversity focal point.
The COP requests the Secretariat to undertake a mid-term review of implementation of the Gender Plan of Action, identifying progress, lessons learned, and further work to be undertaken for consideration by SBI 5. It invites the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and relevant bilateral and multilateral funding organizations to provide technical and financial support for implementation of the Gender Plan of Action.
Article 8(j) and Related Provisions: WG I addressed a series of items related to Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) and related provisions on Wednesday, 7 December and agreed that CRPs would be developed.
Final Decision: The decision (CBD/COP/15/L.8) contains two parts, the first on the ways and instruments for achieving full integration of Article 8(j) in the work of the Convention and its Protocols with the full participation of IPLCs, and the second on institutional arrangements for IPLCs.
Regarding integration of Article 8(j), the COP decides to: develop a new Article 8(j) work programme aligned with the GBF, with the full and effective participation of IPLCs, on the basis of Annexes I and II; and keep it under review to reprioritize elements and tasks to ensure it is supportive of a human rights approach and coherent with GBF priorities.
Annex I contains the draft objectives, general principles, and elements of work for the new Article 8(j) work programme. Annex II contains draft possible elements of the new Article 8(j) work programme. Only the headings were agreed by the 11th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j), so everything but the headings remains in brackets, to be considered at the Working Group’s 12th meeting.
The COP further encourages parties, according to national legislation and international obligations, to increase efforts to facilitate full and effective IPLC participation, including by recognizing their customary laws, collective actions, cosmocentric visions, and diverse values; and to engage them in the preparation of national reports, revision and implementation of NBSAPs, and GBF implementation.
It requests parties and others to report on the implementation of the current and, once adopted, the new Article 8(j) work programme, as well as the application of various voluntary guidelines developed under the Article 8(j) Working Group; invites parties to designate national focal points for Article 8(j); and requests the Secretariat to strengthen those national focal points, to play a key role in national level implementation.
Regarding institutional arrangements, the COP:
- requests the Secretariat to convene an AHTEG on IPLCs and the GBF to meet prior to the 12th meeting of the Article 8(j) Working Group, with the terms of reference (ToR) contained in Annex III, to provide further elaboration of the new programme of work and the possible institutional arrangements for Article 8(j), including the future modus operandi for implementation of Article 8(j) considering the possible establishment of a subsidiary body, continuation of the working group, or other arrangements;
- decides to continue the Article 8(j) Working Group until COP 16 with the intention to subsequently decide on institutional arrangements and future modus operandi at COP 16; and
- requests the 12th meeting of the Article 8(j) Working Group to further elaborate a new work programme for consideration at COP 16.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.6), the COP recognizes the contribution of traditional knowledge in addressing global biodiversity loss is fundamental to achieve the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature. It invites parties to incorporate IPLC contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the links between biological and cultural diversity in GBF implementation; and in national CBD implementation overall. It decides that the topic for the in-depth dialogue at the 12th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) is: the role of languages in the intergenerational transmission of traditional knowledge.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.7), the COP welcomes the invitations of the UNPFII to the CBD Secretariat to contribute to:
- a study on the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to the management of ecosystems and the protection of biodiversity;
- a set of actions and commitments in relation to conservation and human rights in the context of the GBF; and
- a comparative legal study that analyzes the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the emerging rights of local communities.
It requests the Secretariat to participate in those activities and decides to take the results of these activities into account in the development of the new Article 8(j) work programme and GBF implementation.
Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I established a Friends of the Chair group to focus on benefit-sharing from DSI on genetic resources on the basis of the outcome of the fifth meeting of the Working Group on the GBF (CBD/WG2020/REC/5/2). The group met on Thursday, 8 December, Friday, 9 December, Saturday, 10 December, Tuesday, 13 December, Wednesday, 14 December, Thursday, 15 December, and Friday, 16 December. On Saturday, 17 December, Maisa Rojas, Minister for the Environment, Chile, and Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway, presented their proposal on DSI, formulated following consultations with all interested parties, and envisaging: establishment of a multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism at this meeting, including provisions on respecting existing national arrangements; and creation of an intersessional Working Group to address the mechanism’s modalities. The draft decision was included as part of the President’s package, presented on Sunday, 18 December, and adopted early on 19 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.30), the COP agrees that the benefits from the use of DSI should be shared fairly and equitably, and that a distinctive solution is required. It encourages depositing more DSI with appropriate information on geographical origin and other relevant metadata in public databases, recognizing that tracking and tracing of all DSI is not practical. The COP further recognizes that a multilateral approach on the sharing of benefits has the potential to meet the agreed criteria, although exceptions may be identified.
The COP agrees to develop a solution for the sharing of benefits that should be: effective, efficient, feasible, and practical; generate more benefits than costs; provide certainty and legal clarity for providers and users; not hinder research and innovation, and be consistent with open access to data; not be incompatible with international legal obligations; be mutually supportive of other ABS instruments; and take into account the rights of IPLCs. It recognizes that monetary and non-monetary benefits should be used to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and benefit IPLCs, and agrees that the approach does not affect existing rights and obligations under the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol. It also calls for specific and targeted capacity building and development, technology transfer, and technical and scientific cooperation, and, as appropriate, support for developing countries, to generate, access, and use DSI for research and innovation.
The COP establishes, as part of the GBF, a multilateral mechanism for benefit-sharing from the use of DSI, including a global fund as well as a fair, transparent, inclusive, participatory, and time-bound process to further develop and operationalize the mechanism to be finalized at COP 16. It also establishes an AHTEG to undertake further development of the multilateral mechanism and decides to review the effectiveness of the mechanism at COP 18.
The COP requests the Secretariat to: compile and synthesize views submitted by parties and others; compile lessons learned from other international funding mechanisms; commission a study to analyze the multilateral mechanism and other options the AHTEG may decide; and commission a study on the options for revenue-generating measures at different points along the value chain.
A mirrored decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.13) was adopted by the Nagoya Protocol MOP.
Resource Mobilization: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I established a contact group, co-chaired by Ines Verleye (Belgium) and Shonisani Munzhedzi (South Africa). The group met on Thursday, 8 December, Friday, 9 December, Saturday, 10 December, Tuesday, 13 December, Wednesday, 14 December, Thursday, 15 December, and Friday, 16 December. On Saturday, 17 December, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment, Rwanda, and Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, highlighted that regional groups were largely in agreement with the overall amount of USD 200 billion annually by 2030 regarding global financial resources for biodiversity from all sources, including international, domestic, public, and private ones, and underscored the need to increase flows to developing countries. They emphasized divergent views on the funding structure, including the potential creation of a standalone fund or improvement of the existing funding mechanism, drawing attention to a third, middle-ground proposal on establishing a dedicated biodiversity fund administered by the GEF. The decision was then included as part of the President’s package, presented on Sunday, 18 December, and adopted in the early on 19 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.29), the COP emphasizes the importance of urgently increasing the mobilization of resources from all sources, domestic and international, public and private, with a view to closing the biodiversity financing gap, and make adequate and predictable resources available in a timely manner for GBF implementation; and affirms the need to quick-start immediate resource mobilization from all sources.
The COP adopts the annexed Resource Mobilization Strategy, recognizing that it entails an immediate phase (2023-24), and a medium-term phase (2025-30); and encourages parties and others to take it into consideration as a flexible framework guiding implementation of the GBF resource mobilization targets, in accordance with national circumstances. It calls upon the GEF to further reform its operations to ensure adequacy, predictability, and the timely flow of funds by establishing easy and effective access modalities, including by scaling fast-track systems; and calls for fundamental transformation of the global financial architecture, and the reform of multilateral development banks and international finance institutions to make them fit for purpose in supporting GBF implementation.
The COP encourages parties to develop, update, and implement national finance plans, and developing countries to include information on financial, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building support needed to implement their NBSAPs.
The COP recognizes the urgency to increase international biodiversity finance, and to establish a dedicated and accessible GBF Fund in 2023 to quickly mobilize and disburse new and additional resources from all sources, commensurate with GBF ambition. It requests the GEF to:
- establish in 2023 a special trust fund to support GBF implementation to complement existing support and scale up financing to ensure its timely implementation, taking into account the need for adequacy, predictability, and the timely flow of funds;
- prepare a decision to be considered by the GEF Council on the approval of the GBF Fund, with its own equitable governing body, to be dedicated exclusively to supporting the implementation of the GBF goals and targets;
- advance the necessary institutional and governance arrangements, to allow for the GBF Fund to receive, in addition to official development assistance, financing from all sources; and
- design and implement a project cycle with a simple and effective application and approval process, providing easy and efficient access to resources of the GBF Fund.
The COP further calls for immediate substantive contributions from all sources, in line with GBF target 19 (financial resources) and decides to undertake and act upon, at COP 18, a stocktake review of the operations and performance of the GBF Fund regarding its scale, speed, accessibility, and future arrangements.
The COP decides to conduct a review of the strategy for resource mobilization at COP 16 in alignment with the review of the GBF; and to explore the current financial landscape to assess gaps and overlaps and proposals for a global instrument on biodiversity finance to mobilize resources from all sources commensurate to GBF ambition.
It further establishes an Advisory Committee on Resource Mobilization to support strengthening the strategy, and invites parties and others to make submissions on their experience with the strategy.
Finally, the COP requests the Secretariat to: establish an expert group to present a decision on the financial elements in the GBF monitoring framework; to send a notification to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, inviting them to consider to voluntarily assume the obligations of developed countries in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention; and to continue collaboration with bilateral and multilateral funding mechanisms.
The annexed Resource Mobilization Strategy contains sections about the building blocks and structure for Phase I (2023-24). The ToR for the Advisory Committee on Resource Mobilization and for the expert group on financial reporting are also annexed.
Financial Mechanism: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I established a contact group, co-chaired by Greg Filyk (Canada) and Laura Bermudez (Colombia). The group met on Thursday, 15 December, Friday, 16 December, Saturday, 17 December, and Sunday, 18 December. On Monday, 19 December, WG I addressed a CRP. Drawing attention to the already approved GBF, parties agreed to delete the term “nature-positive,” and refer to the ecosystem approach and/or nature-based solutions. Delegates also agreed to the RUSSIAN FEDERATION’s amendment of a preambular paragraph to reaffirm, rather than welcome, the GEF’s obligation to ensure access to the financial mechanism for all eligible parties. On exploring ways to significantly improve access to funding from the eighth replenishment period of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF 8) for all recipients, disagreement persisted on the list of eligible countries. On this paragraph, IRAN requested adding the phrase, “removal of all barriers and restriction for all eligible parties.” Parties opposed and the phrase was bracketed.
The closing plenary addressed the draft decision. Contact group Co-Chair Bermudez presented compromise language: to refer to recipient countries rather than a longer reference to developing countries and subcategories; and on requesting the GEF, as appropriate, to ensure that its policies and procedures related to funding proposals be duly followed in an efficient and transparent manner. Expressing the expectation that funding is made accessible in a fair and equitable and easily accessible manner, IRAN said some countries have faced restrictions regarding accessing GEF funding, and requested removing all barriers and political restrictions on accessing funding, to be noted in the report. The decision was adopted as amended.
Final Decision: Reaffirming the importance of the full application of provisions of Article 21 and access to the financial mechanism for all eligible parties for full CBD implementation, the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.33): requests the GEF to include in its report to COP an explanation of how GEF 8 is contributing to CBD and GBF implementation; calls on the GEF to further reform its operations to ensure adequacy, predictability, and timely flow of funds by establishing easy and effective access modalities, including fast-track systems; and requests the Secretariat to collaborate with the GEF in fast-tracking GBF implementation, in particular for the intermediate phase (2023-24) of the Resource Mobilization Strategy.
The decision contains annexes containing the: four-year outcome-oriented framework of CBD programme priorities for GEF 8 aligned with the GBF; the consolidated previous guidance to the GEF; the ToR for the full assessment of the funds necessary for GEF 9; and the ToR for the sixth review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism. The COP decides to adopt at COP 16 a four-year outcome-oriented framework for GEF 9 aligned with the GBF; and requests the Secretariat to prepare the respective elements for consideration by SBI 4.
Regarding the GBF Fund, the decision introduces the same wording set out in the strategy on resource mobilization.
Capacity-building, and technical and scientific cooperation: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I established a contact group to address the matter, co-chaired by Haike Jan Haanstra (Netherlands) and Laura Bermudez (Colombia). The group met on Thursday, 8 December, Saturday, 10 December, Wednesday, 14 December, and Thursday, 15 December. Informal and ministerial consultations were also held. The decision was part of the President’s package, presented on Sunday, 18 December, and adopted early on 19 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.28), the COP takes into account the specific needs of developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing states, and countries with economies in transition, also taking into consideration the special situation of those that are most environmentally vulnerable, such as those with arid and semi-arid zones, coastal and mountainous areas, as well as IPLCs, women and youth. This detailed reference to developing countries is used throughout the decision. The COP then adopts the annexed long-term strategic framework for capacity building and development, to support priorities determined by parties in their NBSAPs for GBF implementation, urging its use by parties and others.
The COP further urges parties and invites others to: provide financial and technical support to biodiversity-related capacity building and development activities, taking into consideration the special circumstances of developing countries, in accordance with CBD Articles 20 and 21; and integrate capacity building in their NBSAPs and in development cooperation frameworks. It requests the Secretariat to promote the long-term strategic framework and facilitate the development of an island biodiversity capacity-building and development plan.
Regarding technical and scientific cooperation, the COP urges parties and invites others to recognize and promote the important role of science, technology, innovation, and other knowledge systems in supporting GBF implementation. It encourages parties, in accordance with CBD Article 20, in collaboration with relevant partners to promote, facilitate, and support the development of biodiversity-related technologies and innovations, including biotechnology, as well as locally-designed solutions and indigenous technologies of IPLCs, with their free, prior, and informed consent, to increase technology transfer for all parties, in particular for developing countries.
The decision includes annexes containing: mechanisms to strengthen technical and scientific cooperation in support of the GBF; the ToR for the respective informal advisory group; and a mechanism comprising a network of regional and/or subregional technical and scientific cooperation centers to be coordinated at the global level by a global cooperation center.
Knowledge management: This matter was briefly addressed by the contact group on capacity building, and technical and scientific cooperation. WG I reviewed a CRP on Monday, 19 December. Delegates agreed to delete a paragraph on generation of information with bracketed references to data-sharing policies and assistance for developing countries. Regarding the provision taking note of related initiatives, SWITZERLAND requested reference to the Bern process on cooperation between biodiversity-related conventions initiated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Delegates agreed to the CRP with minor changes.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.32), the COP invites biodiversity-related conventions, organizations, and others supporting the generation, discovery, capture, management, and use of biodiversity-related data, information and knowledge to contribute to the CBD Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM), to promote and facilitate collaboration among them with a view to making biodiversity-related data, information, and knowledge more readily available and accessible for biodiversity planning, policy, and decision making, implementation, monitoring, reporting, and review. The decision takes note of related initiatives, including the UNEP-initiated Bern Process, and the Amazon Regional Observatory of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization.
The COP further decides to extend the CHM Work Programme and update it in line with the GBF, and to urge parties and others to provide financial, technical, and human resources support. It finally requests the Secretariat to further develop the draft knowledge management component of the GBF for peer-review by parties in cooperation with the informal advisory group on technical and scientific cooperation, for review by Article 8(j) Working Group 12 and SBI 4, and the CHM portal to promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, and knowledge management.
Mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I established a contact group, co-chaired by Gillian Guthrie (Jamaica) and Andrew Stott (UK). The group met on Friday, 9 December, Saturday, 10 December, and Friday, 16 December. The decision was part of the President’s package, presented on Sunday, 18 December, and adopted early on 19 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.27), the COP adopts an enhanced multidimensional approach to planning, monitoring, reporting, and review with a view to enhancing implementation of the CBD and the GBF, comprising, among others:
- revised or updated NBSAPs as the main vehicle for GBF implementation;
- national reports submitted in 2026 and 2029;
- global analysis of information in NBSAPs to access contributions to GBF considered at COP 16 and each subsequent COP; and
- voluntary peer reviews.
The COP encourages parties to apply the adopted post-2020 Gender Plan of Action in all aspects and scales of planning, implementation, reporting, and review related to the GBF.
On planning, the COP adopts the guidance for revising and updating NBSAPs and encourages parties to adopt the revised or updated NBSAPs as policy and/or legal instruments. It urges parties to use the headline indicators and other indicators in relevant national planning processes.
On reporting, the COP adopts the guidelines for the seventh and eighth national reports, requesting parties to submit their seventh and eighth national reports to enable preparation of the global review. It requests parties to use headline indicators and provide responses on binary yes/no questions in the GBF monitoring framework and include quantitative and qualitative information on Goal D and target 19 on means of implementation.
On review, the COP decides to consider a global analysis of information from NBSAPs at COP 16 and each subsequent COP and conduct a global review of collective progress on GBF implementation at COP 17 and COP 19 based on national reports. It decides that the SBI will develop concrete procedures for the global review requesting SBSTTA 25 to provide scientific and technical advice.
On cooperation, synergies, and stakeholder engagement, the COP encourages parties to include in NBSAPs and national reports relevant actions to implement the commitments of biodiversity-related MEAs. It takes account of core reporting elements to be included in the online platform for the Sharm El-Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People.
On means of implementation, the COP requests parties and invites others to support enabling the enhanced multidimensional approach and requests the Secretariat to support its operationalization.
IPBES programme of work: WG II addressed the item on Thursday, 8 December. Following informal consultations, WG II approved a CRP on Tuesday, 13 December, which was adopted during the closing plenary.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.11), the COP welcomes the IPBES rolling work programme up to 2030, and work under the six objectives expected to contribute to GBF implementation.
It welcomes IPBES 8 approval of the thematic assessments on interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food, and health (“the nexus assessment”), and the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and determinants of transformative change (“the transformative change assessment”). It also welcomes IPBES 9 approval of the summaries for policy makers and the acceptance of the chapters of the Methodological Assessment of the Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature and the Thematic Assessment of the Sustainable Use of Wild Species, and takes note of progress in the thematic assessment on invasive alien species.
The COP welcomes IPBES and IPCC cooperation and takes note of the report and conclusions of the co-sponsored workshop on biodiversity and climate change, which encourages strengthening collaboration in relation to assessments.
It notes IPBES 10 will consider requests for a second global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services, an assessment on ecological connectivity, and potential additional fast track assessments, and invites IPBES to consider COP requests contained in the annex.
The COP requests the Secretariat to identify ways IPBES functions can contribute to the GBF review and monitoring process, and requests IPBES to contribute to the AHTEG on GBF indicators.
Cooperation with other conventions and international organizations: On Saturday, 17 December, WG I discussed a CRP. The closing plenary adopted the decision with an amendment to reflect agreed language on cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.21), the COP invites:
- the governing bodies of other biodiversity-related conventions and MEAs to formally endorse the GBF and to contribute to its implementation and monitoring;
- the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions to enhance cooperation, reduce inefficiencies, and facilitate synergies on key issues for the implementation of the GBF; and
- UNEP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN Environment Management Group, and the Global Partnership on Plant Conservation to enhance synergies on key areas under their expertise.
The COP urges parties and invites others to reinforce actions to enhance synergies in the implementation of the GBF, the SDGs, the biodiversity-related conventions, the Rio Conventions, and other relevant multilateral agreements and initiatives at the national level.
The COP further requests the Secretariat to actively engage in the Bern process on cooperation and, subject to the availability of resources, to:
- identify, develop, and provide information and technical support to encourage and assist other biodiversity-related conventions, MEAs, and others in contributing to GBF implementation, identify opportunities for cooperation, and provide a list of relevant initiatives to SBI 4;
- continue to implement key actions in decisions 14/30 and XIII/24 to enhance synergies among biodiversity-related conventions;
- continue working with UNPFII and the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent on topics related to biodiversity and traditional knowledge;
- advance the Joint Programme of Work on the Links between Biological and Cultural Diversity and to report on progress to the SBI and other mechanisms; and
- to exchange information with WHO on access to pathogens and benefit-sharing from the utilization of genetic resources in the context of ongoing WHO work on pandemic prevention and response.
Mainstreaming of biodiversity within and across sectors: WG I established a contact group, co-chaired by Co-Chairs Carlos Albuquerque (Portugal) and Stanislas Stephen Mouba (Gabon). The contact group met on Thursday, 15 December, and Saturday, 17 December. On Monday, 19 December, WG I considered a CRP on the long-term strategic approach to mainstreaming, containing a draft decision and the annexed voluntary and interim long-term strategic approach to mainstreaming biodiversity. WG I Chair Paterson pointed to a compromise provision that the annexed strategic approach is not a negotiated outcome of COP 15, is subject to further review by parties, and should not be considered as setting a precedent for other CBD decisions. Noting that a number of concepts in the annex go beyond the CBD mandate, BRAZIL, supported by ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, and IRAN, said that they could not support the CRP as presented, especially the annex, since it had not been negotiated nor reviewed by SBI 3 or COP 15. He recommended referring the issue to COP 16 with a request to parties to provide comments to the Secretariat, who should compile it for consideration at SBI 4.
Noting the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity, PERU urged approving the document with its substantive elements and, with MEXICO, called for maintaining the annex as the basis for future work, noting that it had been subject to peer review. MEXICO and COLOMBIA stressed that it was important to establish an AHTEG and continue discussions. The EU asked to continue discussions based on the CRP. The UK, the PHILIPPINES, and CHINA stressed the importance of having a COP 15 outcome on mainstreaming. CANADA suggested establishing the AHTEG but removing elements from the annex, as a compromise.
Following informal discussions, delegates agreed to a compromise consisting of three procedural paragraphs, and to delete all other operative paragraphs and the annex. Delegates agreed to the draft decision with these amendments. The closing plenary adopted the decision on the long-term strategic approach to mainstreaming biodiversity within and across sectors.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.34), the COP reiterates the critical importance of biodiversity mainstreaming to achieve the CBD objectives and the urgent need to mainstream biodiversity in line with the GBF. The decision also emphasizes the importance of intensified mainstreaming action to achieve the transformational change needed in order to attain the 2050 vision, acknowledging the specific challenges faced by developing countries and the need for adequate means of implementation.
The COP then: welcomes the work of the Informal Advisory Group on Biodiversity Mainstreaming, as reflected in the progress report to SBI 3, and compilations of new submissions; requests parties and others to submit their views on the draft long-term approach and associated action plan, and to identify ways forward to support GBF implementation; and requests the Secretariat to organize an open-ended online forum through the CHM, and compile the resulting views in a report, including on an interim process, for submission to SBI 4.
Engagement with subnational governments: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG I agreed that a CRP would be developed on the item. Delegates approved the CRP on Saturday, 17 December. The closing plenary adopted the decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.22), the COP recognizes the important role of subnational governments, cities, and other local authorities in the implementation of the CBD, and adopts an updated Plan of Action to 2030.
The COP invites parties to support the involvement of subnational governments in the revision, implementation, and update of NBSAPs, and in the development and implementation of their own strategies and action plans, also to improve the implementation of the GBF. It invites the GEF to consider further expanding and strengthening its sustainable cities initiatives and piloting other initiatives. It further requests the Secretariat to undertake a review of the role of subnational governments in the implementation of the CBD objectives, subject to the availability of resources.
Review of the effectiveness of processes under the Convention and its Protocols: WG II addressed the matter on Thursday, 8 December. On Friday, 9 December, delegates discussed a CRP, which was approved, following informal consultations, on Saturday, 10 December and adopted in plenary the same day.
Final Decisions: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.9), the COP reiterates the importance of ensuring the full and effective participation of developing country parties, particularly in meetings of the parties to the Protocols, by making funding available.
It encourages participation in hybrid meetings and, in virtual meetings in extraordinary circumstances, with the note that no final decisions must be taken virtually except for budgetary and procedural matters.
It requests the Secretariat to: compile views and experience and prepare options for procedures in conducting hybrid and, under extraordinary circumstances, virtual meetings, addressing issues about equity, participation, and legitimacy, for consideration by SBI 4; and prepare an analysis of options to further improve the effectiveness of meetings under the Convention, for consideration by SBI 4.
Mirrored decisions were adopted under the Protocols (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.11 and CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.8).
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.20), the COP: decides that the development of further guidance for policy development and implementation should support achievement of the goals and targets set out in the GBF; takes note of the annexed preliminary list of issues to be addressed during the period 2023-30, to be completed by the Secretariat and considered by COP 16; requests the Secretariat to propose specific elements that are aligned with GBF implementation, for consideration by SBSTTA 14, with a view to completing the list of issues to be considered at COP 17, 18 and 19; and decides to address standing and cross-cutting issues at each of its meetings.
Marine and Coastal Biodiversity: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG II established a contact group, which addressed this item on Thursday, 8 December, Friday, 9 December, and Saturday, 10 December. WG II approved three CRPs on Tuesday, 13 December, and the closing plenary adopted the decisions.
Final Decisions: Ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in the North-East Atlantic Ocean and adjacent areas: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.13), the COP acknowledges the Secretariat has successfully completed the series of regional workshops, covering most of the world’s oceans, facilitating the description of 338 areas meeting the criteria for EBSAs; and welcomes the summary reports prepared by SBSTTA 23 based on the report of the regional workshop to facilitate the description of EBSAs in the North-East Atlantic Ocean. The COP requests the Secretariat to include them in the EBSA repository and submit them to the UN General Assembly, parties, and others.
The addendum contains a summary report on the description of areas meeting the scientific criteria for EBSAs in the North-East Atlantic Ocean.
Ecologically or biologically significant marine areas: Further work: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.14), the COP extends the term of the Informal Advisory Group on EBSAs and requests the Secretariat to:
- convene expert workshops to review the technical aspects outlined in SBSTTA recommendations 24/10 and the legal issues pertaining to such modalities, and to provide the outcomes to SBSTTA or SBI meetings prior to COP 16 with a view to adopting modalities for modifying descriptions of EBSAs at COP 16;
- develop draft ToR for a “relevant expert advisory body” in the context of modalities for modifying the descriptions of EBSAs and describing new areas for consideration by SBSTTA prior to COP 16; and
- develop voluntary guidelines on peer-review processes for the description of areas meeting the criteria for EBSAs for consideration by SBSTTA prior to COP 16.
Conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.15), the COP urges parties and invites others to: take into account the assessments by IPBES and the Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment to implement the GBF; acknowledge the critical importance of marine and coastal biodiversity in the implementation of the GBF, highlighting the need for area-based marine conservation as set out in the GBF targets; and strengthen national, subregional, and regional efforts toward ocean accounting and economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by marine and coastal biodiversity to support decision-making.
The COP further requests the Secretariat to:
- facilitate the compilation, synthesis, and sharing of information and guidance on efforts to implement the GBF;
- compile submissions from parties and others to develop a strategic review and analysis of the programme of work on island biodiversity in the context of supporting the implementation of the GBF, and to prepare a draft update for consideration by SBSTTA prior to COP 16;
- identify potential options for modalities for collaboration and cooperation with relevant global and regional organizations in the context of the international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, upon its adoption;
- support, subject to the availability of resources, implementation of marine spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management;
- prepare a compilation and synthesis of information on efforts for the identification and recognition of other effective area-based conservation measures and for the establishment and management of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures in marine and coastal areas; and
- enhance cooperation with respect to various thematic issues related to marine and coastal biodiversity to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the SDGs, and with respect to climate change, and marine and coastal biodiversity.
Invasive alien species (IAS): WG II considered the item on Wednesday, 7 December. Following informal consultations, WG II approved a CRP on Tuesday, 13 December, which was adopted during the closing plenary.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.12), the COP takes note: of the outcomes of the online forum and the meeting of the AHTEG on IAS; and, with appreciation, of the ongoing work of IPBES on the IAS thematic assessment. It urges parties and invites others to: foster monitoring of the effects of alien translocated or captively raised populations on the genetic diversity of local native populations; take adequate actions to address any detrimental effects; and share knowledge and best practices.
The COP further requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to:
- prepare a draft proposal to the Economic and Social Council’s Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods on a globally harmonized labelling system for consignments of environmentally hazardous living organisms or propagules;
- collaborate with the World Tourism Organization and continue collaboration with the International Plant Protection Convention, as well as other members of the Inter-agency Liaison Group on Invasive Species;
- develop advice on the evaluation of existing capacity and needs for monitoring, preventing, and controlling the introduction and spread of IAS, and additional training materials; and
- organize a peer-review process to solicit advice, convene a moderated open-ended online forum on the results of the peer-review process, and make the outcomes available for consideration by SBSTTA, with a view to making recommendations to COP 16 on Annexes I-VI.
Annex I includes draft methods for cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis that best apply to the management of IAS. Annex II contains draft methods, tools, and measures for identification and minimization of additional risks associated with cross-border e-commerce in living organisms and the impacts thereof. Annex III addresses draft methods, tools, and strategies for the management of IAS as it relates to prevention of potential risks arising from climate change and associated natural disasters and land use changes. Annex IV contains the draft risk analysis on the potential consequences of the introduction of IAS on social, economic, and cultural values. Annex V focuses on the draft use of existing databases on IAS and their impacts, to support risk communication. Annex VI includes draft additional advice and technical guidance on IAS management.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.5), the COP requests the Secretariat, in consultation with parties, other governments, IPLCs, members of the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management, and other stakeholders and rights holders to:
- complete the work mandated by decision 14/7, including identifying other areas beyond the wild meat sector that may require complementary guidance, making full use of the 2020 Consultative Workshop on Sustainable Wildlife Management Beyond 2020 report and the results of the survey on sustainable wildlife management;
- continue close collaboration with the IPBES Secretariat, including on implications of the IPBES thematic assessment on the sustainable use of wild species, for GBF implementation;
- collaborate with all relevant actors and stakeholders to promote the mainstreaming of the sustainable use of biodiversity, in particular of wild species, into all relevant sectors;
- collaborate and enhance synergies with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), FAO, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and other relevant MEAs in the field of sustainable use of wildlife; and
- report on the progress of the above activities and formulate recommendations for CBD future work on sustainable wildlife management for consideration by SBSTTA at its meeting prior to COP 16.
Biodiversity and climate change: On Thursday, 8 December, WG II addressed the item and established a Friends of the Chair group. Discussions took place also in a contact group, which convened on Wednesday, 14 December, and Thursday, 15 December. On Friday, 16 December, WG II debated a CRP, eventually deciding to defer consideration of the item to a SBSTTA meeting prior to COP 16 due to lack of consensus on reference to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, among other issues. The closing plenary adopted the decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.19), the COP requests parties and invites others to submit views and information on biodiversity and climate change. It further requests the Secretariat to compile these for SBSTTA, at its meeting to be held prior to COP 16.
Biodiversity and agriculture: On Thursday, 8 December, WG II addressed this item and established a contact group. On Tuesday, 13 December, delegates approved a CRP, which was adopted by the closing plenary.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.16), the COP, among other things:
- adopts the Plan of Action 2020-2030 for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity, encouraging parties and others to support its implementation and related capacity building and development; and
- urges parties to address the direct and indirect drivers of soil biodiversity loss and land degradation, and to provide financial and technical support, in accordance with CBD Article 20 (financial resources) to enable developing country parties, in particular least developed countries, small island developing states, and economies in transition, to promote the research, technology transfer, monitoring, and assessment of soil biodiversity.
Annexed to the decision is the Plan of Action 2020-2030 on soil biodiversity, including an introduction and sections on: purpose and objectives; scope and principles; global actions; and key elements and activities.
Biodiversity and health: On Thursday, 8 December, WG II addressed this item and established a Friends of the Chair group, which met on Wednesday, 14 December. On Friday, 16 December, WG II approved a CRP, with one outstanding issue to be resolved in accordance with the DSI negotiations. The closing plenary adopted the decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.17), the COP notes relevant resolutions on the rights to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, and to access to medicines, vaccines, and other health products. It makes multiple references to the One Health and other holistic approaches. It encourages parties and others to take actions for a sustainable, biodiversity-friendly, and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It also invites the Quadripartite Alliance for One Health and others to take into account the linkages between health and biodiversity as well as the concepts of equity and solidarity.
The COP further invites the GEF, parties, and others to consider providing support for mainstreaming biodiversity and health linkages. It requests the Secretariat to produce and consult on an updated version of the draft global action plan for biodiversity and health, and report back to SBSTTA for consideration by COP 16.
Nature and culture: WG I addressed the item on Wednesday, 7 December, and agreed that a CRP should be developed. On Saturday, 10 December, delegates approved the CRP. Plenary adopted the decision without amendments the same day.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.10), the COP renews its commitment to the Joint Work Programme on the Links between Biological and Cultural Diversity to be promoted by the CBD Secretariat, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), other relevant partners, in particular IPLCs, taking a whole-of-society view and an integrated approach with full respect for human and IPLC rights, with the aim of supporting national and subnational GBF implementation, fully incorporating the added value of biocultural diversity.
It requests the Secretariat and invites UNESCO and other relevant partners to:
- explore and consider inter-agency mechanisms, such as the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions, to ensure complementarity of efforts, avoiding unnecessary overlap and duplication and maximizing efficiencies, to identify and overcome challenges, and promote lessons learned at a relevant scale towards the goal of the joint programme; and
- implement the annexed elements and tasks related to the joint programme of work on the links between biological and cultural diversity, along with a broad coalition of partners, with full and effective IPLC participation.
The COP welcomes the annexed elements and tasks related to the joint work programme, and encourages parties to all relevant conventions to strengthen collaboration and coordination and to contribute to and support the joint work programme on the links between biological and cultural diversity.
Synthetic biology: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG II addressed the item and established a contact group, which convened on Thursday, 8 December, Tuesday, 13 December and Wednesday, 14 December. On Friday, 16 December, WG II approved a CRP with minor amendments. The closing plenary adopted the decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/COP/15/L.18), the COP decides to not conclude—and not require further analysis—on whether synthetic biology is a new and emerging issue. It establishes a process for broad and regular horizon scanning, monitoring, and assessment of the most recent technological developments in synthetic biology and “agrees to start its work for one intersessional period.” To support the process, the COP establishes an AHTEG, adopts its ToR, and invites parties and others to submit information and facilitate cooperation and capacity building.
The COP further requests the Secretariat to convene online discussions and at least one AHTEG meeting, facilitate international cooperation, and report on the outcomes and operation of the horizon scanning process for consideration by SBSTTA and COP 16.
Cartagena Protocol MOP 10
MOP 10 decisions on the administration and budget, and review of effectiveness of processes under the Convention and its Protocols are included in this report’s section on the CBD COP.
Report of the Compliance Committee: WG II considered the recommendations of the Compliance Committee (CBD/CP/MOP/10/2) on Thursday, 8 December, and approved a CRP on Friday, 9 December. Plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.3), the MOP reminds parties of their obligations under the Protocol, urges them to provide voluntary funds in support of parties with compliance action plans, and requests the Secretariat to deliver a survey and report on parties’ barriers to national reporting and other obligations.
Implementation plan and capacity-building action plan: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG II addressed the item and established a contact group, which met on Friday, 9 December and Saturday, 10 December, and produced a CRP, with outstanding matters linked to the negotiations on the financial mechanism and resources. On Tuesday, 13 December, WG II approved two CRPs, in accordance with the CRP on financial mechanism and resources. The closing plenary adopted two decisions without substantial amendments.
Final Decisions: In the first decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.13), the MOP adopts an Implementation Plan to support the implementation of the Protocol and the GBF. The Implementation Plan features goals and objectives reflecting the obligations under the Protocol, as well as indicators and targeted outcomes. The indicators are to be included in the reporting under the Protocol, and SBI 5 is to consider a midterm evaluation of the Plan.
In a second, related decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.14), the MOP also adopts a Capacity-building Action Plan, which: identifies key areas for capacity building related to the different goals of the Implementation Plan; facilitates the engagement of partners, including donors; fosters a coherent and coordinated approach to capacity building for the implementation of the Protocol; and promotes regional and international cooperation and coordination.
The Action Plan features the same goals as the Implementation Plan, and identifies key areas for capacity building, capacity-building activities, indicators, and outcomes. Both plans cover the period up to 2030, and may be subject to a midterm evaluation at MOP 12.
Monitoring and reporting: WG II addressed the item on Wednesday, 7 December. On Friday, 9 December, delegates approved a CRP without substantial amendments. Plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.4), the MOP recalls CP Article 33 and decision CP-9/5, requesting parties to prepare and submit to the Secretariat their fourth national report on the implementation of the Protocol, and decision CP-9/5 to have a synchronized national reporting cycle.
On the fourth national reports on the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol, the MOP welcomes 135 complete reports submitted through the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH). It expresses concern about the low numbers of reports submitted, and delays in submitting the projects to the GEF to support preparation of the reports, and urges parties that have not submitted their fourth national reports to do so as soon as possible .
On the fifth national reports on the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol, the MOP welcomes the draft format, and requests the Secretariat to make necessary adjustments to the questions in light of the final text of the indicators of the post-2020 Implementation Plan and make the final format available online through the BCH.
The MOP requests parties to use the final format for preparation of their fifth national report, inviting them to prepare the reports through a consultative process involving IPLCs, women, youth, and all relevant stakeholders.
It stresses the importance of timely submission to facilitate the mid-term evaluation of the Implementation Plan for the Protocol, and requests parties to submit their reports at the same time as the seventh national reports under the Convention.
The MOP recognizes the fifth national reports will also be an important source of information for measuring progress under the Protocol’s Capacity-building Action Plan. It urges eligible parties to submit letters of commitment to the implementation in a timely manner to ensure projects can be submitted to the GEF for approval well before the deadline for report submission.
Assessment and review of effectiveness and final evaluation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020: WG II addressed this item on Wednesday, 7 December, and decided that a CRP should be prepared. The CRP was approved on Friday, 9 December, and the decision was adopted by the plenary on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.9), the MOP reiterates parties’ obligations under the Protocol and urges parties to introduce biosafety legislation and to mainstream biosafety. It notes unfulfilled capacity-building needs in most regions and urges parties and others to mobilize resources from all sources. It identifies particular needs relating to risk assessment and risk management, and to LMO detection, identification, assessment, and monitoring, also in appropriate laboratory facilities.
The MOP urges parties and others to share and update information via the BCH, including on national authorities, requirements, and decisions on risk assessments, on socio-economic considerations, and on interactions with the public, in particular IPLCs, women, and youth. Noting the rapid development of biotechnologies, it encourages parties to support effective participation in respective research activities.
Matters related to the financial mechanism and resources: On Thursday, 8 December, WG II addressed this item and agreed that a CRP should be developed. WG II discussed the CRP on Tuesday, 13 December. The closing plenary adopted the decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.12), the MOP welcomes GEF 8 and notes with concern that very few projects were presented for supporting the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol during GEF 7. It urges parties to include biosafety projects in their utilization of the funding allocated to them for GEF 8 and invites the GEF Council to examine the possibility of creating a finance window specifically for the Cartagena Protocol.
The MOP recommends that the COP, in adopting its guidance to the GEF, invite the GEF to: strengthen its funding programme dedicated to the Cartagena Protocol; improve and simplify the modalities for access; continue to make funds available in a timely manner to support preparation and submission of parties’ fifth national reports; and continue to assist eligible parties in undertaking activities in a number of areas linked to the implementation of the Protocol.
The MOP further requests the Secretariat to identify and communicate sources of funding for biosafety, and analyze the effectiveness of the financial mechanism for the implementation of the Protocol in the sixth review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism, while considering the relevance and process of creating a standalone window for biosafety for consideration by MOP 11.
Operation and activities of the Biosafety Clearing-House: On Wednesday, 7 December, WG II addressed the item and agreed that a CRP should be prepared. On Friday, 9 December, WG II approved the CRP without substantial amendments. Plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.7), the MOP calls upon parties and others to publish information available at the national level on the BCH and review previous records to ensure accuracy.
It further requests the Secretariat to:
- continue to maintain and make necessary improvements to the BCH, including necessary translations, using the Bioland tool, and taking into account the knowledge management component of the GBF;
- develop capacity-building materials on the new functionalities of the BCH;
- explore options for and implement a coordinated approach across the clearing-houses; and
- continue collaborating with other biosafety-related databases and organizations.
Cooperation with other organizations: The MOP took note of a report on the matter (CBD/CP/MOP/10/8).
Risk assessment and risk management: WG II considered the item on Wednesday, 7 December, and established a contact group, which met on the same day. On Thursday, 8 December, delegates agreed that a CRP should be prepared. WG II approved the CRP on Friday, 9 December, and plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.8), the MOP welcomes the analysis by the AHTEG on LMOs containing engineered gene drives and living modified fish, and decides to establish an AHTEG on risk assessment to, among other things, develop additional voluntary guidance materials to support case-by-case risk assessment of LMOs containing engineered gene drives, inviting parties and others to submit relevant information. The MOP decides not to proceed, at this stage, with the development of additional voluntary guidance materials on risk assessment regarding living modified fish.
The MOP further requests the Secretariat to:
- convene, subject to the availability of resources, two meetings of the AHTEG, with at least one of them as a face-to-face meeting;
- convene discussions of the online forum on risk assessment and risk management, collecting and synthesizing relevant information as well as the forum’s discussions;
- ensure the full and effective participation of IPLCs;
- explore ways to facilitate and support capacity building, knowledge sharing, and technology transfer regarding risk assessment and risk management of LMOs; and
- commission, subject to the availability of resources, a study on the procedure for avoiding or managing conflicts of interest in expert groups.
The MOP requests SBSTTA 26 to consider the outcomes of the AHTEG, and decides that, at MOP 11, additional issues on which guidance materials on risk assessment may be needed, will be considered. The annex to the decision contains the ToR for the AHTEG.
Detection and identification of LMOs: WG II discussed this item on Wednesday, 7 December, and agreed that a CRP could be prepared. Delegates addressed the CRP on Friday, 9 December, and approved it, following discussion. On Saturday, 10 December, plenary adopted the decision without substantial amendments.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.10), the MOP invites parties and others to submit information on their experience with detecting newly developed and unauthorized LMOs, and developing reference materials, as well as ongoing collaborations involving national and regional laboratories, to the BCH. This information will be considered by SBSTTA 25 or 26 and MOP 11 regarding the need to update the training manual on the detection and identification of LMOs.
The MOP urges parties to provide financial resources, in particular for developing countries, to laboratories and to strengthen the infrastructure for detection and identification of LMOs, and encourages parties and others to fund capacity building of relevant personnel. It further requests the Secretariat to synthesize information and submit a report to MOP 11, and further enhance capacity building including the convening, subject to the availability of resources, of regional and subregional capacity-building activities.
Socio-economic considerations: On Thursday, 8 December, WG II addressed this item and agreed that a CRP could be prepared. Delegates approved a CRP on Friday, 9 December. Plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.6), the MOP invites parties and others to share experiences on taking into account socio-economic considerations in decision-making on LMOs, including, as appropriate, on using the relevant voluntary guidance.
It requests the Secretariat to contact parties that have indicated in their fourth national report having relevant experiences, compile all related information, and submit it to MOP 11.
Nagoya–Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress: WG II considered this item on Wednesday, 7 December, and agreed that a CRP should be prepared. Delegates approved the CRP on Friday, 9 December, and plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.5), the MOP advocates for awareness-raising and capacity-building activities to support further ratifications and implementation of the Supplementary Protocol, and reminds parties of their respective obligations.
It requests the Secretariat to deliver a survey and report on the measures by governments to provide financial security for damage from LMOs. It also opts for the concurrent assessment and review of the effectiveness of both the Supplementary Protocol and the Cartagena Protocol.
Nagoya Protocol MOP 4
Decisions on the administration and budget, review of effectiveness of processes under the Convention and its Protocols, and DSI are included in this report’s section on the CBD COP.
Report of the Compliance Committee: On Thursday, 8 December, WG II addressed the report (CBD/NP/MOP/4/2) and decided that a CRP should be prepared. Delegates approved the CRP on Friday, 9 December. Plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.4), the MOP reminds parties of their obligations under the Protocol, with emphasis on designating checkpoints, making national information available, and reporting. It advocates for additional resources to support the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol (NP), and reminds parties of the concurrent reviews of the compliance procedures and the effectiveness of the Protocol.
Financial mechanism and resources: WG II considered the item on Thursday, 8 December, and decided that a CRP should be prepared. Delegates then addressed the CRP on Friday, 9 December, and approved it, following discussion. Plenary adopted the decision on Saturday, 10 December.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.7), regarding the financial mechanism, the MOP welcomes GEF 8 and the support it makes available to parties to the Protocol, and the Biodiversity Focal Area Strategy contained in the programming directions for GEF 8 with an objective relating to the Protocol’s effective implementation.
It urges eligible parties to prioritize ABS projects during GEF 8, and encourages parties to incorporate ABS in projects developed under other objectives of the biodiversity focal area, and to cooperate at the global, regional, and subregional levels. It recommends requesting the GEF to continue providing and enhancing support for joint projects, to maximize synergies and opportunities for cost-effective sharing of resources, information, experiences, and expertise. It further recommends that the COP invite the GEF to make financial resources available in a timely manner to eligible parties to assist them in meeting their reporting obligations under the Protocol.
The MOP recommends inclusion of the following elements for the 2022-26 outcome-oriented framework for programme priorities for GEF 8:
- specific priorities for continued capacity building to support implementation of the Protocol;
- support for integration and mainstreaming of ABS in biodiversity and sustainable development-related policies and activities; and
- support for the development and sustainment of long-term institutional capacities for managing, monitoring, and evaluating national ABS frameworks.
It invites parties to participate actively in the sixth review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism; and requests the Secretariat to: provide information on related funding opportunities to eligible parties; and in the context of the sixth review, collect views and information from eligible parties on their experiences and utilize GEF funds and on possible barriers to regional collaboration.
Regarding resource mobilization, the MOP requests the technical expert group on financial reporting to also consider financial reporting related to resource mobilization for the Nagoya Protocol. It encourages parties to consider resource mobilization for the Nagoya Protocol in the context of the resource mobilization strategy for the post-2020 period, and in particular, to include provisions for the Protocol’s implementation in national biodiversity finance plans, taking into account CBD Article 20 and NP Article 25 on financial resources.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.5), the MOP acknowledges the findings and recommendations regarding the 2014 strategic framework for capacity building and development. It extends the mandate of the Informal Advisory Committee to support the revision of the framework until MOP 5, expanding it to representatives of business, research, and youth. It requests the Secretariat to prepare a revised strategic framework for consideration by SBI 4 and MOP 5, thereby taking into account the awareness-raising strategy.
It urges parties and others to expand their efforts to build and develop the capacities of developing country parties. It identifies specific priorities for continued capacity building and development including: developing ABS legislation; enhancing compliance with domestic legislation; supporting the participation of IPLCs; measuring monetary and non-monetary benefits; raising awareness; and communicating strategically.
ABS Clearing-House: WG II addressed this item on Wednesday, 7 December, and agreed that a CRP should be prepared. On Friday, 9 December, WG II approved the CRP, and on Saturday, 10 December, plenary adopted the decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.3), the MOP invites parties and others to support capacity-building and development activities, and requests the Secretariat to continue developing and administering the ABS Clearing-House and take into account the knowledge management component of the GBF when updating it.
Monitoring and reporting: WG II considered the item on Wednesday, 7 December. Delegates agreed that a CRP should be prepared, which they discussed on Friday, 9 December. On Saturday, 10 December, plenary adopted the decision as amended.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/10/L.6), the MOP adopts the guidelines and format for submission for the first national report on NP implementation.
It requests the Secretariat to: make the guidelines and format available through the ABS Clearing-House; assist parties for whom direct online submission is technically not feasible to publish their results; and consolidate information contained in the reports for consideration of MOP 6, as a contribution to the second assessment and review of effectiveness of the Nagoya Protocol.
It requests parties to submit their first report and welcomes submissions from non-parties at the same time as the seventh national reports under the Convention.
It decides to keep the format of the national report under review, based on feedback from parties and the experience gained, and to reflect all articles of the Nagoya Protocol in the reporting format.
Cooperation with other international organizations: The MOP took note of the report (CBD/NP/MOP/4/8).
Enhancing the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in the context of the GBF: This decision was developed to reflect the adoption of the GBF in the context of the Nagoya Protocol. The closing plenary adopted it without substantial amendments.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.12), the MOP welcomes the COP decision adopting the GBF and endorses the framework. The MOP further invites parties to make use of the approach to planning, monitoring, reporting, and review under the Convention to enhance the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the integration of ABS in revised or updated NBSAPs.
Specialized international ABS instruments: Delegates addressed the item in WG II on Thursday, 8 December, and in an informal group on Thursday, 15 December. On Friday, 16 December, delegates approved a CRP. The closing plenary adopted the decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.9), the MOP decides to further review the item at MOP 5 on the basis of SBI recommendation 3/16.
Global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism: On Thursday, 8 December, WG II addressed this item and agreed to postpone its consideration. The closing plenary adopted the relevant decision.
Final Decision: In the decision (CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.10), the MOP decides to revisit the issue at its fifth meeting.
Held on Thursday, 15 December, Friday, 16 December, and Saturday, 17 December, the high-level segment featured statements from ministers and high-level UN representatives, reports from the major events held parallel to COP 15, including the fifth Science-Policy Forum and the Nature and Culture Summit, and contributions from different constituencies who outlined their contribution to implementation of the GBF.
The closing plenary convened on Monday, 19 December. Delegates heard from Robert, representing two billion children, who shared the thoughts of six-year-old Anaya from India on intergenerational responsibilities related to biodiversity conservation.
Plenary then adopted decisions under the Convention and its Protocols, the budget, and the report of the meeting (CBD/COP/15/PART/II/L.1, and Add.1-2, CBD/CP/MOP/10/L.1, and CBD/NP/MOP/4/L.1). The EU requested recording in the report of the meeting their regret regarding the outcome on biodiversity and climate change, noting that parties have collectively lost work achieved over the last four years. On the decision on the financial mechanism, IRAN asked to note in the report its request to remove all barriers and political restrictions on accessing funding under the GEF. NORWAY announced a contribution of NOK 10 million (approximately USD 1 million) for the intersessional work on DSI.
Election of officers: During nomination of regional representatives for the Bureau, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION highlighted politicization of environmental meetings, pointing to the recent adoption of a Ramsar Convention resolution on the environment emergency relating to damage to Ramsar wetlands in Ukraine. She noted that the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region could not agree to nomination of officials by consensus, calling for secret-ballot elections in plenary in line with the rules of procedure. GEORGIA, the CZECH REPUBLIC, and ESTONIA noted that, following five candidacies for the Bureau and two for the position of SBSTTA Chair, the members of the group conducted the nomination procedure by majority vote, due to lack of consensus.
The CBD legal officer presented the option that all parties with valid credentials should engage in a secret vote to finalize the CEE nominations for the Bureau. The required quorum, however, was not reached. Following hours of consultations, delegates decided to suspend the meeting, so that the term of the current Bureau is extended until COP 15 can be resumed.
COP 16 date and venue: Plenary adopted a decision that CBD COP 16, CP MOP 11, and NP MOP 5 will be held in Türkiye in the last half of 2024 (CBD/COP/15/L.35).
Closing statements: Many delegates expressed their appreciation to COP 15 President Huang Runqiu for leading the negotiations to a successful conclusion, including with a standing ovation.
CANADA said they are proud to have hosted and played a part in the negotiations, noting that the GBF is “bigger than any of us and a gift into the future” requiring collective attention to implementation.
Senegal, for the AFRICAN GROUP, thanked all parties for the compromises they made to arrive at a strong consensus and expressed the region’s continuing commitment to its accomplishment. Pakistan, for ASIA PACIFIC, welcomed the overall agreement and especially the outcome on DSI, and urged exploration of innovative financing that is easily accessible.
Reflecting on the journey to and at Montreal, Argentina, for the LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN GROUP, referred to this last intersessional period as the most challenging in CBD history, welcoming that it resulted in a balanced package. The EU referred to the GBF as a decision of historic proportions requiring a continued spirit of cooperation in its implementation.
Norway, for JUSSCANNZ, called the GBF a turning point for nature with the world coming together to halt human induced extinction and pledged to deliver on the commitments, welcoming the strong theme of respecting IPLC rights. Palau, for SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES (SIDS), referred to the long-standing recognition of the special circumstances of SIDS and welcomed their inclusion in the GBF while noting that the GBF could have been stronger on climate and oceans.
BRAZIL announced handing over the chairing of the Group of Like-minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC) to Indonesia, drawing attention to establishment of a partnership on tropical forests with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia. TAJIKISTAN, also on behalf of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, expressed concerns regarding visa issuance, and their wish to be part of the Central and Eastern European group. NORWAY, also on behalf of Australia and 35 other countries, underlined the importance of oceans, and referred to their written statement relating to marine and coastal biodiversity.
The GLOBAL YOUTH BIODIVERSITY NETWORK said that recognition of IPLC rights in the GBF is a “huge milestone” for biodiversity policy, while highlighting gaps on finance and means of implementation and the need to “pay the colonial and intergenerational debt.” Noting that the GBF as adopted is neither transformational nor ambitious, the CBD ALLIANCE lamented the fact that it fails to address the root causes of biodiversity loss and systematic injustices.
Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, underscored that the UN system, committed to a whole-of-society approach for nature and biodiversity, stands ready to support the rapid implementation of the GBF. CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema stressed that the long journey that started in Sharm El-Sheikh four years ago was concluded, making history by adopting an ambitious and achievable GBF. Quoting Nelson Mandela, she emphasized that “it always seems impossible until it is done.” She thanked all participants for their hard work, devotion, and spirit of compromise, and presented a token of appreciation to the Co-Chairs of the Working Group on the GBF Francis Ogwal (Uganda) and Basile van Havre (Canada).
Following the screening of two videos on the COP 15 negotiations and the next host, Türkiye, COP President Huang highlighted that commitment to multilateralism allowed the adoption of a robust, ambitious, transformative, and balanced package to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, and put the planet on a path to recovery for the benefit of all humanity and future generations. He thanked all those who contributed to the success of the conference, and emphasized that the GBF is an exciting new beginning for global biodiversity governance. He suspended the meeting at 1:01 am on Tuesday, 20 December.
A Brief Analysis of the UN Biodiversity Conference
“Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long as your values don’t change.” – Jane Goodall
The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was all about compromise as it adopted a hard-fought, well-balanced new Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The GBF provides the background itself: approximately 25% of species in assessed animal and plant groups are threatened, and the global rate of species extinction is at least tens to hundreds of times higher than over the past 10 million years. Apart from the food and fibre it provides, biodiversity contributes to the overall well-being of people through economic opportunities and leisure activities. The main drivers of the unprecedented biodiversity loss are changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species.
The magnitude of the challenge of biodiversity loss suggests that only transformational change can bend the curve. Transformative thinking is necessary at a whole-of-society level, with all economic activities in need of reassessment through a biodiversity lens. Facilitating this transformative process was the key task of the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference, which in the end adopted numerous decisions under the Convention and its Protocols. The meeting encountered high expectations from civil society and broad attention from the media. “The world is watching you,” delegates were reminded throughout the two-week meeting. With the GBF, parties delivered the expected renewed roadmap to 2030, a milestone towards the vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050.
This brief analysis evaluates the process behind the major decisions and assesses the ambition and transformative potential of the outcome of the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
Parties adopted the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the previous CBD framework to “take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity,” for the 2011-2020 decade. The new GBF was supposed to be adopted as its replacement in late 2020 in Kunming, China, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed both the COP and the GBF. The waiting period for an in-person COP turned out to be more than two years, and some preparatory meetings by subsidiary bodies, working groups, and consultative bodies had to be held in a virtual format. The discussion at this COP on the review of the effectiveness of processes made it clear that virtual meetings were a challenging experience for many. Technical insufficiencies, time zone differences, and impeded informal consultations made for a less than ideal situation to lay the groundwork for a new biodiversity framework.
Delegates convened five meetings of the Working Group (WG) on the GBF beginning in 2019, including a meeting immediately before COP 15. Participants were reminded of an accordion as they observed the negotiation text expanding and reduced in several intervals. The WG Co-Chairs had initially provided a “zero draft,” which later became a first draft with the addition of parties’ proposals. Before the final WG meeting, an informal group had streamlined the first draft, which then was again filled with parties’ insertions a few days before the COP. While this process seemed inefficient, it did ensure that delegates and other participants developed a good understanding of the various positions and interests at stake.
As part of the WG meetings, participants also explored options for a global mechanism for benefit-sharing from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources. An Informal Advisory Group provided input by elaborating policy options spanning the whole spectrum from bilateral to hybrid to multilateral approaches. To the surprise of many, the complex and controversial topic of DSI generated productive discussions and progressed relatively quickly. This was likely fueled by developing country delegates repeatedly indicating that they considered benefit-sharing from the use of DSI an indispensable part of any GBF. These developments were mirrored at the COP itself where discussions on DSI progressed faster than on the GBF.
The interrelationships between many different items proved one of the main challenges standing in the way of progress until the final days of COP 15. In a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, many delegates were not ready to commit to ambitious targets under the draft GBF if there was no commitment on robust resource mobilization, and vice versa. Also, participants observed a disconnect between the high-level plenaries where ministers from developed and developing countries alike were advocating for an ambitious GBF, and the contact groups where negotiators refused to budge. This led to the prompt by contact group co-chairs that ministers would have to resolve contentious issues in the little time they had available if delegates weren’t ready to compromise. Informal ministerial consultations did indeed lead to considerable progress on resource mobilization and DSI. Still, the inherent interconnectedness of items led to the realization that a package had to be submitted to plenary for integrated consideration. The final package consisted of six key items including: the GBF; its monitoring framework; resource mobilization; DSI; capacity building; and planning, monitoring, reporting, and review. The package was circulated through non-papers or President’s texts.
Even though this process facilitated the ‘give and take’ and proved successful in the end, it left some participants wondering how and by whom the resolution of hundreds of pairs of brackets—indicating text that had yet to be agreed—had been delivered. The four-year long negotiation process had surely led to an adequate understanding of positions and interests, but the take-it-or-leave-it package at the end might have left some participants bereft of true ownership of the outcome. However, it did enable those who had designated ‘red lines’ during the negotiation process to save face when their positions weren’t reflected in the final text. One participant wondered whether this recurring pattern of finalizing complex, voluminous, and difficult negotiations will eventually lead to changes in the way such negotiations are tackled from the beginning.
What is more, the procedurally controversial, hastily gaveled adoption of the package in the wee hours of Monday morning, 19 December, just hours before the COP was due to conclude, against the stated objection of one party, could have cast a shadow on this COP. However, a moment of reconciliation later that afternoon helped to rectify the situation, and opposition was moderated to a reservation in the report of the meeting. Hence, the COP ended on a celebratory note.
“There comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness … that time is now.” – Wangari Maathai
The GBF was welcomed by many as a triumph for the world, a symbol of what unites us, and a bold step towards a future for our children and generations to come. It is described as a finely tuned and well-balanced package, which leaves everyone in a similar state between happiness and unhappiness.
Compared to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the new GBF is more inclusive, more comprehensive, more SMART (as in more specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound), but also more complex.
Targets 1 to 8 aim to reduce threats to biodiversity, with two targets standing out for increased ambition compared to the previous targets: to effectively conserve 30% of terrestrial, inland water, coastal, and marine areas through protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2030 (was 17% for terrestrial and inland water, and 10% for coastal and marine areas by 2020); and to ensure that at least 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal, and marine ecosystems are under effective restoration by 2030 (was 15% by 2020). These core targets are complemented by targets that are more specific compared to the previous targets. They relate to spatial planning, reducing loss of high biodiversity areas, halting human-induced extinctions, sustainable harvesting of wild species, mitigating the impact of invasive alien species, reducing risks from excess nutrients and pesticides (by at least half), and minimizing the impact from climate change.
Targets 9 to 13 aim at meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing. The core concerns are to sustainably manage wild species and primary industry areas, to preserve ecosystem functions and services, and to ensure benefit-sharing from the use of genetic resources. Target 12 aims for improved connectivity of biodiversity through green and blue spaces in urban areas, something that was not included in the Aichi Targets.
Targets 14 to 23 relate to the tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming. Most importantly, the resource mobilization targets have been quantified compared to the vagueness of the respective Aichi Target. Target 19 aims to substantially and progressively increase the level of financial resources from all sources to at least USD 200 billion per year by 2030, including by increasing transfer from developed to developing countries to at least USD 20 billion per year by 2025, and at least USD 30 billion per year by 2030. The USD 200 billion target includes resources for domestic implementation but leaves open the enumerated amount domestic, international, public, and private resources are supposed to contribute to the overall target. Parties also ambitiously committed to reform subsidies and other incentives harmful to biodiversity and reduce them by at least USD 500 billion per year by 2030. Target 15 commits parties to take measures to encourage and enable the private sector to disclose and act on negative impacts on biodiversity.
Section C on “considerations for the implementation of the framework” makes the GBF a more inclusive and holistic system than its predecessor. It first reiterates the important roles and contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) as custodians of biodiversity and partners in conservation, and their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international instruments. It refers to different value systems including the concept of living in harmony with Mother Earth, which played an important role during the negotiations. It also places the GBF under a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, which includes gender equality, a human rights-based approach, intergenerational equity, and interlinkages between biodiversity and health. It also acknowledges that each party will contribute in accordance with national circumstances, priorities, and capabilities.
“We can now destroy or we can cherish, the choice is ours.” – Sir David Attenborough
The GBF, the new roadmap to living in harmony with nature, aims to facilitate, enable, and fund action necessary to address biodiversity loss. It is expected to strengthen biodiversity policies at all levels in the public and private sector, particularly through the update of national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs). Moreover, with the indicators adopted by this COP, policy action can be better measured, reported on, evaluated, and reviewed, which is expected to enable implementation. At the same time, the more holistic GBF will help to break down silos, allowing mainstreaming of biodiversity in other policy areas including agriculture and health. However, it is questionable whether it will succeed in addressing the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, particularly those linked to unsustainable growth and rising global inequities.
The evaluation of the largely unmet Aichi Biodiversity Targets warns that the GBF will only be as good as its implementation. The swift allocation and transfer of the necessary funding will be key to galvanizing global action, and enable all CBD parties to achieve the GBF targets. Capacity building, technology transfer, and scientific cooperation will play an equally important role. And, in addition to economic transformation, the GBF will not be successful without more sustainable consumption choices by each and everyone.
“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.” – Leo Tolstoy
While recognizing that the COP achieved most of its goals, delegations here and there highlighted individual aspects of the GBF as missed opportunities. They pointed out that: financial commitments towards developing countries should have been higher; there should have been a time-bound trajectory for the aim of halting species extinction; and the target for the sustainable management of productive areas should apply beyond primary industries. Some also mentioned the failure of this COP to deliver on important issues outside the GBF package, such as meaningful decisions on biodiversity and climate change, and on mainstreaming biodiversity. This was mainly due to different opinions on whether the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities was applicable under the Convention as well as underlying socio-economic concerns by certain parties. Stripping these decisions of most of their content prevented the harvesting of the fruit of four years’ collective work, some observed.
Overall, the adoption of the hard-fought GBF package made this COP a success. The GBF was received as a well-balanced compromise bringing the world a step closer to living in harmony with nature. The GBF is an inclusive, comprehensive, fairly SMART, and rather ambitious new plan. Whether it has the potential to transform biodiversity governance, halt and reverse the current trends of biodiversity loss, and help humanity make peace with nature, only time will tell.