COP-Bingo: 27, 19 and now 15 - let’s talk about biodiversity
“Without such [biodiversity] action, there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.”Extract from Kunming-Montreal GBF
COP 15 hit the news recently with a historic global biodiversity framework being agreed in Montreal.
COPs are coming thick and fast… with the recent COP 27 held in Sharm-el-Sheikh focusing on increasing global climate commitments and COP 19 held in Panama driving action in the international trade of wildlife.
The issues covered across these COPs are clearly interlinked; biodiversity loss and climate change are inextricably linked. It is estimated that every 1 degree of warming brings a 10% increase in extinction risk (IPCC). Nature is key to reaching net zero and will provide us with solutions to the challenges we face due to the changing climate (for example, drought, land use and food security).
The discussions held at COP 15 were hugely important. Our relationship with nature is deteriorating; with increasing extinction rates, acidifying oceans filled with plastic waste, and the unsustainable rate humans are using finite natural resources.
COP 15’s Global Biodiversity Framework agrees by 2030 to:
- Protect 30% of Earth’s land, oceans and freshwater;
- Reduce annual harmful government subsidies by $500 billion;
- Cut food waste in half.
What happens in Montreal…hopefully doesn’t stay there
At COP 15 global governments agreed the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). This agreement seeks to put humanity on a path to living in harmony with nature by the middle of the century.
The GBF has four overarching global goals, for 2050, these being:
- Goal A: Maintain, enhance and restore natural ecosystems around the world by 2050; stop the human induced extinction of known threatened species; and maintain the genetic diversity of various species.
- Goal B: Sustainably use and manage biodiversity and value, maintain and enhance nature’s contributions to people.
- Goal C: Fairly and equitably distribute the benefits (monetary and otherwise) from using genetic resources1, especially with regards to indigenous peoples and local communities.
- Goal D: Ensure adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, as well as the equitable access to, and transfer of, technology to fully implement the GBF.
As well as these overarching goals, the GBF also sets out 23 action-oriented global targets for urgent actions to 2030, called the ‘Kunming-Montreal 2030 Global Targets’. Together, the actions set out in each target will enable achievement towards the Kunming-Montreal Global Goals for 2050.
Among these 23 action-oriented global targets, signatories have committed to:
- Protect 30% of Earth’s lands, oceans, coastal areas and inland waters by 2030.
- Cut global food waste in half and significantly reduce over consumption and waste generation by 2030.
- Progressively phase out or reform subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least $500 billion per year to 2030.
- Mobilise by 2030 at least $200 billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from all sources (public and private).
Was COP 15 a success?
Whilst this is clearly a large step in the right direction in reversing the biodiversity crisis, the proof of success will be in how the agreement is enacted (in a similar way to the implementation of climate commitments made at COP 27).
Biodiversity-related targets agreed in 2010 at COP 10 on biodiversity preservation have not been met, so the pressure is high for COP 15 to deliver as the stakes continue to rise.
There remain concerns around the financing of this agreement, with financing required from both public and private sources. To contribute to the solution and minimise associated risks, investors should seek to engage with any opportunities. This might include the setting of nature-related objectives (following momentum from the work of the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)), or via investment opportunities; we expect to see lots of innovation of products in this space.
Sources and notes
1Genetic resources refers to any biological material which contains genes and/or metabolic material that may be derived from genes, that have actual or potential relevance to humans.