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COP15: Building a shared future for all by living in harmony with nature

Biodiversity COP15 is an opportunity for countries & companies to work together to conserve biodiversity – a cornerstone of our social & economic fabric that affects the industries we have & the food we eat.

It has never been more clear that investing in protecting and restoring our natural world today will safeguard society’s well-being and businesses' financial security tomorrow.

Biodiversity is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem – one that cleans our water and air, regulates the climate, protects our soil, and provides us with food and even medicine. Biodiverse ecosystems supply us with everything we need and make up the backbone of our economy. COP15 is a long-overdue opportunity for public and private leaders to agree on shared strategies to restore, revitalise, and protect our natural resources, and invest in Nature Based Solutions that provide measurable, positive impacts for both the climate and global communities.

Everything you need to know about Biodiversity COP15

What is biodiversity?

Biological diversity - or biodiversity - is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms.

What is COP15?

At COP15 – or ‘biodiversity COP’ –governments will come together to agree on global actions to protect and restore nature.

Why is COP15 so important?

COP15 is crucial in directing global efforts and establishing joint strategies to protect ecosystems and their biodiversity.

Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The Global Biodiversity Framework sets the goals to protect biodiversity, safeguard local communities, and a work towards a more prosperous future for all.

What to expect from COP15

COP15 will strengthen the framework for global ecosystem protection.


The Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework in a nutshell

The draft framework proposes four goals for humanity to achieve "living in harmony with nature" by 2050, a vision adopted by the CBD's 196 member parties in 2010. Each of the four goals has 2-3 broad milestones that must be met by 2030. (10 milestones in all). The framework then lists 21 "action targets" for 2030 that address biodiversity threats, meeting people's needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing, and tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming.

Why is biodiversity so important?

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What is biodiversity?

The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend. This diversity is often understood as the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms. So far, nearly 2 million species have been identified, but scientists believe that we have only begun to scratch the surface: in reality, they estimate that the world is home to anything between three to 100 million species. Biodiversity also includes genetic differences within each species such as,for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock.

Yet another aspect of biodiversity is the variety of ecosystems such as those that occur in deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers, and agricultural landscapes. In each ecosystem, living creatures, including humans, form a community, interacting with one another and with the air, water, and soil around them. Biodiversity provides a large number of goods and services that sustain our lives – in fact half of global GDP is currently dependent on nature.


What is COP15?

For the first time at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for "sustainable development" – ensuring that we leave a healthy world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This pact among the vast majority of the world's governments sets out commitments for maintaining the world's ecological well-being alongside economic development. The Convention establishes three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of it, and the fair and equitable sharing of ecosystem benefits.

For COP15, taking place between 7-19 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada, governments from around the world will come together to agree on a new set of goals to guide global actions through 2040 to protect and restore nature.

The draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has 21 action targets for 2030, including:

  • Conservation of at least 30% of land and sea areas globally.
  • Restoration of at least 20% of degraded freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • 50% greater reduction in the rate of introduction of invasive alien species.
  • Reduce nutrients lost to the environment by at least half, and pesticides by at least two-thirds, and eliminate discharge of plastic waste.
  • Nature-based contributions to global climate change mitigation efforts of at least 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

The framework lays out an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to transform society's relationship with biodiversity and ensure that the shared vision of living in harmony with nature is realised by 2050.

The Conference will also examine the implementation of the CBD protocols dealing with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from natural resource use, as well as the safe transport, handling, and labelling of Living Modified Organisms.


Why is COP15 so important?

Nature and biodiversity loss, along with climate change and pollution waste, are hastening the triple planetary crisis we face. Today, over half of global GDP is dependent on nature. Industries such as agriculture, fashion, and food and beverages could be significantly disrupted as the ecosystem services they rely on – healthy soils, clean water, pollinators and climate regulation – become less available and less reliable.

Despite the value nature provides, it is degrading at an alarming rate: human activity has already altered 75% of the Earth's land and 66% of its oceans. The rate of global environmental change over the last 50 years has been unprecedented, and sustained nature loss will have far-reaching consequences. If disturbed by fire, agriculture, or commercial development, we risk unleashing over 300 Gigatons of “irrecoverable carbon" locked away in peatlands, wetlands, soils, and the ocean, for example. These carbon reserves can vanish, releasing long-stored emissions right back into the atmosphere, negatively impacting all life around it.

Rapid development is also bringing animals and humans closer together, increasing the risk of diseases like COVID-19. The global pandemic has truly highlighted the fragility of our modern world and the importance of building our environmental resilience – especially as 60% of human infections are thought to have an animal origin.

With biodiversity loss becoming of equal – if not greater – importance as climate, the UN COP15 talks aim to provide biodiversity and ecosystems with the same international protection as the climate. More specifically, the conference is expected to adopt the “Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework". This framework will outline what countries need to do, individually and collectively, in the next decade and beyond, to set humanity on course for achieving the CBD's overall vision of “living in harmony with nature" by 2050 – a vision adopted by nearly 200 countries in 2010.


Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The official draft framework proposes four goals that must be achieved by 2050.The framework has 21 associated “action targets" for 2030, which help achieve the main goals: reducing threats to biodiversity, meeting people's needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing, and tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming.

It is important to stress that for the post-2020 framework to be successful, we need all-hands-on-deck, which the framework embodies through its whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach. This requires buy-in not only from environment ministers but across government departments.

The framework needs to be all-inclusive. We must look beyond the usual suspects. Indigenous peoples and local communities, businesses, and the financial sector play a key part in shifting our societies to a nature-positive future.


What to expect from COP15

First and foremost, our hope is that the conference will lead to the adoption of an ambitious and all-inclusive Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework – a 10-year strategy to guide the work of governments and engage the global community in the task of protecting nature and building a future where people coexist in harmony with nature.

What would an agreement on the framework mean in practice?

  • Agreed ways to effectively protect more of the world's land and oceans.
  • Incentivising sustainable consumption and production.
  • Holding governments accountable for progress on protecting nature.
  • Finding results-based approaches to scale biodiversity protection globally, through the use of quantifiable units such as the biodiversity credit/certificate, for both mandatory and voluntary markets.
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