We should aim for peace with nature, says UN Convention on Biological Diversity – Global Affairs’ David Cooper
Harvesting bees in urban areas. Preparations are underway for the 16th Conference of the Parties on Biodiversity (COP16) in Cali, Valle del Cauca. Credit: USDA
  • Written by Stella Paul (hyderabad and montreal)
  • interpress service

And in a year when more than four billion people are expected to vote in elections around the world, Cooper believes politicians should put biodiversity on their manifestos.

Since taking over the reins from former Director-General Elizabeth Mulema, Mr Cooper has been at the forefront of leading the CBD towards implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

Later this year, world leaders will gather in Cali, Colombia. 16th Conference of the Parties on Biological Diversity (COP16) The program is currently being prepared for October 21st to November 1st, 2024.

Mr. Cooper will discuss the core issues that will be at the top of the COP16 agenda, the current state of biodiversity finance, including the newly launched Biodiversity Fund, upcoming meetings of the CBD’s science and technology institutions, and the current state of biodiversity conservation. gives an insight into. National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) And what may unfold in the coming months with digital sequence information (DSI).

Biodiversity finance: On track but at a slow pace

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity aims to mobilize at least US$20 billion per year in biodiversity-related finance by 2025 and at least US$30 billion per year by 2030 from all sources, including the public and private sectors.

However, the current situation with biodiversity funding shows that while progress is happening, it is not happening fast enough. Cooper said that while some countries and organizations are working hard to provide more funding for projects that help nature, overall results are still lower than expected and there are unmet promises. I admit it.

“We need to look at a serious roadmap,” Cooper said. “All countries, and especially the donor community, need to figure out how to reach at least that $20 billion by 2025, because it’s urgent.”

He called on major donors to keep their promises.

“It is critical that major donors who have pledged money actually follow through and donate what they have promised. Ensuring that there is enough funding to protect our plants, animals, and the places they live. We all need to work together to achieve this,” Cooper said. “Certainly, all countries need to strive towards all the goals and targets of this framework, including with regard to financial resources.”

Mr Cooper welcomed the decision by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to establish a new fund, the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund. He said the CBD Secretariat is working closely with GEF CEO Carlos Manuel Rodriguez and his team.

“Then we found out that the fund received a lot of donations. The donation from Canada was a huge CAD 200 million. We also received large donations from Germany, Spain, Japan and recently Luxembourg. In fact, given the size of Luxembourg’s economy, the contribution from Luxembourg is also very generous, although on a pro-rata basis it amounts to only US$7 million.”

National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP)

Cooper said it’s not just about funding, but also about countries demonstrating their commitment to the agreement, which includes the development of the NBSAP. He admitted that very few countries have submitted so far.

“So far, only a few countries have filed NBSAPS: Spain, Japan, China, France, Hungary, Ireland, and the European Union,” Cooper said.

He is optimistic that all countries will develop targets, but acknowledges it will be a complex process.

“I think most countries are in the process of developing national targets and that is the first thing to do. It is also a process that involves companies and others.

CBD supports countries through complexity.

“Developing countries in particular are supported through the Global Environment Facility. We have also organized a number of regional dialogues to help countries share experiences as they move forward,” Cooper says.

At COP15, it was decided that all countries should submit their NBSAPs before COP16 if possible.

“If they cannot submit a complete NBSAPS by then, they should at least provide updated national targets. We therefore hope that a significant number of countries will advance their NBSAP efforts by COP16. We look forward to another meeting of the subsidiary bodies on implementation shortly before COP16 to review our progress.”

COP16: What happens and what will be done

The central focus of CBD COP16 is likely to revolve around the adoption and implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. This framework sets global goals and objectives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for the next decade and beyond. Key aspects of this framework include goals related to halting biodiversity loss, promoting sustainable resource management, strengthening ecosystem resilience and ensuring a fair sharing of the benefits from biodiversity. may be included.

“I think we can highlight four key areas at COP 16,” Cooper said. “Firstly, we must identify and demonstrate progress in implementing the Global Biodiversity Framework, which means that national targets are set. has been developed in at least the majority of countries. This means that funds are flowing in, towards this US$20 billion goal by 2025, as mentioned earlier. It means there is a reliable pathway forward. It also means that the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund should receive more funding and support more projects.”

The second core issue is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) for genetic resources. Although an agreement was reached at COP15 to establish this mechanism, the details were not fleshed out at that time, and those details are currently being negotiated in an intergovernmental working group.

“Of course, the establishment of such a mechanism by the Fund would give an additional major boost to the Convention, as it would bring in another source of funding.”

The third area is finance, he says.

“The fourth area I would like to highlight is the need to further strengthen the role of indigenous peoples and local communities as key actors.”

He also pointed out that there are many other issues that need to be managed, including issues of biodiversity, health and synthetic biology, as well as risk assessment and risk management considerations for things like gene-edited mosquitoes.

“They decided that the theme of the COP would be peace with nature. This is a broad theme that includes so many issues,” he revealed.

Plastic Pollution Convention and the role of CBD

4th session of Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) A report on plastic pollution will be launched in April 2024 at the Shaw Center in Ottawa, Canada, to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, and to end plastic pollution by 2040. The aim is to

Eliminating plastic pollution is also one of the biodiversity goals, Cooper said, adding that CBD is actively involved in INC-4’s logistics organization.

“Reducing waste from plastics and pollution from plastics is also one of the elements of Goal 7 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. We are therefore confident that the success of the INC-4 negotiations will support the implementation of the framework. “I see it as very important,” he says.

Things to keep in mind between now and COP16

While all eyes are on the COP16 negotiations, there will be a number of global events taking place in the coming months that will contribute to the agenda and determine the world’s level of preparedness for the conference.

“The most important ones are obviously SBSTTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technical Advice) and SBI (Subsidiary Body for Implementation), followed by the Working Group on Digital Sequence Information which will meet in August ” Cooper said.

Like SBI, SBSTTA is a subsidiary body established under the CBD. While the SBI has a role, inter alia, to support the review of progress in the implementation of the Convention and to identify obstacles to its implementation, the SBSTTA ensures that decisions made under the CBD are based on the best available scientific evidence. and plays an important role in ensuring that this is done based on technical expertise.

“Then we have the G7 and G20 processes coming up, which are important processes to demonstrate leadership. The CBD COP itself will be followed by the COP on climate change and desertification, and collaboration between these will be important. We also hope that Colombia and indigenous peoples will host a pre-cop session just before the COP that will focus on indigenous peoples and local communities and their roles,” Cooper said.

Finally, this year, 64 countries around the world will hold record elections to elect new governments, but will this be a unique opportunity to talk about biodiversity? Should it be an issue in the election?

“Absolutely,” Cooper says.

“If you look at the many extreme events that people have suffered from, especially in the last year – fires, wildfires, droughts, storms, floods – you know, the media is ascribing the main cause of these to climate change. We believe that climate change is increasing the probability and severity of these phenomena, but these phenomena are occurring because we are not managing biodiversity and ecosystems appropriately. It’s also happening through degradation. So I think we all have an opportunity to make this message and these links clearer, and politicians have a special responsibility to do that in different elections around the world. I hope that more politicians will do so as this happens.”

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