Biodiversity conventions call for shared objectives to halt nature loss
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe © JU NP Paklenica
The Secretariats of the world’s eight major biodiversity-related Conventions, including the World Heritage Convention, call for an inclusive post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to halt nature loss and deliver on the governments’ vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050. Failure to act would hamper the planet’s capacity to provide food, water and other benefits to people and make it more vulnerable to pandemics and climate change, putting humanity’s future and sustainable development at risk.
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have resumed discussions in Geneva, Switzerland to develop new global targets aimed at halting the loss of nature, which is declining globally at rates unprecedented in history due to human cause. The Liaison Group of the Biodiversity-related Conventions, known as BLG, convened participants of the Geneva meeting on 17 March 2022 to discuss the role of the Conventions in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
During the event, the executive heads highlighted the unique mandates and contributions of the Conventions to biodiversity conservation in view of harnessing them for effective implementation of the global targets. This will require clear text on shared responsibility in the agreed framework and cooperation among national focal points in devising the national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
Moreover, an ambitious framework that will halt the loss of biodiversity is crucial in ensuring the overall success of the multilateral environmental agreements each looking at the challenge from a particular perspective, the Secretariats note. This was also supported by Party representatives, who highlighted the need for better coordination mechanism at the national level, as well as shared responsibility and ownership by all the biodiversity-related Conventions in implementing the new global framework.
UNESCO has been actively engaged in the development of the new biodiversity targets across its mandate on culture, science, education, UNESCO designated sites as well as indigenous and local knowledge systems. At its extended 44th session, the World Heritage Committee adopted Decision 44 COM 7.2 by which it called for enhanced cooperation and synergies among the biodiversity-related conventions and an ambitious post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which can bring about the transformative change needed.
“Biodiversity is intimately connected to nature’s contribution to people – but it also underpins people’s contribution to the living world by enhancing cultural heritage, human creativity, linguistic diversity, public education and indigenous and local knowledge systems, among its other benefits to our societies, health and well-being”, said Ms Jyoti Hosagrahar, Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre during the event.
UNESCO has argued that the links between nature and culture would merit recognition under the UN targets, backed up by synergies among biodiversity- and UNESCO Culture Conventions and initiatives such as the UNESCO-CBD Joint Programme of Work on the linkages between biological and cultural diversity in place since 2010. The World Heritage Convention, which integrates under the same legal instrument the protection of both cultural and natural heritage, has been important to advance policy and practice on the links between nature and culture, many sites being illustrative of the diverse ways in which people can responsibly interact with nature.
The outcomes of the Biodiversity Liaison Group’s event will feed into the Geneva meeting, which groups three resumed sessions of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is the last stop for the governments to discuss the goals, targets, and monitoring framework of the new global biodiversity framework before COP 15, which is expected to adopt the framework later in 2022 in Kunming, China.
About the Biodiversity Liaison Group
The Liaison Group of the Biodiversity-related Conventions is comprised of the heads of the Secretariats of the world’s eight major intergovernmental agreements to support biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Ramsar Convention, International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the World Heritage Convention.