Marine biodiversity

Highlights and images for 13 October 2021


Photo courtesy of Pam Chasek

The second and final day of the high-level segment of the UN Biodiversity Conference included two ministerial roundtable discussions held in parallel and the high-level closing plenary.

Highlights of the day included:

  • The adoption of the Kunming Declaration, stressing that putting biodiversity on a path to recovery is a defining challenge of this decade, requiring strong political momentum to adopt an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF);
  • A roundtable discussion on biodiversity and sustainable development, highlighting the links between biodiversity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change; and
  • A roundtable discussion on knowledge, innovation, and benefit-sharing, stressing the need for capacity building, data sharing, and technology transfer to ensure that the transformational change leaves no one behind.

Roundtable C under the theme ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development’ focused on deploying biodiversity and ecosystem-based approaches to contribute to the SDGs and related climate change and food security goals. Ministers and experts stressed: that biodiversity recovery can help mitigate and adapt to climate change, and secure food supply and water resources, thus providing a foundation for sustainable development; the importance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) and youth participation; and the importance of nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change impacts and stimulate economic recovery.

Luthando Dziba, Co-Chair, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Multidisciplinary Expert Panel

Participants further highlighted the need for an ambitious and realistic GBF, taking into account the three objectives of the Convention and the need for adequate funding. Some interventions expressed support for the Kunming Declaration and announced conservation-related commitments. The session was co-chaired by Zhang Zhanhai, Vice Minister of Natural Resources, China, and Akif Özkaldi, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Turkey.  

Akif Özkaldi, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Turkey

Roundtable D focused on knowledge, innovation, and benefit-sharing to ensure that everyone benefits from biodiversity-related knowledge, technologies, and innovations, including through technology assessment, governance, and use.

Rachel Wynberg, South Africa Research Chair, University of Cape Town

Ministers and experts emphasized: that technology transfer, capacity building, and data sharing are main components of the GBF; that knowledge and innovation provide strong support for realizing the goals of the Convention and its protocols; that IPLCs, their traditional knowledge, and benefit-sharing play an important role for biodiversity; the need to strengthen technological cooperation and evaluate emerging technologies; and the need to raise public awareness to better protect biodiversity. The session was co-chaired by Zhang Yaping, Vice President, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, and Carlos Eduardo Correa Escaf, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia.

Carlos Eduardo Correa Escaf, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia

In the closing plenary, COP 15 President Huang Runqiu introduced the Kunming Declaration, thanking parties and observers for their feedback, and highlighting that it reflects the strong determination and political momentum of the biodiversity community. Roundtable Co-Chairs reported back to plenary, summarizing the main themes, actions, and ambitions expressed in the roundtable discussions.

Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition, France

In closing regional statements, Costa Rica, on behalf of the Latin America and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), said COVID-19 has widened inequalities between developed and developing countries, and that adequate means of implementation are critical for an effective GBF. India, on behalf of the Asia-Pacific region, stressed that we are at a crucial moment in time when we must act and commit to an ambitious and transformative GBF.

The European Union (EU) reminded delegates that the world failed to deliver the Aichi biodiversity targets, stressing the need to commit to urgent actions, transformative change, and an effective monitoring mechanism. Iceland, on behalf of JUSCANZ, reminded delegates that the hard work comes in implementation, which is not done in conference rooms but on the ground. Senegal, for the African Group, urged mobilizing the necessary resources to reverse biodiversity loss, including the establishment of an international biodiversity fund.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, European Union

Major stakeholder groups emphasized the need to: align all financial flows with the Convention’s objectives, including via stringent regulatory arrangements; conduct horizon scanning for novel technologies as well as agree on benefit-sharing arrangements regarding the use of digital sequence information; apply a strong human-rights framework around the implementation of the three Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) objectives; highlight and strengthen the role of women and youth in biodiversity conservation; address the nexus between biodiversity, climate, and health; fully recognize the rights of IPLCs, beyond their full and effective participation in area-based conservation efforts; and address and regulate the role of finance institutions in the GBF.

Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)

Jean-Jacques Barbéris, Director, Institutional and Corporate Clients Division, Amundi

Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International

CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema drew attention to encouraging commitments made during the high-level segment by China, the EU, Japan, philanthropic organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and others. She noted the Kunming Declaration points in the right direction, highlighting biodiversity mainstreaming, redirection of subsidies, and full and effective participation of IPLCs.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary

COP 15 President Huang highlighted the rich discussions during the high-level segment, promoting ecological civilization and the smooth launching of the Kunming Declaration. He thanked all participants for their commitment and flexibility, and closed the high-level segment.

On Thursday and Friday morning, the forum on ecological civilization will take place. The plenary will resume on Friday afternoon to adopt its decisions.

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