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The New Global Biodiversity Framework

Context

Member countries adopted the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF) at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which includes four goals and 23 targets to be met by 2030.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Environment, Biodiversity and its Conservation; International Conventions

Mains Question

What exactly is the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)? Discuss the associated challenges and propose solutions to these problems. (150 Words)


Main Highlights 

While the adopted Global Biodiversity Framework is not legally binding, countries will be required to demonstrate progress toward the framework’s goals through national and global reviews.

What is Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) Target 3?

  • Target 3 of the new biodiversity framework represents a significant commitment because it would necessitate global cooperation.
  • Among the 23 targets, Target 3 requires that “at least 30 percent of terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine areas, particularly areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, be effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative, well-connected, and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.”

CBD’s 15th Conference of Parties (COP15)

  • •The 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, convened under UN auspices, chaired by China and hosted by Canada, adopted the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF), which includes four goals and 23 targets for achievement by 2030.
    • It was held at Montreal’s Palais des Congrès from December 7 to 19, with representatives from 188 governments in attendance (95% of the UN CBD’s 196 Parties, as well as two non-Parties, the United States and the Vatican).
    • It finalised and approved measures to halt the ongoing loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and move humanity toward a sustainable relationship with nature, with clear indicators to track progress.
    • COP15 delegates agreed to establish a multilateral fund within the GBF for the equitable sharing of benefits between providers and users of DSI, to be finalised at COP16 in Türkiye in 2024.
  • Headline indicators include the percentage of land and sea effectively conserved, the number of companies disclosing their biodiversity impacts and dependencies, and many more.

What are the Major Obstacles?

  • Improving the quality of existing and new areas will be one of the main challenges, as biodiversity continues to decline, even within many Protected Areas.
  • Large, densely populated countries, as well as very densely populated small and city-states, are unlikely to be able to bring significant additional terrestrial, inland water, coastal, and marine areas under Protected Area management.
  • Furthermore, species range shifts caused by the effects of climate change must be considered.
  • Protected Areas that are experiencing coastal squeeze due to rising sea level on one side and hard human settlements on the other will face challenges.
  • So far, the Global North’s track record of meeting financial commitments for climate and biodiversity initiatives has been dismal.

The Way Forward

  • Innovative area-based conservation measures, particularly for megafauna, will need to be considered in order to improve connectivity for species movement between protected and conserved areas.
    • Protected and conserved areas will need to be better connected in order for species to move and ecological processes to function.
  • As part of the protection measure, crops in the identified adjoining area must be compulsorily insured against wildlife damage by the state.
    • This will reduce human-animal conflicts and contribute to a more animal-friendly culture.
    • The additional state expenditure in developing countries for insurance and post-depredation verification could be met by the expected financial flows from developed countries of at least US$ 20 billion per year by 2025, and US$ 30 billion per year by 2030.
  • A trust fund under the Global Environment Facility is expected to be established for this purpose in 2023.
  • A conservation development mechanism, similar to the climate convention’s Clean Development Mechanism, can be established.
    • Under this agreement, economically powerful countries can invest in biodiversity conservation projects in economically weak countries.
  • Innovative management will be required for Protected Areas that are being squeezed along the coast due to rising sea levels on one side and dense human settlements on the other.
  • Protected Areas will have to be conceived of as mobile rather than static, confined to a set of geographical coordinates in high altitude and coastal areas.
    • Issues that are not considered conservation measures must be included within the scope of conservation.
    • If the survival of certain species and their habitats is deemed critical, range shifts must be accounted for, and spaces that are not currently managed by Protected Areas must be secured ex-ante.
    • As part of the conservation effort, competing claims to such spaces will have to be negotiated and resolved.

Conclusion

Adopting the “Global Biodiversity Framework” is only a first step; there is still a long and difficult journey ahead; and this is an opportunity to further strengthen international cooperation and solidarity while delivering justice and protecting biodiversity.


February 2023
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