The UN nature summit recently concluded with the participating countries agreeing on the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This deal could help prevent the further extinction of species and protect the ecosystems that support half the global economy.
What is the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework?
- The Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is the successor of the Aichi targets. The 2010 Aichi targets were a set of 20 biodiversity goals to be achieved by 2020. The world failed to achieve these.
- The Kunming Montreal GBF was pushed through by China (which holds the presidency) and Canada (the host) at the COP15 to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, in Montreal.
- 188 member governments (out of the total 196) agreed to this new framework to address the issue of biodiversity loss. It also found support from the USA and Vatican which aren’t party to the convention.
- This agreement went through despite objections from some countries, like Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
What are the highlights?
- The deal sets out:
- 4 major goals for 2050
- Goal A:
- Maintain/ enhance/ restore all ecosystems’ integrity, connectivity and resilience- increasing the natural ecosystem area substantially by 2050
- Halt human-driven extinction of known threatened species by 2050
- 10-fold reduction in extinction rate and risk of all species
- Increase native wild species’ abundance to healthy and resilient levels
- Maintain genetic diversity of wild and domestic species’ populations and safeguard their adaptive potential
- Goal B:
- Sustainable use and management of biodiversity for sustainable development
- Value, maintain and enhance nature’s contribution to society, such as ecosystem services
- Goal C:
- Fair and equitable sharing of benefits (both monetary and non-monetary) from the use of genetic resources, digital sequence information on genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with such resources
- Appropriate protection of such traditional knowledge and contributing to sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity, according to internationally agreed instruments
- Goal D:
- Equitable access to means of implementation of the framework- including financial resources, technical and scientific cooperation, capacity building, access to technologies and technology transfers.
- This especially necessary for:
- Developing countries
- Least developed countries
- Small island developing states
- Countries whose economies are transitioning
- Progressively close the $700 billion/ year finance gap and align financial flows with the framework’s provisions and the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity
- Goal A:
- 23 action-oriented targets for 2030
- Halting biodiversity loss in areas of high biodiversity importance and bringing all areas under effective biodiversity management processes
- Effective restoration of minimum 30% of degraded terrestrial area, inland aquatic ecosystem, coastal and marine ecosystems
- Minimum 30% of area (terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine) are effectively conserved and managed using a system that is ecologically representative, equitably governed and well connected
- Expedited action to halt extinction and enable recovery and conservation of species, especially threatened ones, using in situ and ex situ methods and management of human-wildlife interactions
- Sustainable, safe and legal use of wild species, while preventing overexploitation, reducing impact on non-target species and risk of pathogen spill-over.
- Addressing issue of invasive alien species by identification of pathways of their introduction, preventing such introduction and establishment and eradicating invasive species from priority sites like islands.
- Addressing pollution issue by reducing it to levels that aren’t harmful to biodiversity, cutting down nutrients’ run off into the environment by 50%, reducing overall risk from hazardous chemicals (like pesticides) by 50% and working on eliminating plastic pollution.
- Reduce impact of climate change and ocean acidification using nature-based solution, ecosystem-based approaches, climate change mitigation, adaptation, etc.
- Sustainable use of wild species in such way as to provide benefits to the vulnerable communities, including the indigenous communities and those most dependent on such resources.
- Sustainable management of areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry.
- Regulating health of air, water and soil, reducing disease risk, etc. to restore, maintain and enhance nature’s contributions.
- Increasing area and quality of urban green and blue spaces
- Effective measures (legal, administrative, policy and capacity building) for fair and equitable benefit sharing from utilization of genetic resources. Significant increase in benefits shared by 2030.
- Inclusion of biodiversity and its values into policymaking across the sectors
- Legal, administrative and policy measures to encourage businesses to become environmentally-friendly
- Encourage people to make sustainable consumption choices with the help of supportive policy, education, accurate information, etc. Halving food waste is a major aspect.
- Establish, strengthen and implement biosafety measures as given in Convention on Biological Diversity
- Identify harmful incentives, like certain subsidies, by 2025 and reduce them by at least $500 billion/ year by 2030
- Progressively increase biodiversity finance to mobilize $200 billion/ year by 2030
- Technical cooperation- South-South, North-South and triangular cooperation
- Ensuring accessibility of decision makers and other stakeholders to knowledge and high quality data for effective biodiversity governance
- Inclusive decision making with adequate respect for the indigenous and local communities and their culture and rights
- Use of gender responsive approach in the framework’s implementation
- 4 major goals for 2050
How will it be funded?
- The framework seeks to raise $200 billion/ year by 2030 for implementing the national action plans:
- $20 billion/ year would come in via international funding by 2025
- Some $30 billion would be sourced from developed countries by 2030
- The Global Environment Facility/ GEF, a multilateral body that is to be established in 2023, would function as a special trust fund to support the framework’s implementation.
What are the challenges?
- The web of life is highly intricate and we are yet to discover a significant section of this network. For instance, only 1.75 million species (out of the estimated 13 million species) have been identified so far.
- According to the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), 1/4th of the animal and plant species it assessed under the 2019 Global Biodiversity Outlook are threatened. This means that a million species are facing extinction.
- GDP continues to be used as a chief determinant of development. It doesn’t account for the ‘depreciation of assets’ like overexploitation of natural resources.
What is the way ahead?
- The GBF has been finalized after 4 years of talks and is being seen as another chance for the nations to halt the loss of biodiversity, after our failure with the Aichi targets.
- The framework, given its alignment with the UN SDGs- namely, Goal 13 (climate action), Goal 14 (life below water) and Goal 15 (life on land), is vital for a sustainable future. It success rests on effective implementation.
- Meanwhile, policymakers could do with a perspective shift regarding what constitutes wealth. For instance, measurement of ‘inclusive wealth’ which takes into account both financial capital as well as social and natural capital could help.
The Kunming Montreal GBF is being perceived as a saving grace for ecological conservation, after the unfortunate failure of the Aichi targets. It is crucial that humanity doesn’t squander this chance to halt the runaway train of mass extinction.
Practice Question for Mains:
What are the highlights of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework? What is the way ahead? (250 words)