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Nature CoP15 gavelled to a 3AM happy close with anxieties

BirdLife joins other NGOs in recognising the good, but is concerned about roadmap. Before trudging out into a dark and snowy Montreal night, BirdLife negotiators and partners joined with the assembled leaders and delegates to salute the long-awaited approval of a global biodiversity framework designed to set us on a path to save nature and the planet.

BirdLife International’s CEO Patricia Zurita released the following statement on the new Global Biodiversity Framework which was agreed at 3.35am in Montreal this morning:

“The text of the global biodiversity framework finally agreed today thankfully has the clear mission to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. There are wins in the text for biodiversity conservation, for finance, for Indigenous peoples and local communities rights, and gender equality, with a commitment to take a human rights-based approach and recognition of the right to a healthy environment. 

Though ambition on the critical elements of species and ecosystems is less clear cut, there are elements to commend.  A clear win is the 30×30 target – the commitment to protect and conserve 30% of land and of oceans by 2030, which has finally landed in the framework after years of science, debate and horse-trading. However, it is essential that new protected areas are located in the most important places for nature and are effectively managed: weak language in the targets on these aspects means that we risk another decade of paper parks and losses in Key Biodiversity Areas. The recognition that species declines need to be addressed in order to halt and reverse biodiversity loss is also a win – with a commitment to take urgent management action to halt species extinction and to substantially reduce extinction risk by 2030. Again, however, and disappointingly, no concrete measurable elements to hold us accountable appear.

The finance package includes elements that are positive, beginning to close the finance gap for nature. We need more and we need it faster. The finance package includes elements that sum to close the finance gap for nature, with a commitment to reducing subsidies by at least $500 billion by year by 2030 and to mobilise $200 million of finance from all sources, from private and public finance, with a pledge to raise $30 billion annually by 2030 through official development assistance.  It is hoped the agreement of a new fund under the Global Environment Facility will unlock finances and channel funds to where they are most needed.

Overall, these broad-brush strokes are promising but we remain concerned about the inconsistencies in measurable elements across the framework. Without a concrete road map and verifiable timelines, we could be taking more steps back than forward.

We salute the governments for the all-night marathon efforts, and our partnership working in Montreal and around the globe with their national delegations, as well as our super Canadian partners for hosting us and pushing so hard. 

We implore governments to begin urgently to act now. Let’s get a good night’s sleep, but then get to work. Implementation cannot wait a second more. Nature is gasping its last breath and we must immediately begin its resuscitation by delivering concretely on this agreement, and more.”

More detail will emerge in due course but our Chief Scientist, Stu Butchart offers a quick reaction here.

Implementation cannot wait a second more. Nature is gasping its last breath and we must immediately begin its resuscitation by delivering concretely on this agreement, and more.

Patricia Zurita, BirdLife CEO

Patricia Zurita, BirdLife CEO
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