Aerial drone image of the rainforest and a small river at Amboro National Park, Bolivia

COP 15: From Egypt to Canada, from climate to biodiversity – the stakes are high.

The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) wants its Paris Agreement but at the expense of who and what?

Kyoto, Japan, 1998 – World leaders concerned about our changing climate laid the foundations for what was to become the carbon market.

Twenty-five years later, its failures are obvious. The reasons are multiple but two, in particular, stick out for us:

  1. Ecosystems, such as tropical forests, were considered as ‘static’ and completely overlooked the fact that people live there.
  2. The people who live there and own much of those carbon-rich lands have been excluded from the negotiating table.

Today, the Convention on Biological Diversity kicks off COP 15 in Canada. The goal is to reach a landmark agreement to protect 30% of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030 – quite catchily named the 30×30 initiative.

Experts, scientists, and, most importantly, people who live in biodiversity hotspots have been categorical about the efforts and actions needed to prevent biodiversity collapse. Decision-makers must remember what led to the failures of initiatives like the carbon market and use this as an opportunity to think with greater foresight and with greater inclusivity.

Biodiversity leaders and activists meeting in Montreal should realise that the 30×30 framework has a long way to go before it is set in stone. The livelihoods of people with the longest track record of protecting ecosystems are at stake. For a successful outcome, this process must be led by indigenous peoples and local communities. Until then, no framework should be adopted.

Things to keep an eye out for at COP 15

Although we are not certain about the targets of the 30×30 framework, we are looking forward to seeing the outcomes of the following:

  • Increased conservation finance directly to developing countries,
  • The recognition of traditional knowledge in research, including the sharing of financial benefits from genetic resource use,
  • Reductions in land and sea pollution, which often has a disproportionately negative effect on remote or marginalised communities,
  • Recognition of the contributions indigenous peoples and local communities’ lands make to biodiversity and support for rights and financing for community-managed areas.
A group of people in a building surrounding a map

People of Tinkareni and the surrounding area mapping their territories

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again.

No more empty pledges. There is no other option – we need action.