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Draft of new global biodiversity framework released
by Convention on Biological Diversity, agencies
July 2021
The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the first draft of a new global biodiversity framework, in the endeavor of guiding actions worldwide through 2030, to preserve and protect nature and its essential services to people.
Following two years of development, the draft framework will undergo further refinement during negotiations in late summer 2021 before being presented for consideration at CBD’s next meeting of its 196 Parties at COP-15, in Kunming, China.
A New Global Framework for Managing Nature Through 2030
The Framework comprises 21 targets and 10 ‘milestones’ proposed for 2030, en route to ‘living in harmony with nature’ by 2050. Key targets include:
Ensure at least 30% of land and sea areas globally (especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and its contributions to people) are conserved through effective, equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas (and other effective area-based conservation measures).
Prevent or reduce the rate of introduction and establishment of invasive alien species by50%,and control or eradicate such species to eliminate or reduce their impacts.
Reduce nutrients lost to the environment by at least half, pesticides by at least two thirds, and eliminate discharge of plastic waste.
Use ecosystem-based approaches to contribute to mitigation and adaptation to climate change, contributing at least 10 GtCO2e per year to mitigation; and ensure that all mitigation and adaptation efforts avoid negative impacts on biodiversity.
Redirect, repurpose, reform or eliminate incentives harmful for biodiversity in a just and equitable way, reducing them by at least $500 billion per year.
Increase financial resources from all sources by at least $ 200 billion per year, and increase international financial flows to developing countries by at least $10 billion per year to developing countries.
The post-2020 global biodiversity framework builds on the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and sets out a plan to implement broad-based action to bring about a transformation in society’s relationship with biodiversity, in the endeavor of ensuring that by 2050 the shared vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’ is fulfilled.
The framework’s theory of change 'assumes' that transformative actions are taken to deploy solutions to reduce threats to biodiversity. Actions should ensure that biodiversity is used sustainably in order to meet people’s needs.
It aims to ensure progress is monitored in a transparent and accountable manner with adequate stocktaking to ensure that, by 2030, the world is on a path to reach the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.
Basile van Havre, co-chair of the CBD working group responsible for drafting the agreement, said the goals were based on the latest science. He added that, if adopted, it could represent a significant shift in global agriculture.
“Change is coming in food production,” he said. “There will be a lot more of us in 10 years and they will need to be fed so it’s not about decreasing the level of activity. It’s about increasing the output and doing better for nature.
“Cutting nutrient runoff in half, reducing pesticide use by two-thirds and eliminating plastic discharge: those are big. I’m sure they’re going to raise some eyebrows as they present significant change, particularly in the agriculture.”
Last month, Van Havre warned the world was running out of time for an ambitious deal at Kunming, which is part of a multi-decade ambition to live in harmony with nature by 2050.
Scientists have warned that humanity is causing the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history, driven by overconsumption of resources and overpopulation. One million species are at risk of extinction largely due to human activities, according to the UN’s assessment, threatening the healthy functioning of ecosystems that produce food and water.
Prof. Sir Robert Watson, who has previously led the UN’s scientific organisations for climate and biodiversity, welcomed the draft targets but cautioned that some were difficult to measure. Governments have failed to fully meet targets to stem the destruction of nature for consecutive decades, including the aims for the 2010s, which are known as the Aichi targets.
“Overall, the paper recognises and addresses all of the key issues, as did the 20 Aichi targets. The question is whether governments can set appropriate national targets and regulatory and legislative frameworks to enable the other actors, especially the private sector and financial institutions, to play their part,” Watson said.
“I would have hoped that the paper would have explicitly acknowledged that the issues of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation must be addressed together and the goals, targets and actions of the three conventions should be jointly developed and harmonised.”
The targets and goals must now be negotiated at in-person talks, where they will be updated after feedback from national governments. Once agreed, the final accord will be adopted by the 196 parties to the CBD.
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the CBD, said: “Urgent policy action globally, regionally and nationally is required to transform economic, social and financial models so that the trends that have exacerbated biodiversity loss will stabilise by 2030 and allow for the recovery of natural ecosystems in the following 20 years, with net improvements by 2050.”
* Summary for Policymakers of the IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (60pp):
June 2021
Launch of IPBES-IPCC Report on Biodiversity and Climate Change.
In December 2020, 50 of the world’s leading biodiversity and climate experts, selected by a 12-person Scientific Steering Committee assembled by IPBES and IPCC, participated in a four-day virtual workshop to examine the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This represents the first-ever collaboration between the two intergovernmental science-policy bodies. The IPBES-IPCC co-sponsored workshop report on biodiversity and climate change, available below, was launched on 10 June 2021.

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When climate coverage ignores the global South, it’s bad for everyone
by Mark Hertsgaard and Saleemul Huq
Covering Climate Now, agencies
July 2021
Climate change amounts to an undeclared, deeply unjust war against the global poor. Though they have emitted almost none of the heat-trapping gases that have raised global temperatures to their highest levels in civilization’s history, it is the poor—especially in low-income countries in Asia, Africa, and South America—who suffer first and worst from overheating the planet.
For more than a decade, perilous, climate-driven events in wealthier nations have been preceded by counterparts in the global South. The deadly heat that has brutalized the American West—and rightly attracted headline news coverage—these past few weeks? That kind of heat has been killing and immiserating people across the Sahel in Africa for many years—for example, in Burkina Faso, where, as one local journalist lamented with tears in his eyes, the suffering was especially heartbreaking among “the old, the old” people in his village.
The sea-level rise that is increasingly inundating Venice, despite the $6 billion spent on elaborate sea barriers meant to protect the city’s treasures? Rising seas have been slashing rice yields in Bangladesh for a decade, as salty ocean water intrudes farther and farther inland onto the soil of the tabletop-flat delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers.
Recent scholarly studies and social media posts have suggested that this summer’s unprecedented heat and unfolding fire season might finally help more Americans acknowledge the realities of climate change. Perhaps now, the thinking goes, more of them will realize that climate change is not only real and dangerous—it’s happening, right now, to them or people just like them.
But those realities have been clear for some time: The global poor have been living, and dying, from such climate-driven disasters for years—and with much less attention from the world media.
A glaring example came last week, when virtually every news outlet in the global North ignored a landmark meeting where leaders of low-income countries articulated their positions prior to the make-or-break United Nations COP26 climate summit in November. This V20 meeting—so named for the 20 countries that founded the Climate Vulnerable Forum in 2009—was hosted by Bangladesh in its capital city, Dhaka, on July 8.
Heads of government or finance ministers from 48 countries that are exceptionally vulnerable to climate change and inhabited by a combined two billion people attended the Dhaka summit in person or online. So did John Kerry, US president Joe Biden’s international climate envoy; António Guterres, the UN Secretary General; David Malpass, the president of the World Bank Group; and the heads of development banks in Asia and Africa.
Much of the world media was nowhere to be seen. V20 organizers made it as convenient as possible for European and American news organizations to cover the Dhaka event. Online streaming provided real-time access to the proceedings, in a choice of languages: English, French, Spanish, or Arabic. Mindful of the time differences involved—Dhaka is five hours ahead of London, ten hours ahead of New York—organizers even scheduled the event for late night Bangladesh time: it was 10:30pm local time when the opening session began.
Nevertheless, it appears that the only coverage by a global North news outlet was a 750-word story by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the Thomson Reuters global news and information service. And apparently the only places that story was picked up were the websites of the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the Daily Mail newspaper in Britain.
It’s inconceivable that the world media would treat a G7 or G20 summit like this. When leaders of the world’s seven richest per-capita countries met in June, broadcast networks and newspapers across the global North provided daily coverage before, during, and after the summit. There was abundant coverage again last week when finance ministers of the world’s twenty richest countries announced a tax plan on multinational corporations.
The contrasting silence about the V20 summit reveals a double standard on the part of global North news organizations. The unmistakable, if unwitting, message is that some voices in the global climate discussion count much more than others.
Correcting this double standard is not merely a matter of fairness; it’s also about telling the climate story accurately and in full in the lead-up to the crucial COP26 summit.
Had newsrooms in the global North tuned in, they would have seen that the V20 summit in fact made plenty of news. V20 heads of government reminded rich countries of their pledge under the Paris Agreement to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid to poor countries.
UN Secretary General Guterres and the COP26 president, British MP Alok Sharma, reiterated the point. More surprising, given the US’s patchy history around these issues, Kerry also endorsed the idea, calling the $100 billion in annual aid “imperative.”
V20 finance ministers also announced that each of their countries is creating a National Climate Prosperity Plan to boost resilience to climate impacts and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, while also building economic prosperity.
But to achieve these goals, low-income countries need financial help—which rich countries have promised, but mostly failed to deliver, for years now.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development claims to have given $79 billion in 2018 (the last year with reliable data)—a claim that unfortunately was taken at face value in the Thomson Reuters Foundation article.
An analysis by Oxfam, the anti-poverty NGO,found that this figure is wildly inflated, based on dodgy definitions and accounting tricks; for example, 75 percent of the aid was given as loans, not grants. A more accurate figure, Oxfam concluded, is $20 billion a year.
This aid shortfall carries profound implications, not only for the global poor but for the rich’s own prospects of survival. One of every four people on earth live in the 48 countries in the Climate Vulnerable Forum. If those countries lack the means to choose a green energy future over a brown one, there is zero hope of limiting temperature rise to 1.5° C.
In that event, the rich as well as the poor will suffer, as the current heat and fire in the American West—which are occurring after “only” 1.1° C of temperature rise—painfully demonstrate.
All this amounts to news that could hardly be more urgent for people to hear, wherever they happen to live on this planet. It’s past time the world media treated it that way.

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