Host China and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have announced dates for the UN Biodiversity Conference, which includes the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) from October 11-15.

An official opening will take place online, followed by final negotiations on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework during face-to-face meetings in Kunming in China from April 25 to May 8, 2022, it was announced on Wednesday.

The opening meeting will address agenda items essential to the continued operations of the biodiversity convention and its two Protocols. It will also include a high-level segment to be held on October 12-13 and expected to produce a Kunming Declaration adding political momentum to the Framework negotiations.

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Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China, said, “China will continue to work with the Parties of the Convention and the Secretariat to overcome the adverse impact of the global epidemic on the conference, fulfill the obligations of the host country, steadily advance the preparations, and make all efforts to host a landmark conference.”

At the two-week in-person Kunming meetings next spring, global framework agreement will be presented for final consideration and decision by CBD’s 196 Parties.

CBD Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, calls the two-step summit process essential given ongoing uncertainties created by Covid-19 and the necessity for face-to-face meetings to conclude the complex global framework negotiations.

“Addressing the challenge of halting ongoing losses of species and genetic diversity and the damage to our ecosystems will determine the well-being of humanity for generations to come,” she says.

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“Protecting nature’s invaluable contributions to people requires that we harmonize our policies and actions at every level. The global biodiversity framework, based on the best available science and evidence, is fundamental to meeting these needs.”

Says Mrema: “Convening virtually throughout the pandemic has limited the times for essential global meetings of CBD Parties, bureau and subsidiary bodies to narrow windows. The Secretariat extends deep gratitude to all participants worldwide for their extraordinary consideration, dedication and cooperation to advance negotiations as far as they have in these extraordinary circumstances.”

Most immediate among the next virtual meetings will further refine and revise the framework, the first official draft which was released on July 12 proposes 21 targets for 2030 including, among others: At least 30 per cent of land and sea areas globally (especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and its contributions to people) conserved through effective, equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas (and other effective area-based conservation measures).

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Also, a 50 per cent of greater reduction in the rate of introduction of invasive alien species, and controls or eradication of such species to eliminate or reduce their impacts and a $200 billion increase in international financial flows from all sources to developing countries.

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