Pacific Wild Takes on COP 15, UN Biodiversity Conference

The COP15 UN Biodiversity Conference, brought the world together in Montreal to agree on new goals and a framework for global action to protect and restore biodiversity.

Karen McAllister

In the early morning hours of the last day of the COP 15, UN Biodiversity Conference, the Kunming-Montreal Agreement was brought over the finish line. 

This momentous negotiation outlines a global biodiversity framework that works to halt and reverse further biodiversity and species loss. 

Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Valérie Courtois, the Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative announced the new First Nations National Guardians Network on December 9, 2022
Indigenous delegates meet on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) Day at COP15 to discuss Targets 1 to 3.

The 196 gathering nations agreed on four goals and 23 targets with one of the main goals centered around protecting 30 percent of the world’s land, water and marine areas by 2030.  This is an ambitious goal but most nations agree that this is the “floor not the ceiling”, and that it is critical that the “right areas” be protected–areas that are highly biodiverse and interconnected, and that respect Indigenous rights.

Discussions around resource mobilization were the most contentious, but an agreement was reached with $200 billion US per year towards international and domestic biodiversity-related funding coming from government, business, and philanthropic sources. This includes $20 to 30 billion per year going towards the global south and a pledge to reduce subsidies deemed harmful to nature of at least $500 billion by 2030. Significant effort was put in place to make targets measurable and to monitor progress.

Minister Huang Runqiu, Environment Minister and President of COP 15, presiding over the opening plenary.

“It was an incredible experience to be in Montreal to observe the delegates in action over the past two weeks. I was at one of the meetings that discussed Target 18, outlining the elimination (and/or reform) of subsidies, mainly to fossil fuel and agricultural interests, and I can tell you firsthand that achieving agreement was hard-won.” Pacific Wild’s Executive Director Karen McAllister

 The federal government made several key announcements over the past two weeks, including an $800 million commitment to four Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, the creation of a national guardian network, a new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPLC) in the Northwest Territories, and an additional $227.5 million of support for ocean restoration, conservation and research. In B.C. Premier Eby’s land stewardship letter commits to protecting 30% of the land base by 2030, including IPCAs, and for the implementation of old-growth recommendations.

The world showed up for biodiversity at COP 15.  Now, we need to hold leaders at all levels accountable to implementing the targets before us. Loss of biodiversity won’t be reversed with more words.