As COP15 enters into its third day, a coalition has called upon the world leaders to protect primary forests as part of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The Primary Forest Alliance (PFA) demanded a moratorium on industrial development in primary forests
The day also saw 46 countries signing a statement that said “collaborate and conclude negotiations” on the ambitious post-2020 deal. Besides, all EU member states, the UK, Nigeria, Mexico, Australia, Gabon and Vaunatu, were some of the signatories. The statement highlights the deal to conserve 30 percent of nature, restore billions of hectares of land, safeguard Indigenous Peoples and align financial flows. What was unmissable were the signatories who were not part of the statement which included India, Brazil, Russia and China.
It is undeniable that the global negotiations on the plan, which is known as the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), have achieved some progress. There has been greater consensus on the need to enhance synergies between the biodiversity and climate regimes. Also unifying voices are seen on its overall structure, broad support for a target to protect 30 percent of land and sea, and an unprecedented recognition of right-based approaches.
The UN biodiversity convention has three official objectives. Besides, the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use, the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources is a key objective.The target to protect 30 percent of land and sea areas has come to embody the environmental ambition of the GBF and COP15. The target, which has large-scale support, would see protected areas increase from 15 percent of land and 7 percent of the ocean to 30 percent for both by 2030. The contentious issues in it revolve around the areas beyond national jurisdiction, protected areas of indigenous people and the provision of means of implementation to ensure effective protection. Experts believe it is unlikely that any global consensus will be finalised on this flagship 30 by 30 target until all the other elements of the GBF are agreed upon.
Another area which has become a key issue is Digital Sequencing Information (DSI), which refers to data from DNA or RNA that can be stored digitally. Developing countries have claimed that DSI should be understood as part of genetic resources and therefore included in the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) mechanism of the CBD, as well as related provisions of the GBF. However, developed countries have have opposed solutions that would affect this access.
Several developing countries have also insisted on the need to establish a new Global Biodiversity Fund with a more focused mandate covering all CBD’s goals. But this has been sternly opposed by donor countries that prefer to continue working with a Global Environmental Facility.