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Environment
News article31 August 2021Directorate-General for Environment

Protecting global biodiversity: political momentum for nature picks up at pre-COP 15 high-level event

In the run up to 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD CoP 15), on 30th August Colombia convened a high-level pre-COP 15 event gathering numerous delegations, including members of global alliances for nature.  The EU was represented by the Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans and Director General of DG Environment Florika Fink-Hooijer, who called for stepping up efforts to halt biodiversity loss and to restore nature over the next decade.

While negotiations for a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework are advancing, the representatives of three political coalitions - the “Leaders Pledge for Nature”, the “High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People” and the “Global Ocean Alliance”- joined forces at the high-level virtual pre-COP 15 event hosted yesterday by the Government of Colombia. Endorsed by 116 countries since 2019 and supported by hundreds of participants from governments and non-state actors, these coalitions have been critical in building the momentum needed for the adoption of an ambitious, effective and transformative post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at COP 15. They reaffirmed the urgency of reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 to solve the planetary crisis and achieve sustainable development.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said:

We stand at a pivotal moment in time. We can still fix the biodiversity crisis, but we need to act fast. At COP15, the world must come with a concrete plan to reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on the path to recovery. This includes concrete measures to stop the extinction of species and protect 30% of land and 30% of seas by 2030.

Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said:

Nature is in crisis and there is no time to lose. To realise transformative change of whole-of-society, we need an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework with strong provisions on implementation, monitoring and review. Thus we are determined to make progress on the road to Kunming and put nature on the path to recovery.

The European Commission has also joined the intergovernmental High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, actively supporting the goal to conserve at least 30% of land and sea by 2030. The Leaders Pledge for Nature launched in the margins of the UN Summit on biodiversity on 28 September 2020, endorsed until now by 88 countries and the EU and supported by non-state actors, reflects the international commitment to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and address the planetary emergency we are in.

In addition to this political process, the Commission is reiterating its invitation to all world institutions to join its Global Coalition “United for Biodiversity”. Since its launch in March 2020, 43 organisations and 280 institutions from 51 countries have joined forces worldwide to tackle the biodiversity crisis, and raise their voices to call on governments to be ambitious at CBD COP 15. The Global Coalition invites all world zoos and aquariums, research centres and universities, national parks, natural reserves and protected areas, botanical gardens and museums of any category to join forces to raise awareness about the need to revert the current trend of biodiversity loss which led to one million species to be at the brink of extinction.

Background

Under the European Green Deal, the European Commission adopted its EU Biodiversity Strategy last year, which aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. It commits to establishing a larger EU-wide network of effectively managed protected areas covering 30% of land and 30% of sea, with one third of this area strictly protected. The Strategy also sets out a wide range of commitments and measures aimed at restoring nature, enabling the necessary transformational change and expresses the Commission's determination to mobilise all tools of external action and international partnerships to help develop and implement an ambitious new UN Global Biodiversity Framework.

Next steps

At the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 76, 14-30 September), an interactive dialogue on Harmony with Nature will take place. The EU is also co-organiser of the special event “Transformative Action for Nature and People” on 22 September.

Hosted by China, the first stage of CBD COP 15 will take place virtually on 11 to 15 October 2021, followed by the second stage on 25 April to 8 May 2022 in Kunming.

For more information

Protecting biodiversity worldwide – towards an international agreement at COP 15

EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030

Global Coalition “United for Biodiversity”

List of countries endorsing the coalitions for nature

Leaders Pledge for Nature

Details

Publication date
31 August 2021
Author
Directorate-General for Environment