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Podcast: Convention on Biological Diversity: progress, hope and hard work ahead

  • On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we discuss the upcoming conference of the parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and what it will take to create a robust post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
  • We speak with Elizabeth Mrema, an Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. She tells us about the outcomes of the recently held Geneva talks, why the world failed to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and how COP15 (to be held in Kunming, China later this year) can provide a roadmap to actually halting biodiversity loss and safeguarding nature.
  • We also speak with Jennifer Tauli Corpuz, a member of the Indigenous Caucus at the Convention on Biological Diversity talks. She gives us the Indigenous perspective on what’s currently in the draft biodiversity framework, what changes are needed to better support Indigenous land rights, and the overall importance of Indigenous leadership in preserving Earth’s biodiversity.

Today we’re looking at the upcoming conference of the parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP15, where delegates will meet to finalize a global strategy for safeguarding nature and securing a future for all life on planet Earth.

Listen here:

After multiple delays due to the Covid pandemic, parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are expected to meet later this year to hammer out the final post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

A round of negotiations just wrapped up in Geneva, Switzerland, last month, setting the stage for COP15, which will be held in Kunming, China later this year – though the Chinese government has yet to release details about when the meeting will take place.

A lot is riding on the outcome of COP15, all the more because none of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed to by parties to the CBD in 2010 have been fully achieved at the global level, and biodiversity has continued to decline apace over the past decade.

There are hopes that a robust post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be agreed to in Kunming. A global 30×30 goal is expected to be included in the final framework, but it remains to be seen how other important issues will be addressed, such as promoting more sustainable forms of agriculture, which is currently threatening 86% of species at risk of extinction, and securing Indigenous land tenure and rights, which are increasingly coming to be seen as crucial to any effort to halt the destruction of nature.

To help us unpack all of this, we speak today with Elizabeth Mrema, an Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. She tells us about the outcomes of the Geneva talks, why the world failed to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and how COP15 can provide a roadmap to actually halting biodiversity loss and safeguarding nature.

We also speak with Jennifer Tauli Corpuz, a senior global policy and advocacy lead for an organization called Nia Tero who also participates in the Convention on Biological Diversity talks as a member of the Indigenous Caucus. She gives us the Indigenous perspective on what’s currently in the draft biodiversity framework, what changes are needed, and the overall importance of Indigenous leadership in preserving Earth’s biodiversity.

Further listening:

“Podcast: Crucial to conservation, Indigenous communities’ environmental leadership endures” (24 March 2022)

Further reading:

“Reaching the Paris Agreement without protecting Indigenous lands is ‘impossible’, says report” (1 April 2022)

“Indigenous land rights take center stage in a new global framework for biodiversity conservation (commentary)” (24 March 2022)

“Climate efforts won’t succeed without secure community rights, says Nonette Royo” (13 December 2021)

“Momentum is building for a ‘robust’ biodiversity framework: Q&A with Elizabeth Mrema” (20 April 2021)

“Study confirms what scientists have been saying for decades: the sixth mass extinction is real and caused by us” (21 June 2015)

Red-eyed tree frog. Photo Credit: Rhett A. Butler.
A resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) in a cloud forest in Costa Rica. Photo by Francesco Veronesi, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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