Nature: finally, a part of the Climate dialogue!

22 Jan, 2022

A look at global events on biodiversity in 2021

Edited and Compiled by Neha Owaisy, Communication and Knowledge Management Expert

In 2021 biodiversity and nature took centre stage in the global conversation. The last two years of the global pandemic and health crisis have convinced nations to take stronger actions to counter biodiversity loss and consciously integrate nature in their dialogue and decisions. Many events and reports in 2021 played an important role in bringing about this change. We’ll look at some of them below -

SDG Report, June 2021

The Sustainable Development Report 2021 presented the SDG Index and Dashboards for all UN member states. It acknowledged that global challenges, including pandemics but also climate change and the biodiversity crisis, require a strong multilateral system. Damages to ecosystems and nature may lead to the emergence of other zoonotic diseases and pathogens; possibly with a much higher case fatality rate next time and that no country can singlehandedly prevent, respond, and recover from these global shocks. Now more than ever, the multilateral system must be supported to work effectively.1

Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) released the new Framework in July 2021, to guide actions worldwide through 2030, to preserve and protect nature and its essential services to people. The framework’s theory of change assumes that transformative actions are taken to deploy solutions to reduce threats to biodiversity. It is complementary to and supportive of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and considers the long-term strategies and targets of other multilateral environment agreements.2

UNFCCC COP 26, Oct-Nov 2021

Sustainable recovery from COVID-19 and solidarity with vulnerable parties to global efforts to tackle climate change remained an important topic in many global dialogues. In Nov 2021, the World Leaders Summit saw 120 Heads of State and Government set the tone for COP26 in the same week in Glasgow towards making a series of significant commitments to take national action and collaborate on tackling climate change. It also reaffirmed the continuation of key principles from the Paris Agreement and previous COPs, including multilateralism, and the importance of nature and biodiversity to climate action, as well as human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, empowerment of women among many others.3

Many commitments were made during the UNFCCC COP26 such as the Glasgow Leader's Declaration on Forests and Land Use by 130 leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests committed to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. The Global Forest Finance Pledge committed £8.75 billion ($12bn) of public funds to protect and restore forests, alongside £5.3 billion ($7.2 billion) of private investment. Acknowledging that nature, (including ecosystems and their biodiversity), plays a critical role in providing resources and services that underpin and support the planet and people nine multilateral development banks launched a joint statement outlining the actions they will take to mainstream nature into their policies, analysis, assessments, advice, investments and operations while supporting a sustainable, inclusive, green, and resilient post-COVID recovery.4

UN CBD COP 15 - Part 1

In the UN CBD COP - Part 1, Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) noted the insufficient progress made in the preceding decade but welcomed the increasing engagement of non-State actors, which indicated a deep shift in awareness of the interconnected biodiversity, climate and health emergencies facing the world. The bold commitments made in the preceding few years in response to the urgent need for action had now to be translated into policies, actions and results. Participants were urged to work together to shape and deliver a bold, inclusive and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework that catalysed the changes needed to reach the 2030 targets and 2050 vision and build an ecological civilization and a shared future for all life on Earth.5

"The fact that the two COPs are taking place pretty much back-to-back gives us that excellent opportunity to show how issues of biodiversity and climate change are inseparable," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN CBD, "climate change is becoming an increasingly serious driver of biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation - and that loss threatens to worsen climate change." All these developments set the tone for the second part of the UN CBD-COP15 that will reconvene in Kunming, China later this year.

Protecting the climate, environment and biodiversity, an accelerated global energy transition, and a sustainable and fair economic system are essential for a good life for all on our planet. As the climate and biodiversity crises are closely linked, it is important to strengthen natural climate protection. The preservation of biodiversity and its wise use will continue to play a significant role in global discussions the coming years.7

©Neha Owaisy




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