A new Global Framework for Biodiversity

Sandra Díaz, Gabriela Lichtenstein and Christopher Anderson participated in the COP15 of the UN in Montreal, Canada.

Christopher Anderson; Sandra Díaz and Gabriela Lichtenstein.

Every ten years, for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the 196 countries that are part of the United Nations (UN) Global Framework for Biodiversity agree on a strategy to address the multiple socio-environmental crises related to the loss of biodiversity and the deterioration of nature. Last year, on December 19, the new ‘Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (MGB)’ was approved with the participation of specialists from the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Sandra Díaz, Gabriela Lichtenstein and Christopher Anderson. by 2030, which replaces the ‘Aichi Targets’ that ran from 2010 to 2020. Due to the pandemic, the new framework was postponed for two years, but this time also provided an opportunity for greater participation and intervention from science , as well as different groups such as women’s groups, youth and indigenous communities, to improve the document.

The final agreement has 4 objectives and 23 targets, related to a) maintaining and restoring the biodiversity of species and populations and ecosystems, as well as the resilience and connectivity of the latter, by the year 2050, b) ensuring the contributions of nature for people in a sustainable way, c) to share fairly and equitably the benefits of nature and d) to obtain the financial resources and other support necessary for the implementation of the agreement.

It is worth mentioning that throughout the negotiations prior to the agreement and during COP15 itself, different CONICET researchers made their contributions to promote the link between science and public policies. Here, three specialists present their perspectives on this process and the new MGB that seeks to implement Vision 2050 to Live in harmony with Nature.

Sandra Díaz, CONICET researcher at the Multidisciplinary Institute of Plant Biology (IMBIV, CONICET-UNC): In 2019, the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was published by the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which served as one of the key pieces for the new Global CBD Framework. As co-chair of this report, and as coordinator of a group of more than 60 scientists who submitted suggestions to the CBD in the development of the MGB, Dr. Díaz has been an influential voice in positioning science in decision-making on the conservation of nature and also its relationship with human well-being.

The researcher says: “I consider it a great achievement to have this New MGB, for which many people worked for several years. And anyone who has witnessed the negotiations of the last two weeks will agree that at many times we thought we were going to end without a deal. Having said that, it is a complex patchwork of very well stated, precise, quantifiable goals, and others that are vague aspirations, which sound good but will be very difficult to monitor in practice, because they are not realistic, or because so many have been fed into it. neutralizing qualifiers that even symbolic progress, irrelevant in practice, could be presented as “progress” by the countries. For example, ‘reducing the extinction rate of species by ten by 2050’ is very ambitious, but it is very concrete and monitorable. On the other hand, ‘encouraging and enabling large private companies to reduce their footprints on biodiversity’ is not”.

And she added: “I highlight as great advances the use of the inclusive and pluralistic framework created by IPBES, which allows raising the participation of various disciplines, values, knowledge systems and worldviews to another level with respect to previous international documents. The explicit recognition, throughout the entire document, of the rights of native peoples and local communities is also very important. And I am also pleased that in a diversity document like this one there are specific goals for the greater inclusiveness of gender, minorities and other underrepresented or disempowered groups up to now. Honestly, the MGB is not up to the transformational change that we have been advocating since international reports. However, it is a significant advance; it gives a space, a base, that we should use to accelerate that change.”

Gabriela Lichtenstein, CONICET researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and Latin American Thought (INAPL-CONICET). For her part, Dr. Lichtenstein was lead author of the IPBES report on the Sustainable Use of Wildlife, and participated in COP15, as well as previous meetings of the Informal Group on the Post-2020 Global Framework for Biodiversity. as Regional Vice President of the Species Survival Commission for South America and Mesoamerica of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

For Lichtenstein, the Global Framework resulting from COP15 “is a clear commitment resulting from multilateral negotiations. As a result, some goals were blurred or ‘washed’ in relation to their original version, and the document was not as ambitious as many institutions would have hoped. However, it is a great collective achievement, and it is worth noting, among others, the action objectives for the conservation of species, and the goal of protecting at least 30% of the terrestrial, continental, coastal and marine areas in which the rights of indigenous and local communities are recognized and respected.

In this sense, the researcher explains : “The goal dedicated to ensuring gender equality is also of historical importance, according to which all women and girls have the same opportunities and ability to contribute to the three objectives of the Convention, including the recognition of their equal rights and access to land and natural resources. This is the first time that an agreement derived from the Rio Summit in 1992 adopts an exclusive goal of gender equality as well as a strong Action Plan to support it. Although the Kunming-Montreal Global Framework itself is not legally binding, governments will be tasked with showing progress in meeting their targets, through the development/update of national biodiversity strategies. The use of indicators will allow the monitoring of compliance with the agreed commitments. In this sense, CONICET researchers can play an important role in generating solid scientific information that contributes to the implementation and monitoring of this important agreement”.

Christopher Anderson, CONICET researcher at the Austral Center for Scientific Research (CADIC-CONICET): As an Argentine expert before IPBES since 2015, Anderson has been coordinator of the chapter on the Regional Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas and the report on The Multiple Values ​​and Valuations of Nature. Based on his experience, both at IPBES and at COP15, he highlights: “I am very struck by the fact that it is not just an Argentine researcher participating in these spaces, but our national scientific system is playing a leading role in various global processes of science-policy link on biodiversity and nature. It is very remarkable that ‘from the end of the world’ we are contributing knowledge inputs and leading multiple working groups to make better decisions not only about conservation but also the relationship of nature with human well-being. In the context of the new MGB, I underline the fact that, although it is not a perfect agreement, it consolidates a paradigmatic change that we have been working on that environmental conservation goes beyond the ecological and when we think of nature we must recognize and integrate its multiple values ​​– be they ecological and economic but also socio-cultural, health or spiritual”.

In this sense, the researcher who also works at the National University of Tierra del Fuego says: “It is very important to remember that in Argentina international treaties, such as the CBD, have the same legal rank as the National Constitution, and to implement our obligations it is crucial that the country use the MGB to guide national and local efforts. Among other things, we can put into practice the tools that allow us to quantify and monitor the different values ​​of nature, but also that promote the participation and inclusion of different social actors, principles that go hand in hand with sustainability. In particular, more focus has been placed on the role of women and diverse gender identities, youth, indigenous peoples and local communities. In short, there is no social justice without environmental justice”.