U.N. Body Releases Draft Plan to Put Biodiversity on Path to Recovery by 2050

Global conservation framework includes targets that value, conserve, restore, and protect our planet, and meet people’s needs through sustainable use

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U.N. Body Releases Draft Plan to Put Biodiversity on Path to Recovery by 2050
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The first official draft of the United Nations’ new global framework for safeguarding and restoring biodiversity lays out a vision of how humankind can live in harmony with nature by 2050.
Greg Karozy

In an attempt to put humanity on a path toward “living in harmony with nature” and help biodiversity recover worldwide, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on July 12 shared the first official draft of its Global Biodiversity Framework. The draft framework is the culmination of several months of negotiations among CBD member governments and other stakeholders and considers more than 2,000 comments from the science community, policy leaders, Indigenous peoples, and civil society.

The plan seeks to deliver transformative action to achieve this vision and, recognizing that there is no single approach to achieve this, lists four long-term goals to be reached by 2050 and a series of milestones with a 2030 deadline.

For example, Goal B calls for maintaining or enhancing nature’s contributions to people “through conservation and sustainable use supporting the global development agenda for the benefit of all.” That goal is supported by two 2030 milestones: that “nature and its contributions to people are fully accounted and inform all relevant public and private decisions,” and that the long-term sustainability of all categories of nature’s contributions to people be ensured, with “those currently in decline restored.”

The milestones will be bolstered by 21 action targets that together are intended to address threats posed by climate change, pollution, overexploitation, invasive species, and changes in how people use our planet’s land and sea.

Each of the 21 targets is a needed component of a comprehensive approach to conservation. The Pew Charitable Trusts is particularly encouraged to see Target 3, which reflects the commitment of more than 80 countries, global alliances, and coalitions to conserving and protecting at least 30% of our global ocean by 2030, and 30% of land.

Specifically, the draft Target 3 states: “Ensure that at least 30% globally of land areas and sea areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and its contributions to people, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated in the wider landscapes and seascapes.”

It’s important to recognize that action to effectively protect and conserve at least 30% of our ocean and land is only one part of securing a healthy planet. Other draft targets noted in the framework relate to work that Pew is engaged in, including eliminating the discharge of plastic waste, conserving carbon-rich ecosystems to address climate adaptation and mitigation, securing sustainable management of fisheries, acting to end harmful fisheries subsidies, and leveraging financing, partnerships, and capacity building to support conservation efforts.

We are pleased to see that the framework recognizes that the loss of biodiversity is jeopardizing human well-being and sustainable development and that conservation efforts must include all stakeholders and be designed to benefit biodiversity, people, and the climate. The engagement and leadership of Indigenous peoples and local communities is vital to this effort. The draft goals, milestones, and targets seek to outline a holistic approach with a focus on the “benefit of all”, in an effort to engage all stewards of the environment and realize outcomes that are equitable, inclusive, and sustainable.

We also appreciate that the framework underscores the need to be able to account for nature and its contribution to our global economy, society, and wildlife and sets targets that call for adequate financing and resources over the next three decades to ensure the capacity to deliver the 2050 vision.

Next month the CBD process will open for another round of comment, where negotiations will continue to hopefully strengthen these targets, milestones, and goals. Pew will continue to engage in this process, with partners, to help deliver a framework that secures robust and measurable targets for effective conservation outcomes for nature and people.

Masha Kalinina coordinates The Pew Charitable Trusts’ cross-campaign efforts with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

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