After four years of consultations and discussions, 5 open-ended working group meetings, and two weeks of intense negotiations and diplomatic acrobats, on the morning of 19th of December 2022, governments signatories to the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to ‘catalyze, enable and galvanize urgent and transformative action by Governments, subnational and local governments, and with the involvement of all of society to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and contribute to the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and to its Protocols.’
The 2022 – 2030 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted alongside other 5 decisions as a ‘package’, monitoring framework; mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review; capacity building and development, and technical and scientific cooperation; resource mobilization; and digital sequence information on genetic resources amidst procedural concerns raised by some of the parties. Of interest, the resource mobilization decision requested the Global Environment Facility to establish a special Trust Fund to support the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF Fund) 2023- 2030. Upon approval by the GEF council, the GBF fund ought to “quickly mobilize and disburse new and additional resources from all sources, commensurate with the ambition of the global biodiversity framework”;
The CBD Gender Plan of Action
The Gender Plan of Action was also adopted to support and promote the gender-responsive implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The adoption of the GPA alongside the GBF with the same implementation timelines is commendable and other conventions and United Nations processes should follow suit. The GPA will deliver 3 main outcomes;
- Expected outcome 1: All people in particular all women and girls, have equal opportunity and capacity to contribute to the three objectives of the Convention
- Expected outcome 2: Biodiversity policy, planning and programming decisions address equally the perspectives, interests, needs and human rights of all people, in particular of all women and girls
- Expected outcome 3: Enabling conditions are created to ensure gender responsive implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
Gender in the CBD Framework
Diving into the framework itself, it requests Parties to consider gender equality, intergenerational equity, human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, across implementation of biodiversity actions.
Civil society, women’s organizations and Indigenous Peoples fought hard and advocated persistently for gender equality and human rights to be well integrated into the targets, and celebrate the historic inclusion of a standalone target on gender equality.
- TARGET 22 Ensure the full, equitable, inclusive, effective and gender-responsive representation and participation in decision-making, and access to justice and information related to biodiversity by indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultures and their rights over lands, territories, resources, and traditional knowledge, as well as by women and girls, children and youth, and persons with disabilities and ensure the full protection of environmental human rights defenders.
- TARGET 23 Ensure gender equality in the implementation of the framework through a gender-responsive approach where all women and girls have equal opportunity and capacity to contribute to the three objectives of the Convention, including by recognizing their equal rights and access to land and natural resources and their full, equitable, meaningful and informed participation and leadership at all levels of action, engagement, policy and decision-making related to biodiversity.
Areas of Concern
Even with this progress, there are remaining areas of concern, including watered down targets that align with the long and systematic approach of the developed countries to walk away from their obligation to provide finance.
Similar to outcomes under the UN Climate Change process, the call for new and additional loan-free public finance was unmet – with targets instead calling for ambiguous and potentially harmful language around ‘finance from all sources’, ‘blended finance’, ‘innovative schemes’ – language which represent a concerning pivot away from developed country commitments to public finance towards unregulated and unaccountable private finance.
- (c) Leveraging private finance, promoting blended finance, implementing strategies for raising new and additional resources, and encouraging the private sector to invest in biodiversity, including through impact funds and other instruments;
- (d) Stimulating innovative schemes such as payment for ecosystem services, green bonds, biodiversity offsets and credits, benefit-sharing mechanisms, with environmental and social safeguards
The process also failed to reach consensus on the draft biodiversity and climate change decision, forcing parties to instead adopt a procedural decision after the global north countries persisted in adding language around ‘Nature Based Solutions’ in as many paragraphs as possible while refusing to remove brackets on ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’. A transformative biodiversity and climate change decision under CBD had the potential to create a pushback against corporate capture and false solutions veiled as “nature-based”, but that opportunity was lost in COP15.
Going forward, feminists and progressive governments should make the most out of the invitation to shape how climate change and biodiversity are being addressed under the Convention as articulated in procedural biodiversity and climate change decision.
- Requests Parties, and invites other Governments and international organizations, to submit their views and information on biodiversity and climate change, and requests the Executive Secretary to compile these views and information and make the compilation available to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice;
These outcomes fail to address structural challenges and systematic oppression and exploitation of people and environment which are the root cause of biodiversity loss, climate crisis and global economic and social crises. They represent a space, which similar to the UN Climate Change space, is deeply captured by corporate interest, and fractured in its imagination to truly transformative shifts that move us away from business as usual and tackle the crises at hand.
We celebrate the relentless work of the CBD Women’s Caucus and other civil society to raise the voice and demands of women’s rights and gender equality advocates – but here as everywhere – we are not complacent with recognition that is not met with real efforts to challenge the exploitation of our planetary systems.
We will continue to organize and fight for these processes to align towards our overarching goal of a peaceful and healthy planet for all.
Written by WEDO Global Policy Lead, Mwanahamisi Singano