ICFC reaction to COP15 outcomes

Media release: for immediate release

COP15 outcome: The world gets serious in tackling global biodiversity loss

December 19, 2022, Montreal, Canada – While much attention has been on the goal of protecting 30% of land and marine areas of the planet by 2030, which was accepted in Sunday night’s historic agreement at the United Nations Biodiversity conference in Montreal, the International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC) is equally concerned about the targets set for the financing required to halt the ongoing biodiversity loss.  The significant financial gap of US$700 billion per annum worldwide was rightly a major topic during the two weeks of negotiations by 188 country parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In the end, the outcome on the finance question was seen by ICFC as very good news.  Years of negotiations on the new ten-year Global Biodiversity Framework ended in a target for mobilizing at least US$200 billion annually. 

Importantly, the agreed target for financial flows from developed to developing countries for conservation is US$30 billion by 2030.  This represents a three-fold increase in such aid, although it falls short of the amounts the developing countries say they need.  Lower-income countries harbour most of the world’s biodiversity and that is where conservation has been most under-funded.  Nevertheless, the adoption of this US$30 billion target represents a major step forward.

One ambitious target (Target 18 of 23) addresses an even larger part of the finance gap.   Agricultural and other incentives that inadvertently harm nature greatly exceed spending on conservation.  Governments agreed to reduce these harmful subsidies by US$500 billion per year by 2030, and to scale up positive incentives. 

The 30 by 30 target for protected areas was made contingent on “recognizing and respecting” the land rights of Indigenous people and local communities—a key proviso given the essential role they play as conservation allies.

Countries also agreed to manage the remaining 70 percent of the planet to avoid losing areas of high importance to biodiversity and to ensure that big businesses disclose biodiversity risks and impacts from their operations.  Another target is reducing the overall risk from pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals by at least half.

Many have called for transformative change in our relationship with nature.  With the final wording of the four goals and 23 targets, the agreed Framework can indeed be called transformative.

Canadians can be proud of the role Canada played in negotiations, led by Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.  All participating countries deserve credit for overcoming disagreements on the myriad of issues and arriving at an agreement that demands strong action to protect the natural ecosystems on which human well-being depends.

Now the focus must turn to action on many fronts to achieve these targets.

At the beginning of the COP, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will provide an additional $350 million (over three years) to help developing countries protect their large share of the world’s biodiversity.  This represents a big increase in Canada’s international biodiversity assistance.  The investment is on top of the more than one billion dollars Canada has earmarked for nature-based solutions benefitting biodiversity as part of its five-year international climate finance commitment of $5.3 billion, and Canada’s contribution to the Global Environment Facility ($219 million over four years).

The International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC) has called for a greater international investment by Canada since releasing its report in 2020 titled “Tropical nature needs us:  An expanded role for Canada in stemming global biodiversity loss”.  As part of the Green Budget Coalition, ICFC recommended an annual contribution of $600 million for conservation in lower-income countries.

Photo: Left to right: Molly Bartlett, Executive Director of ICFC;  Rina Mandimbiniaina, Madagascar Conservation Associate at Rainforest Trust, Carlos R. Garcia, Senior Project Director at ICFC at the Palais de Congrès in Montreal.

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