Nature NGOs Sound the Alarm After Nairobi Talks

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – As reported in NordSIP last week, the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) finally has a fixed date and venue.  This should be welcome news to forward-thinking institutional investors looking to position their portfolios and establish reporting frameworks ahead of an eventual Paris Agreement-style global biodiversity pledge.

    Unfortunately, despite the extra time afforded by Covid-19 related delays and the conclusion of several preparatory meetings, the agenda for December’s COP15 remains highly nebulous.  The latest preparatory meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya between June 21 and 26.  This fourth meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework involved around 1,000 representatives from over 150 countries but appears to have made little progress towards a draft framework for consideration in December.

    Many fundamental elements of the draft Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) remain unresolved.  These include proposed targets for the protection and restoration of ecosystems and mechanisms for ensuring the provision of sufficient resources to achieve GBF targets.  Other unresolved issues concern the use of pesticides and the effects of infrastructure projects on wildlife.  With no further working group meetings in the diary before COP15, environmental organisations are frantically sounding the alarm.  “There’s no way to sugar-coat it,” says Greenpeace International Senior Biodiversity Campaign Strategist An Lambrechts, “Nairobi forecasts a precarious COP15.  The lack of leadership among parties is staggering.  It’s an unsettling contrast with their high rhetoric on the urgent need to protect biodiversity.”

    Greenpeace is one of eight signatories of an open letter addressed to the U.N. Secretary General and the Heads of State of Parties to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).  Drafted on the conclusion of the Nairobi talks, the letter states that the “process has reached a crisis point.  Progress is not being made. Negotiations have become stagnant, and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is in peril.”  The signatory organisations call for “urgent concerted leadership from all parties to drive through the rights-based transformative change that scientists say is required and fully reflects the contributions of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.”

    Without the clear guidance of an internationally agreed Biodiversity Framework, well-intentioned investors will be limited to tinkering on the side-lines, and the vast amounts of capital needed to reverse the sharp decline in nature will remain untapped.  As reported in NordSIP last week, climate crisis talks are also floundering.  This “rabbit in the headlights” approach to resolving the twin climate and biodiversity crises is concerning.  COP15 organisers are now expected to add several days of preparatory meetings to the agenda.  The World urgently needs governments to finally walk the talk and leaders to step up to make a success of the upcoming COP15 and COP27.

    Image courtesy of Christoph Meinersmann from Pixabay (edited)
    Richard Tyszkiewicz
    Richard Tyszkiewicz
    Richard has over 30 years’ experience in the international investment industry. He has worked closely with major Nordic investors on consultancy projects, focusing on the evaluation of external asset managers. While doing so, Richard built up a strong practical understanding of the challenges faced by institutional investors seeking to integrate ESG into their portfolios. Richard has an MA degree in Management and Spanish from St Andrews University, and sustainability qualifications from Cambridge University, PRI and the CFA Institute.

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