by Vincent Diringer
Biodiversity plays an important part in maintaining a healthy planet as well as the ecosystem services that we rely on. As such, protecting nature should be a key consideration within climate action. COP27 will have a dedicated thematic day based entirely on biodiversity and implications for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. But what exactly can we look forward to in these discussions, and what is there to be built on?
The Glasgow Climate Pact which emerged from COP26 mentions the importance of conserving and restoring the world’s natural systems, but stopped short of identifying key areas of focus or specific recommendations to be taken . With specific ocean and biodiversity-based summits happening throughout 2022 in leadup to COP27, all eyes shifted towards the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD; COP15) and the UN Ocean Conference (UNOC) [2, 3].
Areas to Monitor
Owing to the COVID pandemic the CBD was unable to convene and has been rescheduled multiple times, it is currently slated to happen after COP27, between December 7-19, 2022 . Despite this setback, the CBD still made progress, with UNOC punctuated by UN Secretary-General António Guterres declaring an ocean emergency following new record highs in sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and sea surface temperatures. No further policy announcements came from UNOC, but it cast a spotlight on ocean-based solutions.
Following COP26 and leading up to UNOC, the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC) gained momentum towards protecting 30% of the world’s natural areas – both marine and land–by 2030. Led by Costa Rica and France, the coalition secured commitments to the 30×30 goal from over a 100 countries so far . The 30×30 target is being chased in conjunction with the United Kingdom-led Global Ocean Alliance (GOA), which seeks to designate 30% of the world’s oceans as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) .
While there are little details as to the implementation of these goals, a framework is expected to follow the CBD COP15, and discussions started already on management and best practice [7-9]. The 30×30 goal represents one of the biggest nature-based policies undertaken at an international level, and could open new pathways to sustainable economies – especially island and coastal communities . Outside of the 30×30 goal, there are a few other areas to monitor for movement on biodiversity related policies:
- Marine conservation and protection of marine resources have been at the forefront of discussion ahead of COP27 – there are reasons to believe that there could be more specific policies aimed at supporting this typically under-represented policy area ;
- Forests, which were the subject of the “Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use” aimed at halting deforestation, and the “Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Statement” at COP26 could see more policies aimed at further protecting the world’s forests .
- COP27’s Biodiversity Day happens at the tail end of the summit, but there are biodiversity-related days prior, such as Agriculture and Water, which could yield important developments ; and
- Also happening at Sharm-el-Sheik on the fringes of COP27 is the World Biodiversity Summit, a precursor of the CBD COP15 summit, which will end the day before Biodiversity Day .
Heading into COP27, the biggest policy development to look out for regarding biodiversity could be determined several weeks after the conference. The 30×30 goal is the most ambitious target that is on the agenda, and as frameworks are being settled at the CBD COP15 in December, it is likely that the only movement we see during COP27 is new countries committing to the goal. New policies on forests and oceans are more likely to be announced, building on COP26 negotiations as well as the discussions held throughout the year [11, 12]. As always though, the announcements must be followed with clear targets with a system for monitoring, and accountability, as well as financial backing to implement the changes. You can read more about our Pre-COP27 Finance analysis here, and stay tuned for more ClimaTalk’s coverage of COP27!
 UNFCCC, 2022. “The Glasgow Climate Pact – Key Outcomes from COP26”, URL: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-glasgow-climate-pact-key-outcomes-from-cop26 [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 European Academies Science Advisory Council, 2021. “Key Messages from European Science Academies for UNFCCC COP26 and CBD COP15”, URL: https://easac.eu/publications/details/key-messages-from-european-science-academies-for-unfccc-cop26-and-cbd-cop15/ [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 United Nations, 2022, “UN Ocean Conference”, URL: https://www.un.org/en/conferences/ocean2022 [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2022, “UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) (Part 2)”, URL: http://sdg.iisd.org/events/un-biodiversity-conference-cbd-cop-15-part-2/ [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, 2022, “More than 100 Countries Now Formally Support the Global Target to Protect at least 30% of the Planet’s Land and Ocean by 2030”, URL: https://www.hacfornatureandpeople.org/more-than-100-countries-now-formally-support-the-global-target-to-protect-at-least-30-of-the-planet-by-2030 [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 Simon Read, 2022, “What’s the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) and why is it important for nature?” World Economic Forum, URL: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/09/cop15-biodiversity-nature-ecosystems/ [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 The Nature Conservancy, 2022, “How Do We Enhance Area-Based Conservation?”, URL: https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-insights/perspectives/effective-area-based-biodiversity-conservation-defra/ [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 Island Innovation, 2022, “Sustainable Financing for the Pacific Blue Continent”, URL:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wyzVLC57d4 [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 Simon Stiell & Matthew Samuda, 2022, “Caribbean 30×30 target: Protecting nature to protect future”, Jamaica Gleaner, URL: https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20220327/simon-stiell-and-matthew-samuda-caribbean-30×30-target-protecting-nature [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 UNFCCC, 2022, ““Blueing” the Paris Agreement at COP27”, https://unfccc.int/news/blueing-the-paris-agreement-at-cop27 [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 Alok Sharma, 2022, “Leaders will build on Glasgow legacy to establish Forests & Climate Leaders’ Partnership at COP27”, United Kingdom Government, URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/leaders-will-build-on-glasgow-legacy-to-establish-forests-climate-leaders-partnership-at-cop27 [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 COP27, 2022 “Thematic Days”, URL: https://cop27.eg/#/presidency/eventsThematic [Accessed October 10, 2022]
 World Biodiversity Summit, 2022, “World Biodiversity Summit – Part 2” URL: https://www.worldbiodiversitysummit.org/sharm-el-sheikh [Accessed October 10, 2022]