Cop15: Global Biodiversity Framework a ‘first step’ in resetting our relationship with natural world

‘Success will be measured by our rapid and consistent progress in implementing what we have agreed to’

The adoption of a Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and the associated package of ambitious targets, goals and financing “represents but a first step in resetting our relationship with the natural world”, said UN Environment Programme director Inger Andersen, who played a prominent role at Cop15.

“Success will be measured by our rapid and consistent progress in implementing what we have agreed to. The entire UN system is geared to support its implementation so that we can truly make peace with nature. For far too long humanity has paved over, fragmented, over-extracted and destroyed the natural world on which we all depend. Now is our chance to shore up and strengthen the web of life so it can carry the full weight of generations to come.”

She said measures taken for nature were measures to reduce poverty; to achieve the UN sustainable development goals and to improve human health. “This is but one indivisible package,” Ms Andersen added.

The World Wildlife Fund welcomed the agreement’s target to conserve at least 30 per cent of land, freshwater and ocean globally, “while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and recognising the contributions of indigenous and traditional territories towards the target’s tally”.


However, WWF warned the agreement’s goal of reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 could be undermined if weak language in critical areas such as the protection of intact ecosystems and tackling unsustainable production and consumption is not addressed at the national level.

“Agreeing a shared global goal that will guide collective and immediate action to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 is an exceptional feat for those that have been negotiating the GBF, and a win for people and planet. It sends a clear signal and must be the launch pad for action from governments, business and society to transition towards a nature-positive world, in support of climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals,” added Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International.

Business for Nature said governments had agreed to require large companies to assess and disclose their effects, and in doing so are more explicit about what they expect from business on nature than the Paris agreement did on climate. It said the mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and a robust target on environmentally-harmful subsidies provide a clear direction for businesses and financial institutions to rally behind.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times