COP15 – new Global Biodiversity Framework – We have a deal!

By Steve Gates

Dear NRPG members and interested,

This is a promising end to the COP15 Gobal Biodiversity meeting in Montreal, and something which should help us all protect nature and event reverse some of the damage, not only globally but positive ramifications for us locally…

Kind regards,
Steve Gates

President, NPRG Bushcarers

It didn’t come easy, but almost 200 countries have agreed to a new global framework to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. Read on to find out the good and the bad of the new Global Biodiversity Framework.

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People's Pass banner image
Hi Steve​We’ve made it to the finish line in Montreal.After marathon, eleventh-hour talks on Monday night (Montreal time), close to 200 countries finally struck a deal to “halt and reverse biodiversity loss” under a new, 10-year Global Biodiversity Framework.If I’m honest, there were moments at COP15 where I thought we wouldn’t get a new deal – that nations would settle for kicking the can down the road for another eight years.The final deal is good, but not great. Among some mind-boggling oversights (more on that below) there is plenty in it for Australia and other countries to work with to reverse nature destruction at home.Watch the COP15 wrap video with Kelly and I, and read on below for all the good bits in the agreement, the bad bits, and where Australia needs to go next to protect and restore nature.Watch Kelly and Nat's COP15 wrap videoThe good…The bottom line is that almost 200 countries are now accountable to a global agreement to “take urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on the path to recovery”.The deal sets a target of protecting 30% of land and oceans, inland waters and coastal areas by 2030, and restoring 30% of degraded ecosystems. These goals are key to protecting nature that’s still intact, and restoring what we’ve damaged.In a big shift for the business world, big corporations and financial institutions will now have to report their impacts on nature, so the public and investors can hold them accountable for the damage they do and pressure them to make better, nature-friendly decisions.The big, and largely constructive, presence of business here in Montreal is encouraging given that governments alone won’t fix our biggest problems and so many are caused by industry.Nations also agreed to end harmful subsidies to nature, phasing out the damaging practice of handing over public money to businesses to destroy nature.The bad…While a lot of the agreement is encouraging, there are some shocking gaps.Perhaps the worst is the lack of urgency to end extinction of species and ecosystems.The goal to end extinction by 2050 essentially says it is okay for extinctions to continue for 28 years. With many threatened species in Australia and around the world on a pathway to go extinct well before 2050, this is a massive hole in a framework that is supposed to protect biodiversity.To their credit, our Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and the Australian negotiators pushed hard to get countries to agree to a goal to end extinctions starting now, but it didn’t get the support it needed from other countries.Also, while 30% of land and oceans will be protected by 2030, what happens to the other 70%? Nations couldn’t agree on targets for reducing the impacts of human production and consumption – of systems like food, energy and transport – on habitat and biodiversity.There is still a massive shortfall in funding for protecting and restoring nature. Unlike Canada, the European Union, France and Germany, Australia did not put new funding on the table.What’s next for protecting nature in Australia?Two corellas sitting on a branchTwo corellas. Photo: June Orford.It’s now up to Tanya Plibersek and the Albanese Government to put the best parts of the new global deal for nature into action – starting with introducing strong new nature laws in 2023 and committing the funding needed to recover species and repair our damaged landscapes.The recent positive steps taken by the government – like the ambition we saw Tanya Plibersek bring to negotiations in Montreal, and the response to the Samuel Review’s recommendations for our currently broken national environment laws – don’t happen by accident. They happen because countless people like you have raised your voice to protect the places and wildlife we love, and the living systems we depend on.Thanks for standing up for our bush, rivers, oceans and communities over the course of a big year.Next year we’ve got a huge opportunity to lock in big gains for nature protection and restoration, by advocating together to make the government’s new laws as strong as possible – with real environmental standards across all industries, and an independent regulator to enforce them.And beyond 2023?Tanya Plibersek announced Australia will host a meeting of global environment ministers in 2024, aimed at unlocking private investment for protecting and repairing nature, as well as helping countries reach the goals agreed on in Montreal. Read the Sydney Morning Herald’s report.First Nations’ voices crucial in MontrealSamantha Murray at COP15For the first time, Indigenous rights and knowledge have been recognised throughout the Global Biodiversity Framework.ACF caught up with Samantha Murray, Deputy CEO of the Indigenous Desert Alliance, in Montreal. Samantha spoke about the connections made in Montreal between First Nations Peoples from around the world, and how a plan for protecting biodiversity must have First Nations knowledge and custodianship at its heart. Watch here.Bogong moths bounce back (this season at least)Bogong moth migration. Photo: Sarah Rees.The alarming decline of the iconic Bogong moth encapsulates the trouble nature is in, and the urgent need for global and domestic efforts to turn things around.Bogong moth numbers have plummeted from a spring migration of 4.5 billion moths to barely a trickle in recent years. Encouragingly, this year’s migration has seen a small uptick in numbers. Watch ACF searching for Bogong moths with Professor Eric Warrant and Linnea Rosberg in New South Wales’ stunning high country.That’s a wrap…From the ACF team in Montreal – Kelly, Tessa and myself – thanks so much for being part of the People’s Pass.It’s been a privilege to represent the ACF community at COP15 and engage with ministers, delegates, businesses and other advocacy organisations to bring you the inside scoop.Next year will be a big one for nature protection in Australia. Looking forward to standing with you again for nature, our communities and every living thing.NatNathaniel Pelle
Nature Campaigner Australian Conservation FoundationWe are Australia’s national environment organisation. We speak out, show up and act for a world where forests, rivers, people and wildlife thrive. We are proudly independent and funded by donations from our community.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay respect to Elders past and present and to the pivotal role that First Nations Peoples continue to play in caring for Country across Australia.
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