What is the Convention on Biological Diversity?  

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), convened in 1993, brings governments together to establish global strategies toward three objectives:

  • The conservation of biological diversity
  • The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
  • The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources

The CBD has so far produced two important international agreements:

  1. The Cartagena Protocol on biosafety entered into force in 2003, seeks to protect the environment from the potential risks of Genetically Modified (GM) organisms.
  2. The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources entered into force in 2014, aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.

The Conference has also implemented many positive decisions that have contributed to the promotion of environmental integrity and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

In 2010, the conference in Nagoya adopted a Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets for the 2011-2020 period. After the unsuccessful implementation of these targets, negotiations focused on the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.  This process is expected to lead to the adoption of the new framework during the second phase of the UN Biodiversity Conference to be held in Montreal, Canada from 7 to 19 December 2022.

Friends of the Earth International will be present, raising awareness of the dangers of solutions such as ”Nature Positive” – a meaningless concept that allows biodiversity destruction in one area as long as it’s restored elsewhere. Worryingly, this concept sits at the heart of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Our work in the Convention on Biological Diversity

In response to the threat of biodiversity collapse and the global effects of deforestation, Friends of the Earth International has been participating in the CBD since 2004. The biodiversity crisis is inextricably linked to the environmental, climatic and social crises, therefore, to save biodiversity and tackle these multiple crises, we need system change. Unfortunately, corporate capture of the CBD is undermining these vital processes. 

Working closely with the CBD Alliance and providing in-depth analysis, we are pushing for system change and for people-led solutions to biodiversity loss. Together with the CBD Alliance we have contributed to the negotiations leading to Montreal, with our vision of a successful Global Biodiversity Framework, and shared a common view on the specific elements which should or should not be part of the framework. 

Friends of the Earth International advocates for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who are biodiversity’s true custodians. We believe the rights of communities are deeply intertwined with the protection of the ecosystems in which they live. When corporations invade these territories, environmental defenders step up to defend their communities and the ecosystems in those territories. We advocate for the inclusion of human rights defenders in the global biodiversity framework. 

Protecting nature means ensuring there are clear enforceable rules for corporations to fully protect biodiversity, ecosystems, Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ rights and human rights. We must address the root causes as well as the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss. We must ensure that biodiversity is considered in all economic sectors. We must address Industrial agriculture, which has a huge impact on biodiversity. 

We cannot commercialise biodiversity, make it market-dependent, or allow offsetting. Technological solutions alone are not the answer and must be based on the precautionary approach. We must live within planetary boundaries. The solutions to the biodiversity crisis are out there in the form of agroecology and community based solutions, we just need to scale them up as part of a strong and truly effective, people-led global biodiversity framework.  

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