The 15e Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP15, will finally be held in Montreal from 5 to 17 December 2022.
Initially scheduled to take place in Kunming, China, and postponed several times over the past two years due to the Covid 19 pandemic, this crucial meeting for the planet should result in a global framework for biodiversity that some hope will be as ambitious as the Paris Agreement for the climate. Given the urgency, radical measures are needed to stabilise the factors responsible for the worsening loss of biodiversity by 2030 and to “live in harmony with nature by 2050”.
This Conference of the Parties is the governing body of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the first international treaty that takes into account all aspects of biological diversity, adopted on 5 June 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio. Its three main objectives are:
1. The conservation of biological diversity
2. The sustainable use of its components
3. The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources
The COP on Biodiversity is thus composed of all the governments that have ratified this treaty, i.e. 195 states and the European Union. It should be noted that the United States has not ratified it because of provisions regulating the intellectual property rights of industries producing biotechnologies and GMOs. This conference, which takes place every two years, is an opportunity to take stock of the progress made but also to determine the priorities and action plans to be applied on a global scale.
The 2019 Global Biodiversity Assessment calls for a concerted policy response.
COP 15 is particularly important in view of the current and accelerating erosion of biodiversity.
The report of the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) published in 2019 is edifying in this respect. The biodiversity equivalent of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), this independent intergovernmental body set up in 2012, has drawn some very clear conclusions. Biodiversity is being lost faster than ever before in human history.
The IPBES report serves as a basis for the COP 15 biodiversity negotiations. It highlights in particular:
Land degradation has led to a reduction in agricultural productivity over 23% of the Earth’s surface, and crop failures worth between $235 billion and $577 billion are likely to occur each year as a result of pollinator loss.
In total, 75% of the land surface is significantly altered, 66% of the oceans are experiencing increasing cumulative impacts and more than 85% of the wetland area has been lost.
Furthermore, IPBES insists that only “far-reaching economic, social, political and technological changes” can reverse the current trajectory.
“The IPBES report shows that, on average, a quarter of the vertebrate and plant species on the IUCN Red List are threatened with extinction,” said Thomas Brooks, Chief Scientist at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and editor of the report. The IUCN Red List assesses the risk of extinction of species and has been adopted as an indicator of the state of global biodiversity by the United Nations.