COP15 at risk of downgrading ocean action

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) or COP15 from December 7 to 19 in Montreal, Canada, is the long awaited conference to finally set the new post-Aichi goals to halt and reverse global biodiversity decline.

Through a new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the world will seek to stem the devastating loss of nature with its catastrophic consequences for humanity and the climate.

But ministers and negotiators are at risk of forgetting that nature is also blue.

The target being negotiated for the GBF is to achieve protection for 30 per cent of the world’s biodiversity by 2030 — 30×30 — but some states are trying to limit this to terrestrial realms only, suggesting that only 10 per cent of the ocean should be protected. This is despite the pivotal role of marine biodiversity in helping to mitigate climate change through the ocean biological pump, and its role in capturing and storing carbon.

The GBF is far from secure with Indonesia suggesting that the deadline should be extended to 2045 and the EU understood to be suggesting vaguer language around levels of protection.

And despite the need for strong leadership by the 112 so-called High Ambition Countries that are committed to 30×30, including for the ocean, world leaders are not planning to attend the COP.

A number of ocean NGOs are attending COP15 to defend the target of at least 30×30, including the global ocean and other marine elements of the negotiations.

A new campaign is also launching — #OceanInTheRoom, which encourages people to wear a strip of blue fabric to be a representative for the ocean in the meeting and beyond. This will go live on December 3 and is intended to remind everyone that the ocean is essential to all life on Earth.




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