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Policy Paper |

Greens/EFA demands for COP15 of the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD)

Conference of the Parties to the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity

At the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity governments should:

1. Ensure the effective protection and equitable governance of “at least 30 percent” of global land and sea area, among other targets.

Science supports a protection target of 30 to 70 percent of the land and sea on Earth, and so “at least 30 percent” describes the lower bracket of that. Importantly, these areas need to be well governed and effectively managed. They cannot be “paper parks”. Environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development should be prohibited, and there should be a clear reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Free, Prior and Informed consent for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs).

2. Put Indigenous Peoples and local communities at the centre of decision-making management and funding to protect wildlife.

Eighty percent of remaining biodiversity is in the lands, waters and territories of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs). The protection of nature therefore begins with the recognition and protection of their rights, livelihoods and cultures.

3. Agree a well-resourced, solid plan for how to achieve the goals and targets.

A solid implementation plan is just as important as well-defined targets. All countries should develop national targets corresponding to each of the post-2020 global targets, and a “ratchet mechanism” to stimulate further improvement. A country-by-country review should be established to track countries’ progress, ensure that finance is allocated where it should, and provide appropriate support to countries that fail to contribute adequately to the global goals and targets.

4. Provide sufficient finance to achieve implementation.

Finance should mainly come from public sources and redirected from harmful subsidies paid out today. Public investments in biodiversity conservation and restoration make little sense if they are outpaced by investments in nature destruction. The EU should become a global leader in financing measures against the loss of biodiversity.

5. Set up a fair and equitable mechanism for sharing the benefits of digital sequence information.

This mechanism should include a multilateral system by which benefits paid for the commercial use of DSI are pooled and distributed by an international entity and used to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity by Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs).

6. Agree a global moratorium on deep sea mining.

Deep sea mining should not be allowed until its effects on the marine environment, biodiversity and human activities at sea have been sufficiently researched, and this activity can be carried out without marine biodiversity loss or degradation of marine ecosystems.

7. Adopt a global moratorium on releases of gene drive organisms into nature. 

Gene drive organisms are genetically engineered to spread certain traits rapidly through populations. Governments should oppose their release, including for conservation purposes. They should agree on horizon scanning, technology assessment and monitoring with regard to the adoption of new technologies and seek prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples and local communities for the release of any technologies which may impact on their traditional knowledge, innovation, practices, livelihoods and use of land, resources and water.

8. Agree to significantly reduce pollution. 

Pollution from all sources should be reduced to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity, ecosystem functions and human health. This should include a reduction of nutrient losses to the environment by at least half, a reduction of synthetic pesticides by at least two thirds, the phase-out of highly hazardous pesticides in agriculture by 2030, and the elimination of discharge of plastic waste.

9. Streamline biodiversity protection into all policy areas.

Policy decisions on biodiversity should not be siloed in environmental ministries. Biodiversity needs to be reflected in decisions impacting economic activities, especially those with large impacts on biodiversity. Preserving the basis for our civilisation should therefore be streamlined into all policy areas.

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Read our blog by Greens/EFA MEPs Ville Niinistö and Jutta Paulus on why the COP15 biodiversity conference is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to advance the protection and restoration of nature worldwide.

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