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Landmark GBF to Reverse Biodiversity Loss!

The much anticipated ‘Paris Moment for Biodiversity’ arrived on the last day of the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal with the signing of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The GBF lays down 4 global goals and 23 targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, besides other measures to stop and reverse biodiversity loss and protect vital ecosystems. The framework will seek to completely stop the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity.

More than 100 countries had signed up for the 30X30 pledge even before the commencement of COP15 and it is the most important part of the GBF. Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have agreed to place 30% of terrestrial and marine areas under protection, including inland waters and coastal areas. The framework will prioritize ecologically-representative, well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories and practices.

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The GBF will mobilize at least $200 billion per year in biodiversity-related funding from all sources by 2030 and increase financial flows to developing countries. Parties also established a multilateral fund for equitable sharing of benefits from Digital Sequence Information (DSI), which has many applications and will help biodiversity-rich developing countries like India with the necessary funds for conservation of nature and biodiversity.

Multinational companies and financial institutions will now have to monitor, assess, and disclose all the risks, dependencies and impacts of their business operations on biodiversity as per the provisions of the GBF. The framework will seek to progressively phase out or reform by 2030 subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least $500 billion per year.

Another GBF goal is to reduce global food waste, overconsumption, and waste generation. Target 16 will aim to ensure that people are encouraged and enabled to make sustainable consumption choices including by establishing supportive policy, legislative or regulatory frameworks, improving education and access to relevant and accurate information and alternatives.

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Target 10 of the GBF elaborates on the sustainable management of areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry through agroecological and other innovative approaches contributing to long-term efficiency and food security. Gender equality is addressed in Target 23, with emphasis on the implementation of the framework through a gender-responsive approach and recognizing equal rights and access to land and natural resources, and informed participation and leadership at all levels.

A press statement released to announce the launch of the GBF warned that “Without such action, there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.” With monitoring mechanisms that were absent in earlier agreements and the GBF will facilitate the restoration of vital ecosystems, reverse biodiversity loss and propel us towards a nature positive future.

About the Author:

Rituraj Phukan is an environmental writer, adventurer & naturalist based out of Assam. He serves as the National Coordinator for Biodiversity, Climate Reality India and is a member of the IUCN.

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