The post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) took center stage at the informal meeting in preparation for the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin recalls that when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the CBD had just embarked on a “super year” for biodiversity that was supposed to culminate with the adoption of the GBF at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15), in October 2020. To pave the way towards the delayed COP 15, delegates convened virtually to exchange views on a variety of issues, which the ENB described as productive and inclusive of stakeholders. But important differences of position persist that will need to be bridged in order to reach consensus on the GBF.
Diverging opinions were evident on resource mobilization targets, and modalities for reporting, review of implementation, and capacity development. In one example of a fundamental difference on which it will not be easy to find agreement, the ENB reports that the majority of participants called for raising the level of ambition in the GBF to address serious threats to biodiversity, but others said “it is not ambition that is lacking, but rather adequate means of implementation.” Developing country parties pointed to the need for capacity development, financial support, and technology transfer, among other types of support.
The ENB suggests that the the persistence of fundamental differences in opinion on major issues “is cause for concern.” To reach agreement, many delegates pointed to the need for compromises, often referring to a package deal.
The informal meeting convened from 8-12 and 14 March 2021. Looking forward, many delegates indicated flexibility for continuing to meet virtually as needed.
As the ENB team observes, “The pandemic has halted many things, but not the biodiversity crisis.” [Earth Negotiations Bulletin meeting coverage]