16 December 2022, Montreal Canada - A post 2020-Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) with protection and conservation measures alone will not be able to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity.
Rather, world leaders must elevate the ambition and demand urgent action to equitably halve humanity’s footprint on biodiversity by 2030. Only then will mankind be able to halt global biodiversity loss and place it on the path to recovery by 2030, for the benefit of the planet and people.
This is what Vanuatu’s Minister of Climate Change, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, told world leaders during the High Level Segment of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) at the Palais des Congress in Montreal, Canada on Friday.
“Small island states like Vanuatu have negligible footprints as compared to developed countries, so we want to see developed countries pledging significantly higher ambition to reduce their footprints, and to incentivise or create policies that require large corporations and the private sector to significantly reduce their footprint on nature,” Hon. Regenvanu said.
“An ambitious GBF will require accessible resources, from all sources, commensurate with the challenge we face, and will require aligning all financial flows with the objectives of the Convention and the GBF. And there must be significantly greater investment towards supporting SIDS like Vanuatu in transforming its key sectors.”
Like all Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Vanuatu needs timely, adequate, and easily accessible resources, both financial and technical, to accelerate and scale up best practices for the just transformation of its productive sector. This will allow them to contribute effectively to sustainable supply chains and access sustainable markets whilst equitably reaping the benefits from the use of Vanuatu’s unique natural resources.
“We call on developed countries, and the private sector and financial institutions, to increase ambition in funding from all sources towards biodiversity, to address the current gap in biodiversity finance, and to end all harmful subsidies and repurpose them towards biodiversity positive incentives and investments,” he said.
Vanuatu’s statement at the High Level Segment of COP15 was made as negotiators call for more consensus on reaching a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, called on developed countries to support developing nations with financial resources, technical expertise and capacity building to ensure that the framework is implemented.
Minister Regenvanu agrees and added his voice saying it is critical world leaders and delegates leave Montreal with an effective and coherent GBF.
“It has become blatantly obvious that there must be a fundamental transformation in our relationship with biodiversity if there is going to be any positive change, and that this transformation must be based on an overhaul of the current development paradigm of unsustainable production and consumption, the main driver of biodiversity loss,” he said.
“We must be very clear that the multiple planetary crises we are now facing are entirely of our own making. It is by our own acts, and our own omissions, that we have caused significant harm to the environment, and thus to ourselves and to the future of life on planet Earth.
“We hear inspiring words about the need to halt and reverse global biodiversity loss, but our actions tell a very different story. While there are seemingly unlimited resources being mobilised to militarise the planet or to extract fossil and mineral resources, there is a gaping funding gap to address the existential environmental threats which endanger our very survival as a species.
“The irresponsible and destructive behavior of states and corporations, based on unending greed, must end, or we will end as a civilisation. Unenforceable targets and empty pledges can no longer be the norm in multilateral environmental cooperation.”
Vanuatu also recently joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, demonstrating the nation’s support for the target of protecting at least 30% of the land and of the ocean globally by 2030. More than 90% of all the land area in Vanuatu is owned and managed by indigenous communities and the island country has only been able to commit to protecting 30% of this land area by recognising and incorporating indigenous territories.
“It is crucial that the Post-2020 Framework recognise and reflect the importance of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and the contribution of traditional knowledge, with free, prior, and informed consent, to the implementation of the framework,” Hon. Regenvanu said. “We reiterate that Target 3 will not be fully realized if the contributions of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to conservation are not included as the most effective measure for the protection of biodiversity.”
The Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) is held in Montreal, Canada from 7 – 19 December 2022. Chaired by the Government of China, the CBD COP15 will result in a new Global Biodiversity Framework that will continue the Biodiversity Targets with the global goal of halting biodiversity loss.
Fourteen Pacific Islands countries are Party to the CBD. They are contributing to a unified One Pacific Voice on collective issues at COP15. The countries present in Montreal are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), support to Pacific island countries has been implemented with technical input through the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT), and includes a One Pacific approach involving support from the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, and the Pacific Community at COP15 with financial assistance from the Government of Australia and the ACP MEA Phase 3 Project funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States for the ACP countries.