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Cop15: Historic Deal Struck to Halt Biodiversity Loss

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Delegate nations at COP15 achieved their aim of agreeing a post-2020 global biodiversity framework with clear targets and actions on tackling nature and biodiversity loss, with major implications for the real estate sector.

In the early hours of the last day of COP15, it was announced that nations had achieved their main goal – formally adopting a new biodiversity framework. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) which articulates the vision and the strategy and targets that must be met to achieve it, is a key document with implications for every organisation involved in place-making.

Here is a summary guide on the key points:

The vision

The GBF outlines the vision that it hopes to achieve, specifically that, “by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people”.

The mission

To achieve this 2050 vision, the GBF states that in the period up to 2030 the collective mission is to, “take urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to put nature on a path to recovery for the benefit of people and planet by conserving and sustainably using biodiversity, and ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources, while providing the necessary means of implementation”.

The strategy/actions

The GBF then goes on to outline the key strategy and targets that need to be achieved by 2030, to ensure successful outcomes against that mission.

The 23 targets, outlined in full on pages 7-11 of the GBF, notably include:

  • Ensuring that all areas are under participatory integrated biodiversity inclusive spatial planning and/or effective management processes addressing land and sea use change, to bring the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity, close to zero by 2030, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities;

  • Ensuring at least 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and coastal marine ecosystems are under effective restoration (known widely as “30 by 30”);

  • Reducing pollution from all sources;

  • Minimising the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification;

  • Providing USD 200 billion a year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from public and private sources;

  • Reducing global food waste by half and significantly reducing overconsumption and waste generation;

  • Ensuring harvesting and trade of nature is sustainable, safe and legal;

  • Preventing overexploitation

  • Managing agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry in a more sustainable way;

  • Eliminating, phasing out or reforming incentives, including subsidies harmful for biodiversity by 2025, progressively reducing those subsides by at least USD 500billion.

Private Sector must also deliver results

Target 15 in the Framework applies specifically to large and transnational companies and financial institutions, putting the onus on them to regularly ‘monitor, assess and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity. Furthermore, they are expected to provide the public with sufficient information to enable them to make nature-positive choices.

The Head of DJB’s Environmental, Social and Governance Special Interest Group, Christopher Kerr said: “The GBF was billed as the Paris Agreement for Nature at COP27, and whilst there are numerous positives to come out of the discussions at COP15, there remains some legitimate concerns.

First, the GBF is not legally binding, meaning nations will not face legal consequences if they breach the terms or do not attempt to achieve the targets set. Whilst we can be hopeful that nations/companies are motivated to achieve the targets set, the fact that none of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed in 2010 were fully met is of concern. Nations have, however, been asked to set their own targets on biodiversity, and report on them at least every five years which will hopefully lead to some urgency.

Second, the GBFs failure to use the term ‘nature positive’ will be disappointing to the international bodies and private sector institutions that advocated for it including the World Economic Forum, World Wildlife Foundation and the European Commission. The term is used to describe a world where nature – species and ecosystems – is being restored and is regenerating rather than declining and it was seen as an equivalent to the ‘net-zero’ term which has been helpful for many organisations in taking key actions towards achieving it.

Thirdly, the GBF lacks sufficient detail on how progress can be measured. Such an omission makes it difficult for the UN and other global initiatives to truly understand how we are doing in halting and reversing biodiversity loss.”

For information on how the GBF will impact you, click here.



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