IUCN Statement | 18 Oct, 2021

IUCN closing statement – part one of the UN Biodiversity Conference

The first part of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) closed on Friday 15 October 2021. As we look to the UN Climate Change Conference beginning on 31 October, we must also reflect on the conclusions arrived at in Kunming.

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Rhino mother and calf, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Photo: Andrew Liu / Unsplash

IUCN congratulates the People’s Republic of China and Minister of Ecology and Environment, Mr Huang Runqiu, on taking the Presidency of the CBD at this critical time.  

Part I of COP15 saw powerful declarations in support of bold and concrete actions to safeguard life on our planet. IUCN welcomes President Xi Jinping’s announcement of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund to support conservation in developing countries. The Union applauds the announcements by Japan, the EU, France and the UK, and salutes the coalition of financial institutions who have committed to protect and restore biodiversity through their investments.

IUCN endorses messages from the three Rio Conventions and the biodiversity-related conventions; all call for a global framework, truly fit for purpose, that ensures the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity while addressing the climate and land degradation crises.

UN Secretary General António Guterres, Heads of State, international organisations and civil society stakeholders spoke loud and clear: we have an opportunity not to be missed. Only by agreeing and achieving ambitious goals and targets within a truly global biodiversity framework can we create the urgent transformative change needed for a nature-positive world.

We need reliable and effective solutions now. Healthy ecosystems support 55% of global GDP, providing multiple benefits to us all, while supporting the protection of natural resources. IUCN emphasises that as economies recover from the pandemic, investments in nature and nature-based solutions at scale cannot wait.

IUCN warmly welcomes the adoption of the Kunming Declaration.  Last month, IUCN Members called for a transformational and effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the IUCN Congress in Marseille. Parties to the CBD now need to commit to an effective framework that puts nature on a path to recovery by 2030, and to realise the 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature. However, as one of the youth representatives reminded us, words that might turn into empty promises are not enough. We must step up and lead.

We have an unprecedented planetary challenge to tackle; but we can reverse this trend. With political will and collaborative partnerships, we must capitalise on the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and the CBD meetings in Geneva in January.

IUCN stands ready to meet the challenge.