IEF Board Member Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen attended
COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Report by Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen
Representatives from most of the world’s countries gathered in Montreal in December for the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Four years earlier they had started negotiating a new strategic plan for implementing the convention, a plan that would run from 2021 until 2030. A pandemic came in between and put meetings to a halt until 2022. Finally, after a few feeble attempts to negotiate in online meetings, diplomats and experts could meet again and move the work forward. The delay had not made things easier, and disunity on many issues made the prospect of agreement on a new plan uncertain.
The IEF has been accredited as an observer organisation to the CBD which made it possible for me and Arthur Dahl to attend negotiations in Geneva in March 2022, and for me to attend the meeting in Montreal. While my research tasks for my university took most of my time, I could also contribute on behalf of the Baha’i International Community to a side-event in the meeting place of Faith organisations and had many conversations with people from around the world. I find it always encouraging to see how much energy and commitment thousands of people put into something aiming to make this world a better place, in this case for both nature and people. Yes, there is also distrust and self-interest and negotiating tactics in the rooms – but there is also a strong will to compromise and agree. Finally, even one day ahead of the end of the meeting, the Global Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted. You can read it yourself here in the six UN languages: https://www.cbd.int/article/cop15-final-text-kunming-montreal-gbf-221222, and the final Press Release with a summary.
There are many evaluations of the GBF already out there – some lamenting what is missing but many highlighting what is valuable. And there is a lot that is valuable. In the end, however, it is what governments – and we – make with the document that matters. Turning text into reality is something we practice on a daily basis. In this case, it is a text that lays out elements of a pathway to achieve a world where we live in harmony with nature by 2050. What can we contribute as individuals and communities?
Last updated 10 January 2023