On 14 – 15 July, ClientEarth and the Office of the Executive Committee for CBD COP15 co-hosted a virtual workshop on biodiversity on behalf of the EU – China Environment Project. The workshop was the fourth in a series focused on dialogue towards the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to be agreed upon at COP15 in Kunming next year. The workshop was split into a high-level segment and several in-depth discussions on priority topics such as the next steps in the process, the 2030 milestones and the 2050 visions, protected areas, access and benefit sharing, resource mobilisation and implementation mechanisms. Participants included officials from China, the EU and member states, selected policy researchers, and a representative of the CBD secretariat.
Opening remarks were made by Zhuang Guotai, Vice-Minister of Ecology and Environment of China, and Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General for Environment of the European Commission. All parties also introduced related policy developments, followed by an exchange on how to prepare a successful COP15 on biodiversity. During the high-level segment, the EU side spoke on the political commitment to solve the biodiversity crisis in the face of COVID19, and how the Green Deal will support efforts to recover European economies more sustainably.
There was recognition that COVID-19 has impacted the timetable towards the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, but it has not derailed the development towards an ambitious agreement. However, both sides now have more time to explore targets and mechanisms and come to agreement on a strong framework. Participants agreed on the need to put biodiversity on the agenda at leader summits. There was also consensus that agreeing on targets is one thing, but the challenging part is the implementation on the ground. This will require an improved implementation mechanism going forward. Further alignment between implementation mechanisms of the CBD and other biodiversity-related conventions, also including the UNFCCC, would be desirable.
Vice-Minister Zhuang: “We must come to agreement on a strong global biodiversity framework at the COP, which is ambitious, scientific, realistic and embraced by all parties. The EU – China exchanges helps us come closer to this goal.”
Acting Director-General for Environment of the European Commission, Joanna Drake: ”We would like to work closely with China. China, as chair of the next COP, will have a key role to play. We will need to bring in developed and developing countries and the EU will do its utmost to facilitate a successful final result.”