Read later


During Beta testing articles may only be saved for seven days.

COP15 Live Blog

A photograph across the top of a misty forest in Canada.

This page will be updated regularly between 31st October and 12th November. Refresh the page to see new content.

Summary and key events

Welcome to the Museum's live coverage of COP15.

Join us as we cover all the action from Montreal.

Key moments:

By James Ashworth, Emma Caton and Josh Davis

Thanks for joining us

That's a wrap on our coverage of the UN Biodiversity Conference - COP15. We hope you have enjoyed following along as events unfolded over the last two weeks.

A new deal for biodiversity has been achieved, and now the real work begins to implement the framework.

'It's not just about words, it's about actions', says UN Environment Chief

Time is not on our side, we've backed nature into a corner, and it's time to ease the pressure.

During the final press conference for COP15, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, says we must 'embrace history' and get down to the business of delivering the framework.

The UN’s Environment Chief pays tribute to the many delegates who came to Montreal to push for a transformative environmental deal and has urged citizens, businesses, and governments to implement the new framework to halt the destruction of nature.

Co-chairs ask for everyone to 'rally behind' the framework

If we were to assemble in 2030 and we would have accomplished everything that is in this agreement, it would be a very different planet.

The co-chairs of negotiations Francis Ogwal of Uganda and Basille van Havre of Canada attended a technical briefing to answer press questions and share their thoughts about the new framework.

They acknowledge that it is a good deal, but 'probably not' the perfect deal and ask for parties to rally behind the agreement.

'Huge achievement' but 'fears' on implementation

As afternoon begins in Montreal, more reaction has been coming out of COP15 on the newly-agreed Global Biodiversity Framework.

Dr Adriana De Palma, a Senior Researcher at the Museum focusing on how biodiversity is changing, has welcomed the deal but raised concerns over its wording. She says:

'Without more quantitative targets and clear wording, this agreement leaves open the potential for this to be a tick box exercise - we could meet many of these targets on paper without really making much headway towards a better planet for both nature and people.'

Adriana cites examples such as Target Four of the GBF, which she said had 'ambitious wording' but that terms such as 'significant' made what actions would count towards the target somewhat vague.

'Does preventing the loss of one species count as "significant"?,' she asked. 'Does it matter if we do it through breeding rather than really tackling the threats facing that species?'

Adriana said that even targets such as 30x30, which she is 'really pleased to see' in the deal, have room for manoeuvre which could mean biodiversity isn't restored as much as claimed. She said a similar issue applied to targets involving Indigenous Peoples, where ambiguities could affect the 'firm protection of their rights.'

She concludes:

'I hope that my fears are unfounded. For so many to have come to an agreement - any agreement - is a huge achievement. But now we will all be watching closely to see how and when governments act on these agreements.'

How have the targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework changed? Part Three

Encouraging less meat to be eaten is one way members of the public can act in a more biodiversity friendly way. Image © frantic00/Shutterstock

The final 10 set of targets of the GBF focus on tools and solutions for implementing the changes needed to protect biodiversity, following those looking at reducing threats to biodiversity and how it can be used.

Here's how these targets have changed since the first draft:

  • Target 14: This target, which aims to fully integrate biodiversity into policy decisions of local and national government, is broadly similar, though additions such as the role of biodiversity in 'poverty eradication' have been made.
  • Target 15: This role formerly pledged that all businesses would have to assess their impacts on biodiversity, but this now been removed. Instead, they will be 'encouraged' to do so, with provisions to move towards a fully sustainable production process also removed.
  • Target 16: This target relates to governments encouraging their citizens to move towards sustainable lifestyle choices. Additions have been made to the target to mandate that by 2030 food waste should be halved and overconsumption is 'significantly reduced'.
  • Target 17: Covering biotechnology such as gene editing, this target is broadly similar, although specific references to articles of the Convention on Biological Diversity are now being made.
  • Target 18: This target covers how incentives that are harmful to biodiversity should be defunded or changed. The new target includes dates, with harmful incentives to be identified by 2025 and then reduced by at least $500 billion per year by 2030.
  • Target 19: Finance became a hot topic at COP15, and this target reflects the many differing points of view raised by developed and developing countries. The target is now split into seven sections, which look at how $200 billion per year can be raised to implement biodiversity strategies by 2030. This includes developed countries offering at least $25 billion a year by 2025, rising to $30 billion by 2030, as well as private investment and actions by civil society to help all countries achieve biodiversity goals.
  • Target 20: What was Target 20 in the original draft has been moved to become Target 21, with this new target taking its place. It pledges countries to provide technological access and scientific co-operation to each other so that research to monitor and conserve biodiversity can take place everywhere.
  • Target 21: Target 21 builds on Target 20 by ensuring that information is used equitably by gaining free, prior and informed consent on the use of knowledge, including that from Indigenous groups. The new target adds that the best available data should be made available to guide decisions.
  • Target 22: This target also relates to equitable decision making, and was originally Target 21. Its first version specified equitable and effective participation by women, youth and Indigenous communities in decision making while respecting their rights. The new version adds that these decisions must be 'inclusive', and should also include those with disabilities.
  • Target 23: The final target, which is new from the first draft, reinforces that women and girls must have the equal opportunity and capacity to participate in implementing the aims of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

'No formal objection was raised' over the framework, says CBD Information Officer

In the daily press briefing, David Ainsworth, the Convention on Biological Diversity's Information Officer, answered questions about opposition shown by some negotiators towards the framework.

News outlets have reported this morning that the negotiator from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) appeared to block the final deal presented by China over issues still remaining over a new fund for biodiversity.

David emphasised during this morning's press conference that 'no formal objection was raised' by the DRC, and on that basis, there is no process going ahead to attempt to block the agreement. He reassures that the document is, therefore, 'completely legal' and the DRCs comments have been noted in the reports.

Director General of WWF hails a historic agreement but acknowledges concerns

Through this agreement, we can build a better future for all of our children and grandchildren. Now, however, it's everyone's duty to truly make history by implementing the agreement.

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, gave an emotional response during today's press briefing as he hailed a historic agreement, which sends an 'important message to all of us'.

However, through his praises of the 'epic work' undertaken by parties to reach an agreement, Marco highlighted that some targets need to be specified better, with some showing a lack of measurability to tackle key issues.

'Mixed feelings' on COP15 agreement

Professor Andy Purvis, one of the Museum's scientists at COP15, has been reflecting on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) agreed by negotiators.

The biodiversity experts says that he has 'very mixed feelings' over the deal that has been approved:

'Some of the ambitions for the coming decade, such as 30x30, are ambitious and strongly worded, and there will be a monitoring framework giving much quicker feedback on whether enough progress is being made.'

'However, other targets for action in this decade are short on ambition or contain clear loopholes, with the main goals of the framework much less ambitious than I had hoped.'

Andy added that he had asked experts who have been involved in biodiversity policy for decades to give the GBF a mark out of ten. He said that their responses averaged around 5.5, which he said 'feels about right'.

He also touched on concerns, as reported by the Guardian, that the final negotiations may have left out the concerns of some nations as the deal was agreed, saying that the endgame 'left a very sour taste in the mouths of quite a few countries'. 

Venues for next COPs announced

Delegates have also confirmed where future meetings to discuss the Convention on Biological Diversity will be held. Unlike the climate COPs, these conferences are held every two years, and delegates did not change the frequency of meetings.

COP16 will be held in Turkey in the latter half of 2024, while COP17 will be held in Central or Eastern Europe, with nations in this region reminded to put forward offers to host this meeting.

COP18 will be held in Latin America or the Caribbean, which have now been formally invited to put forward their offer for the meeting. 

How have the targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework changed? Part Two

Green spaces in cities can contribute towards Targets Eleven and Twelve. Image © Lucas Eduardo Benetti/Shutterstock

While the first eight targets of the GBF are concerned with reducing threats to biodiversity, the next five look at how biodiversity can be used sustainably and its benefits shared.

Here's how these targets have changed:

  • Target Nine: This target has changed from pledging specific benefits such as food security, medicines and livelihoods through sustainable management of wildlife to instead pledging more general social, economic and environmental benefits. It does, however, specify that activities, products and services can be used to boost biodiversity.
  • Target 10: Focusing on land use, this target previously pledged the 'conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity' of land and sea areas used for food and crop production. The conservation pledge has now been removed, with 'biodiversity-friendly practices' pledged to help restore biodiversity while contributing to the productivity of the areas. The 'substantial increase' pledged, however, is not defined.
  • Target 11: This target originally focussed on how nature can protect air and water quality, as well as mitigating the impacts of extreme events. This target has now been added to, with pledges to restore services providing pollination, disease control and climate regulation using a variety of approaches.
  • Target 12: Access to nature is important for health and wellbeing, with this target originally pledging to increase the area and access to green and blue spaces in densely-populated areas. It now additionally pledges to improve connectivity between these spaces, while adding additional support for ensuring urban areas are planned with biodiversity in mind and protecting native biodiversity.
  • Target 13: Benefit sharing is always a tricky subject at these COP meetings, and digital sequence information (DSI) has been particularly difficult. While no longer pledging to implement benefit sharing measures globally, nations have agreed to facilitate a 'significant increase' in benefits shared by 2030, which include the use of genetic resources, DSI and Traditional Knowledge from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

Ongoing reaction to COP15 agreement

The Museum's Executive Director of Science has had said that the agreement made at COP15 can begin the process of restoring Earth's biodiversity.

Dr Tim Littlewood added, however, that this process had to begin immediately. He said:

'Our current relationship with nature is not sustainable for people or the planet. COP15’s targets, with measurable indicators, sets us on a course towards achievable, nature-positive outcomes – but only if we act now. Working in partnership locally, nationally and globally, especially with governments and corporate partners, requires individual effort and collective will to reverse nature’s extinction and humanity’s own.'

How have the targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework changed? Part One

Cane toads are a prolific invasive species in Australia, and come under Target Eight of the GBF. Image © Seregraff/Shutterstock

As well as the goals agreed by COP15, the targets have also changed since a first draft of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) was published.

Perhaps the most obvious is their number, with two additional targets in the agreed version taking the 2030 targets from 21 to 23. We'll be going through each target to examine the differences between the first version, and their final form.

Here's how the first eight targets have changed:

  • Target One: While the planning provisions of the target are similar, the target adds in wording aiming to reduce the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance 'close to zero' by 2030. This leaves open the possibility, however, that the loss of some unique areas  would not breach this target.
  • Target Two: This target, relating to the restoration of degraded ecosystems, has been strengthened in some respects. 30% of degraded ecosystems will now be restored, up from 20%, while a deadline of 2030 has been added. However, what 'effective restoration' constitutes is not defined.
  • Target Three: 30x30 has been a big talking point at COP15, which is reflected in the updated target. It now recognises the right of Indigenous Peoples to manage their ancestral lands, and specifies that protected areas need to be properly integrated with each other. However, provisions to protect 30% of both land and sea habitats have been replaced with a provision to protect 30% overall.
  • Target Four: Relating to extinctions and species recovery, the target has been quite substantially altered. Rather than targeting the recovery of all species, this target now only refers to species which have already been discovered, which are being threatened by humanity's actions, and are already threatened, which excludes many species who could face imminent extinction.
  • Target Five: The target relating to the sustainable use of species no longer has to specifically be safe 'for human health', while there is no specific definition of what overexploitation entails. Provisions relating to Indigenous Peoples and reducing disease risk have also been added.
  • Target Six: One key point of this target, to reduce the rate of invasive species introductions by half, remains, while targets for priority invasive species have been introduced. However, the actions that can be taken on invasive species has been diluted to include minimisation of their impacts in addition to reduction and elimination.
  • Target Seven: This target on pollution reduction has been strengthened with the addition of 2030 as a key date to reduce pollution to non-harmful levels, and specifies targets for reducing levels of nutrient pollution, pesticide pollution and plastic pollution. Whether this target is too ambitious remains to be seen.
  • Target Eight: Climate change and biodiversity are closely linked, with the initial target specifying that 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide should be removed each year from the atmosphere by biodiversity management. This provision has been removed, with countries now pledging to minimise its impacts on nature.

Today's agenda

Though the Global Biodiversity Framework may have now been agreed at COP15, there are still a number of events which will be taking place today. 

With the framework being agreed at around 3:30am in Canada, these events provide some of the first reaction after officials have had a chance to get a few hours sleep.

Events include:

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) briefing – The agreements made at COP15 relate to the CBD, who have been holding daily press conferences. 
  • COP15 Presidency Press Conference - COP15 president Huang Runqiu will address the media following the agreement of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
  • Friends of the Earth – The environmental organisation will set out its view on how good a deal it thinks the Global Biodiversity Framework is.

How have the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework changed?

The document contains a number of changes from the original draft released before the beginning of COP15, including the addition of efforts to reverse biodiversity loss to the document's 2030 mission statement.

The main changes have come in the wording of the aims countries have agreed to work towards. The four 2050 goals, for instance, have had the milestones used to assess progress towards them removed.

Here's how the goals have changed:

  • Goal A: Numeric targets, such as a 15% increase in the area of natural ecosystems, have largely been removed. Instead, vaguer terms such as a 'substantial' increase are now used.
  • Goal B: The provision that nature should be accounted for in decision-making has been removed, as are links to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Instead, provisions about valuing and restoring ecosystem functions and services have been added.
  • Goal C: Digital sequence information has been added to the benefits of sharing genetic diversity, though how this will occur is yet to be decided. Indigenous Peoples and their Traditional Knowledge have been added to the goal.
  • Goal D: Countries no longer pledge to close the financial and technological gap to achieve the goals by 2050, and instead commit to share access to 'adequate' resources to implement the framework while progressively closing the financial gap.

What reaction has there been to the COP15 agreement?

The majority of reaction coming out of COP15 at the moment is that of relief, following worries before and during the conference that countries could have walked away from agreeing new biodiversity targets.

COP15 president Huang Runqiu said the new Global Biodiversity Framework was 'a package we can all be proud of', while the UK's environment minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith, echoed his sentiments by tweeting that the agreement was 'a huge historic moment' and 'a chance to turn the tide on nature destruction.'

However, there are lingering concerns over the ambition of the Global Biodiversity Framework, and whether it is fit to address the rapid loss of biodiversity around the world.

Discussing an earlier draft of the text yesterday, Tony Juniper, the head of Natural England, described targets on issues such as extinction and protected areas as 'too weak'.

Observers at the conference are concerned that thresholds for achievement have been removed in many instances, and there is regret that 2030 is no longer mentioned in the four overarching goals of the framework.

This has worried scientists who are concerned that formerly measurable targets, which could have allowed countries to be held to account for their achievements and failures, are now vague enough that there is room for countries to cherry pick measurements that work in their interest.

Early analysis of the text suggests that targets seven and eight, which focus on pollution and climate change, are strong and provide an aim for countries which can be measured.

Meanwhile, targets four, five and 10, which focus on extinctions and the sustainable use of wildlife and land, contain phrases which are generic enough that they cannot rigidly be measured. Other targets, meanwhile, contain terms which haven't been defined, and so present loopholes that could be exploited.

What do the new biodiversity targets agree?

The adopted version of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, formerly known as the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, has been released.

As with its former version, the targets are split into four goals which are to be achieved by 2050, as well as 23 targets that are for 2030.

Here are some of the key aims of the targets:

  • A 'substantially increased' area of natural ecosystems by 2050, with the extinction rate to be reduced tenfold (Goal A)
  • The restoration of ecosystems in decline and the sustainable use of nature by 2050 (Goal B)
  • 30x30 has been agreed, with countries aiming to have 30% of ecosystems protected by 2030 (Target 3). 30% of degraded ecosystems should also be under restoration (Target 2)
  • Pollution from all sources should be reduced to non-harmful levels (Target 7) while ecosystem services such as air purification should be restored (Target 11)
  • Eliminate at least $500 billion of harmful subsidies to biodiversity per year by 2030 while scaling up incentives to protect nature (Target 18)
  • Increase funding to implement biodiversity strategies by raising at least $200 billion per year by 2030 from a range of funding sources, including countries and businesses (Target 19)
  • Ensure that decisions are made equitably by including Indigenous Peoples, women, young people and those with disabilities (Target 22)

The countries also agreed to begin work on establishing a way of sharing the benefits of digital sequence information, which had been a thorny issue at the talks.

Applause at COP15 as deal struck

An agreement has been made at COP15 as delegates approved a new deal for nature.

Negotiations had continued into the early hours of the morning in Canada to thrash out the final details of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

The EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries shared the moment that the new agreement on new biodiversity targets was confirmed.

We'll bring you updates about the contents of the final agreement, and reactions, across the day.

Monday 19 December

Good morning, it's James Ashworth here covering what is planned to be the final day of the conference. 

While a draft text is in place and being scrutinised by delegates, COP15 will not be over until every point of the new agreement has been agreed by all.

Targets are a 'strong step in the right direction'

The Wildlife Conservation Society has given a snap verdict on the draft text, praising much of what has been included, although highlighting some concern at the repeated focus on 2050. 

The WCS's Vice-President for International Policy Susan Lieberman, says, 'Overall, many of the targets are a strong step in the right direction, and show ambition: enhancing and protecting ecological integrity, reducing the risk of pathogen spillover, recognizing the One Health approach and conserving at least 30% of land, and ocean areas.'

'There are aspects that are not ambitious enough, and focus on 2050, which is too far into the future.'

There has also been some dismay at the lack of hard targets in the text, particularly for restoring ecosystems, boosting wildlife populations and genetic diversity. 

There are also no dates for when national plans should be submitted, leading to some to worry that these will just be kicked down the road. 

UK delegates scrutise the draft text

Richard Benyon is the UK's Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and will be helping to shape the UK's position to the draft text. 

Draft text at a glance

The framework that has been published is not the final version, but will largely dictate the direction that the next stage of negotiations will go.

The text has 23 targets, which will now have the details scrutinised and reviewed by around 200 government ministers. The hope is that this agreement, known snappily as the 'post-2020 global biodiversity framework', will form the basis to conserve the natural world through to 2030.   

The text states that the mission of this agreement up to 2030 and looking forward to 2050 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 lack of mention of 'nature positive' here, and indeed in the rest of the text, is likely to dismay many scientists and conservation organisations. 

The document contains the 30x30 pledge to protect 30% of the planets oceans and lands by 2030, although there is limited mention of the oceans which could be an issue with the preservation of the high seas in international waters.

One of the major issues over the last few weeks has been finance. This draft contains a target to provide $200 billion in conservation funding a year by 2030, mentioning that the money can come voluntarily from any country. This is possibly a trade-off to try and encourage some Global Majority countries with large economies, such as Brazil, to contribute more.

There is also no mention of a dedicated fund for this financing, meaning there are still questions about not only who will be providing this money, but where exactly it will be going.

Sticking with finance, the text says that harmful subsidies should be reduced by $500 billion per year by 2030, although the details on what form this should take are vague.

The text also mentions that businesses should be "encouraged and enabled" to monitor, assess and disclose how they affect biodiversity, in a similar vein to how some businesses show their carbon footprint. This is not mandatory though. 

Read the draft global biodiversity framework for yourself

The draft agreement has been published by the COP15 President. 

There will no doubt be comments and analysis trickling out throughout the day, but if you want to read the draft framework for yourself, you can find it to download here:

Non-paper on item 9A - Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework draft decision submitted by the President

Draft global biodiversity framework document published

During today's press conference the draft document was published by the COP15 President.

The CBD Information Office David Ainsworth said that this document is meant to be a compromise that will set the pace for the negotiations going forward over the coming days.

The next step will be for the heads of delegations to meet and negotiate the document in a closed meeting. A lot will hinge on these discussions over the next few hours or days, depending if things can get resolved quickly or need further negotiation.

This evening, there will be a plenary during which particular agreements that have already been reached, known as L documents, will be adopted. These are not necessarily parts of the final framework, but once adopted will be official decisions and outcomes of COP15. 

Expect journalists, policy experts and scientists to be pouring over this document over the next few hours. 

Today's agenda

Unlike last weekend, there is no pause to the events happening this Sunday. Here are the biggest things to look out for.

  • The COP15 President Huang Runqiu said that he would release the final text for the agreement being negotiated, which is called the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, today at 8.00 Montreal time, which is about 13.00 UK time.
  • There will be the usual press briefing at 14.15 today, of which the agreement will no doubt feature heavily.
  • This will be followed by the WWF daily press briefing.
  • There will also be a press conference this evening from the UK's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, which might be an interesting one to keep an eye on considering the criticism the UK received this week after announcing new environment goals that some called too weak to make a significant difference.  

Morning briefing

The talks are entering the final stages, and that stakes are looking high.

While there has been some dismay over the past few days from delegates at the lack of progress on moving through the sticking points – namely who is going to pay for halting and reversing biodiversity loss – there seems to be a little more hope this morning.

France's President Emmanuel Macron has tweeted his support for richer countries to pay their fair share, saying:

The most vulnerable countries are home to biodiversity treasures. We need to increase our funding to support them, with no expense spared! France will double its funding to 1 billion euros per year. COP 15 stakeholders: get on board and join the fight!

Meanwhile, the COP15 President Huang Runqiu is attempting to bring ministers together to overcome the biggest issues.

One of these is the creation of a new fund for Earth's biodiversity which appeared on Saturday. Negotiations seem to be following the same path that the loss and damage fund at COP27 followed, in which those nations most at risk of climate change lamented how the historic polluters were dragging their feet when it came for paying for the damage being done. 

Sunday 18 December

Morning all, it's Josh Davis here with the latest developments from COP15. 

Keep checking back over the day to see what is going on with the negotiations in Montreal, Canada, as they entre the final stretch. 

Policy expert 'cautiously optimistic' that there is a way forward on finance

Dr Andrew Deutz, Director of Global Policy, Institutions and Conservation Finance at The Nature Conservancy speaks about finance and resource mobilisation issues being discussed.

The key issue is around how much money developed countries are putting on the table for developing countries, but Andrew says he is 'cautiously optimistic' that there is a way forward on finance.

He said it is a 'good signal' that there has been $7 billion in new resource commitments from developed countries over the past 18 months to help drive this process going forward. But Andrew stresses that more is needed to achieve a strong target for 2025.

Speaking on the issues of a new fund for biodiversity, Andrew says there are hopeful signs they are heading for a compromise. The new fund will have increased access, be open to more sources of money going in and have more flexibility in resources going out.

He reassures countries that are concerned with transaction costs that the fund could be set up relatively quickly, reducing those costs.

We need an 'ambious deal that holds countries to account', say policy experts

After days of intense negotiations, policy experts give their opinions on the state of play of the negotiations.

Firstly, we hear from Lin Li, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at WWF. Lin says there is a weakening of language around action to tackle our unsustainable footprint, which is 'defying science' and prioritises those who want 'business as usual'.

Lin says that unless things change today, it looks like we will be presented with a framework that does not address the drivers of biodiversity loss. She also says parties must agree on a 'clear timetable' for the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15.

Here in Montreal, we are not only at risk of sleepwalking into making the same mistakes as we did in the Aichi Targets. Worse, we are sustaining attempts to end up with a global biodiversity agreement that is less ambitious than 12 years ago.

Delegates from Bangladesh ask for greater momentum on finance

The delegation of Bangladesh said their government is committed to implementing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework but urges countries to resolve the ongoing issues with Finance. 

They expressed concern that financing from developed countries to developing nations for biodiversity conservation is not getting momentum. The delegation highlighted important issues that need to be adopted in COP15, such as ensuring accessibility and monitoring of financial commitments and pledges. 

'Extremely positive' progress on the monitoring framework but issues on finance remain

This morning's press conference has reported 'extremely positive' progress on the monitoring framework, which is a key element of the Global Biodiversity Framework. However, issues still remain on the topics of finance and consumption.

There is still no consensus on target 16, which is about ensuring that people are encouraged and enabled to make responsible choices to reduce the waste and overconsumption of food and other materials by at least half. Parties are currently looking for a compromise on this issue.

Target 17 on preventing, managing or controlling potential adverse impacts of biotechnology has also been a sticking point.

Good progress is reportedly being made in the group dealing with resource mobilisation, which reached an impasse earlier this week with a series of walkouts taking place.

However, there are still challenges to the ideas of a Global Biodiversity Framework Trust and a dedicated global fund for biodiversity. David Ainsworth advised that these decisions will have to be addressed at a higher level, possibly with ministerial discussions.

A new unofficial version of the deal is due to be released later today.

Today's agenda

Today is the last day of the High-Level Segment of the conference, so we hope to see some important announcements coming in throughout the day. Here are some of the events we know will be taking place:

  • Press Briefing - David Ainsworth will once again lead the daily press briefing and will give us an idea of how close countries are to closing in on an agreement.
  • Conservation in Bangladesh - The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will be leading a session on biodiversity conservation in Bangladesh and their contribution to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
  • End of negotiations - wrap-up session organized by the Nature Positive Coalition
  • High-Level Segment Press Briefing - The COP-15 President will lead this press briefing to mark the close of the High-Level Segment of the conference.

Over 3,000 researchers call for action from governments to stop the destruction of nature.

In an open letter, more than 3,000 scientists have called for governments to tackle the overconsumption of the Earth’s resources in the final text and begin reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.

The Parties to CoP15 must commit to halting and starting to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, to set us on a pathway to recovery where ecosystems can provide the functions that people need. There is a moral obligation to do so. Furthermore, it makes scientific sense, and is achievable if we act now, and act decisively. We owe this to ourselves and to future generations - we can’t wait any longer.

COP15 delegates score a goal for ‘Team Earth’

© Holly Chapman/WWF

Ahead of the football World Cup final this weekend, delegates in Montreal were encouraged to come together under the banner of one ‘Team Earth’ and score for nature in goalposts erected in the conference centre.

WWF encourages governments to show their support for ‘Team Earth’ by agreeing on an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework next week, capable of halting and reversing nature loss by 2030 and securing a nature-positive world for both people and the planet.

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International says

Nature has been kicked, punched and thrown for far too long and it can only take so many strikes – soon it will be damaged beyond repair. The last two weeks have been our toughest match yet - and losing is not an option. We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to turn this around for the 8 billion of us who call this planet our home. There’s no extra time, or next season - Montreal has to be the moment to score a goal for nature, we need all to unite behind Team Earth.

Morning briefing

As the end of the conference draws nearer, we should hopefully start seeing negotiations reach a conclusion over the coming days. However, many are far from impressed with the pace and ambition of negotiations.

Some of the world's largest environmental NGOs have launched an urgent call for nations to continue to bridge the divide amid concerns over the breakdown of biodiversity talks.

Ministers from the High Ambition Coalition are calling for countries to unite behind the 30x30 pledge with emphasis that there needs to be a 'rights-based approach' to protect indigenous communities.

The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity have welcomed greater openness and understanding within the convention but have called for increased flexibility and funding.

Canada announces funding of $250 million for four projects in developing countries aimed to favour biodiversity while still fighting climate change.

The Guardian has reported that Environment Secretary for the UK, Thérèse Coffey, has been accused of undermining COP15 talks with weak targets and failing to set overall targets for river health and protected habitats.

Saturday 17 December

Good morning, it's Emma Caton bringing you the latest news from COP15.

With the end of the conference looming, pressure is on for negotiations to come to a close. Follow along to see how things progress throughout the day.

116 countries have now signed up to 30x30 target

Ministers from the High Ambition Coalition have called on countries to unite behind 30x30 and to get the initiative over the line.

Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister of State for Overseas Territories, Commonwealth, Energy, Climate and Environment, spoke at a press event today about this 'once in a generation opportunity' and his optimism that 30x30 will be agreed in Montreal.

$6 billion dollars in new funding for biodiversity

Jennifer Morris, Chief Executive Officer of The Nature Conservancy, announced substantial pledges over the past 18 months, which total up to $6 billion in new funding for biodiversity.

The money is for public financing and is critical fast-start funding needed to support ambitious objectives from the biodiversity framework.

New funding from the last week includes:

  • Canada - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledges $350 million in support outside of Canada to developing countries to finance the global biodiversity agenda. He also announced $800 million in funding for indigenous-led conservation.
  • The Netherlands - announced a 50% increase resulting in $150 million in new financing.
  • Spain - $550 million aimed for biodiversity from 2021 - 2025.
  • 'Significant investments' by Japan, US and Norway.

Director General of WWF pleads with countries to chose the 'right side of history'.

Ambition must be higher, resources must flow faster, and a rights-based approach must sit at the heart of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

The WWF Daily Press briefing began with a clear message that ministers and negotiations 'MUST commit to finding common ground.'

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, stressed that countries must find solutions to the needed finance to conserve global biodiversity. 

He said more money needs to go to the global south, and more money needs to come from multiple sources in a way that delivers resources quickly and with higher accessibility than is currently the case.

Marco emphasised that negotiations need to bring back the ambition which has been 'diluted since the beginning of negotiations'.

Econario creators join daily press briefing

Artist Thijs Biersteker and Museum scientist Dr Adriana De Palma joined David Ainsworth on the panel at this morning's press briefing to talk about Econario.

Econario has been getting a lot of attention during COP15. The 5.3-metre-tall moving artwork of a robotic plant uses biodiversity data from the Museum's Biodiversity Intactness Index to either grow or wilt, depending on whether enough is being done to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

Thijs is an ecological artist who designed the artwork, and Adriana works as part of the team at the Museum that produced the data behind Econario.

UK seeks compromise on mandatory business disclosure of biodiversity impacts

The UK has met with their Minister and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to resolve target 15 of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, according to David Ainsworth, the Head of Communications at the Convention on Biological Diversity's Secretariat, during this morning's press briefing. 

The target seeks businesses to assess their impact on biodiversity and then reduce their negative impacts and increase their positive impacts. Some are calling for mandatory disclosure, but not all parties are in agreement.

The discussion was around including mandatory requirements for transnational companies and financial institutions, but there has been no compromise on the issue.

The EU and Argentina have said they need more time to consult on target 16, which deals with unsustainable consumption and changing people's behaviour to sustainability.

A longer discussion has ensued regarding the scope of target 17, which looks at the impacts of biotechnology on biodiversity. It appears that parties have 'different understandings' of the issue, with a disagreement about whether to include biotechnologies AND synthetic biologies.

Concerns growing among delegates that COP15 is ignoring oceans

An article published by The Guardian says that delegates have expressed concern that protecting marine life has so far been mentioned very little during negotiations.

With only two mentions of the word 'ocean' in the latest 10-page, 5,000-word working agreement, fears are growing that marine protections could be given little to no attention.

Last week, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species highlighted the dramatic decline in marine life worldwide and that ocean wildlife was facing 'a perfect storm' of threats.

Leading marine scientists have also urged COP15 to address the silent extinction of deep ocean species.

Find out more about oceans and why they are important

Jurassic Park actor stages protest

Actor and activist James Cromwell has been protesting against inaction on the nature crisis and has urged leaders at COP15 to 'Stop the Human Asteroid'.

He joined a panel at the conference to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and advancing negotiations for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. In particular, he called for protecting 50% of the world’s land and seas.

Morning briefing

Things are heating up as COP15 reaches its climax. We expect a weekend of intense negotiations ahead to hopefully reach a consensus on this decade’s biodiversity targets to protect the natural world.

Yesterday, the EU, together with several EU Member States and several other countries, committed to join forces to increase finance for biodiversity significantly. 

The Commission is confirming its unprecedented doubling of EU's international biodiversity financing to €7 billion for the period 2021-2027.

In addition, several EU Member States are also doubling their financial support, such as Germany, France, and Spain, and the Netherlands is increasing it by 50%.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday addressed the opening ceremony of the high-level segment of the second phase of  COP15. Xi calls for global consensus on biodiversity protection as more than 100 environment ministers have arrived at the biodiversity summit in Canada.

According to The Guardian, Brazil’s incoming president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has backed calls for rich nations to provide more money to protect Earth’s ecosystems at COP15.

Talks restarted in Montreal after a series of walkouts from developing nations after disagreements on key issues, in particular, a new fund for biodiversity.

Friday 16 December

Good morning, it's Emma Caton bringing you the latest news from COP15 as we reach the end of the week.

Follow along to see how the conference progresses throughout the day.

'We can't fail again'

The Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature, or WWF, has delivered a rallying cry for countries to step up at COP15.

Marco Lambertini says that the conference has become 'stuck' on issues including species and habitat conservation and implementation, with countries reticent to deliver an agreement that effectively protects biodiversity.

'On one hand, countries are failing to step up and provide urgently needed finance to support efforts to conserve biodiversity globally,' the Director General says. 'On the other hand, we are witnessing how some negotiators are continuing to dilute the ambition of the Global Biodiversity Framework.'

'This is something we have witnessed from the beginning, and this has to change. We need more resources, particularly for the Global South, and we need ambition to be recognised as essential to deliver a Global Biodiversity Framework that effectively combats the biodiversity crisis.'

Referring to previous conservation targets agreed in 2020, the majority of which were missed, he argued that the world can't afford to fail again on new targets.

'As a minimum, new targets have to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for the benefit of everybody,' he said.

Do we need to take action now?

Museum researchers explain why it is important to take action on biodiversity loss

With an agreement at COP15 hanging in the balance, diplomats and members of the public alike may be wondering how bad it would be to kick negotiations back to a future meeting.

As our researchers explain, action on biodiversity loss cannot wait a moment longer. We must act now to protect the precious life which makes our planet unique in the universe. Our future, and that of the plants, animals and ecosystems we rely on, depends on it.

Letter from COP15 President lays bare unresolved issues

A letter from COP15's President, Huang Runqiu, sets out the issues which negotiators are finding difficult to agree.

Issues including funding for biodiversity, the removal of harmful incentives, digital sequence information (DSI) and conservation targets, including 30x30, are among the issues for which the President has invited ministers to address.

These issues have laid bare the divisions between nations, with a dramatic walkout over the issue of finance.

For each of the issues, two ministers selected from among the nations of the world have been selected. The President says that he is trying to ensure a balance between developing and developed nations, as well as a gender balance, in each pair.

Ministers from Rwanda and Germany will address finance, while those from Chile and Norway will address DSI. Finally, an Egyptian and Canadian minister will address conservation targets.

They are expected to carry out informal meetings and report back daily, with hopes that consultations can be finalised by the end of the High-Level Segment on Saturday 17 December.

Alongside the ministers, technical negotiations on the fine detail of the agreement will continue. It is hoped these will also be concluded by Saturday.

Huang Runqiu reiterates that he is 'committed' to ensuring that all the decisions of COP15 are adopted before or on the final day of the conference, Monday 19 December. 

50 years of changing biodiversity

A scatterplot comparing changes in Biodiversity Intactness between the Global North and South

Analysis using the Museum's Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII) has shown how biodiversity has been around the world over the past 50 years. This index estimates how much of an area's biodiversity remains.

While countries in the Global North have tended to gain biodiversity intactness since 1970, countries in the Global South tend to have lost theirs. For instance, the UK has increased from a BII of 38.07 to 42.29,  while Paraguay's BII has declined by almost 20.

These changes reflect that countries like the UK, which is one of the most nature depleted nations in the world, have already lost much of their biodiversity as land was converted for agriculture and housing. This makes it easier for biodiversity to be gained from historic lows.

Meanwhile, countries in the Global South which still maintain much of their biodiversity are under increasing pressure to exploit their resources to fuel activity in the Global North.

If COP15 can clinch a good deal, then biodiversity rich nations will be able to preserve their natural ecosystems for the foreseeable future.

Insect declines

While negotiators have been discussing how to stop the loss of biodiversity in Montreal, the decline of nature has been continuing apace.

The 2022 Bugs Matter Survey, a community science survey held in the UK, recorded a 64% drop in the number of flying insects between 2004 and 2022.

The survey, which uses insects splatted on car numberplates to estimate insect abundance, followed the release of the 2021 results earlier this year which found a 60% decline since 2004.

Andrew Whitehouse, Head of Operations at Buglife, said:

'For the second year running, Bugs Matter has shown potentially catastrophic declines in the abundance of flying insects.  Urgent action is required to address the loss of the diversity and abundance of insect life.  We will look to our leaders at COP15 for decisive action to restore nature at scale – both for wildlife, and for the health and wellbeing of future generations.'

Good COP, or COP out?

The robotic plant 'Econario' has reacted to the events at COP15 on Tuesday night, when delegates from the global majority walked out of negotiations in protest

The delegates were unhappy with the lack of progress made by the global minority to provide the finance necessary to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. 

As a response to this, the artwork Econario will either grow or wilt according to the two different paths the talks could now take.

Either aims to prevent biodiversity loss are fully funded, Indigenous peoples are fully supported worldwide, 30x30 succeeds, and 20% of intensively farmed land is allowed to naturally recover, or nothing is financed and these all become empty promises. Under the second scenario, the planet would do significantly worse than 'business as usual' because people will be complacent that action is happening, even if that is just words on paper.

The Museum's Professor Andy Purvis says, 

Goals and targets are key parts of the Global Biodiversity Framework, but only if the world mobilises enough resource to actually implement what is agreed. Without the resources, any agreement is just words. Frustration over a lack of progress on resources led many Parties to walk out of the negotiations on Tuesday. While a fully-funded ambitious agreement would improve global biodiversity intactness by 2050, empty words will see declines continue – and even accelerate biodiversity loss.'

Today's agenda

Today is the start of the High-Level Segment at COP15, with diplomats flying in from all over the world. It is likely that there will be a variety of announcements over the next few days as governments seek to demonstrate their biodiversity credentials.

The segment will be getting underway today at 8pm GMT, or 3pm in Montreal, but a variety of events are taking place beforehand. They include:

  • Press Briefing – The daily press briefing will be one to watch following walkouts, as David Ainsworth provides the latest on the negotiations between countries to agree new deals.
  • Financing biodiversity targets – The UK Government will be hosting a panel on how new biodiversity targets, which it is hoped will be agreed at this conference after delays, can be funded to achieve their goals.
  • SIDS Coalition for Nature – Small Island Developing States (SIDS), a group of 52 states across the world's oceans, will be launching their new initiative. As states that will be most affected by biodiversity loss and climate change, they also hope to demonstrate their role as innovators in combatting these crises.
  • WWF conference – The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will give an update on how it thinks the negotiations are going. 

Morning briefing

Though politicians and diplomats are arriving in the hopes of sealing a new biodiversity deal, their chances of doing so are far from certain.

Delegates from developing nations walked out of the negotiations in protest yesterday after disagreement on key issues, with one of the major sticking points being a new fund for biodiversity.

The Guardian reports that nations in the Global South are calling for developed countries in the Global North to contribute to the fund.

Developed countries, meanwhile, are reportedly arguing that countries whose economies have grown substantially since the creation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, such as China and Brazil, should pay more.

The newspaper says there are also divisions over how biodiversity funds are allocated to different countries.

On the brighter side, the BBC is reporting that banking giant HSBC has announced it will stop financing the development of new oil and gas fields.

The move by Europe's largest banking group will help to keep more fossil fuels in the ground, which is important to limit the impact of climate change, which can cause and exacerbate the effects of biodiversity loss.

It will also protect the marine and terrestrial environments that oil and gas extraction take place.

Environmental groups hope that other banking groups will now follow HSBC's lead and put a 'nail in the coffin' for fossil fuel extraction.

The UK Government, meanwhile, has announced plans for the launch of REDDA, or the Reversing Environmental Degradation in Africa and Asia, programme. African and Asian institutions will be able to apply for research grants to research local ecosystems, and methods to manage, conserve and restore them.

Environment Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith also announced a Nature Facility to ensure that the UK's aid spending was 'nature positive'.

Thursday 15 December

Good morning, it's James Ashworth bringing you the latest news from COP15 as it happens.

Today is the opening of the High-Level Segment of COP15, where dignitaries and ministers from the nations of the world will gather at the conference in the hope of clinching a deal.

We need to talk about what's under our feet

© Andrei Metelev/Shutterstock

A lot of conversations about biodiversity loss focus on the plants and animals that live aboveground. But this is ignoring a vast amount of life that lives in the soil.

A new study has been looking at the biodiversity beneath our feet and how it recovers when land has been degraded. It has found that the life in soil can take longer to recover than that above ground, meaning that we need to take a more holistic approach when assessing how to properly restore biodiversity to its full.

Underground wildlife is slow to recover from soil damage

Delegates walk out of negotiations in protest

In the early hours of this morning, delegates from the Global South walked out of negotiations in protest. 

There are a number of different points that are causing issues, but the one that seems to have precipitated the walkout is thought to be discussions on the creation of a new fund for biodiversity, with particular differences arising between nations in the Global North and South. 

There are no comments on the positions of specific countries, but the COP15 President and Secretary have organised an emergency meeting between the heads of delegates for 11.00 Montreal time to attempt to resolve the impasse. 

Today's theme - Food Day

The theme for today's events at The Pavillion at COP15 is food. 

Various discussions and talks will address how any global framework to halt and reverse biodiversity loss will fit in with the realities on the ground as people grow enough produce to support the world's population. 

Environment ministers to arrive in Montreal

Delegates trying to find common ground during a working group. Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis

The past week has seen delegates and policymakers hash out and work through as much of the final agreement as possible.

But with the talks getting down to the more difficult issues, the environmental ministers from over 100 countries are expected to arrive in Montreal over the next two days.

They will be gathering to try and finish the text, known as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and come to some sort of agreement. There is a growing concern that rather than the conferencing having a 'Paris moment for nature', referring to the landmark climate negotiations agreed in Paris in 2015, it is going to end up more like a 'Copenhagen moment', when in 2009 climate talks ended with a weak resolution.

What is looking likely to make the difference will be whether China can bring the leadership that many involved with the negotiations are calling for, with delegates particularly concerned when it comes to 'resource mobilisation', or how any mitigations against biodiversity loss will be financed.

There are also concerns that the current focus on the 30x30 pledge by many at the conference is obscuring the need to actually tackle the causes of biodiversity loss, as opposed to simply protecting land. 

Morning briefing

We are at the halfway point of the conference, so let's have a little stocktake of where we are at with the negotiations.

One of the main goals for the conference that has come to the fore is the 30x30 pledge. This is being led by the UK and Costa Rica, and has already been agreed upon by over 100 countries. The aim is to get more nations to sign up to protect 30% of the Earth by 2030, although there are significant reservations about the pledge from Indigenous groups.

There are still a few major sticking points. These largely relate to the issues of money, digital biopiracy, and how nations and companies will monitor their impact on biodiversity, but the COP15 president Huang Runqiu has said that 'considerable progress' is being made with the final text.

In addition to the core negotiations going on, other industries and communities have been taking stock of their own impact on nature. Travel and tourism organisations, for example, have formed a 'powerful' new alliance to protect nature in collaboration with the UN World Tourism Organisation. While the mayors of 15 major cities have called for investment to improve biodiversity in the urban environment.  

While this might sound positive, The Guardian is reporting this morning that there are serious concerns that the final text from COP15 will be significantly watered down, to such an extent that it will be effectively meaningless and impossible to enforce.

The paper is quoting sources involved with the negotiations who are concerned that as the current host of the presidency, China is not showing strong enough leadership needed to bring ministers together to work through the roadblocks preventing the agreement on key commitments. 

Wednesday 14 December

Good morning, it is Josh Davis here covering the live blog for day seven of the conference. 

Follow along to find out how the biodiversity negotiations progress over the day. 

'Invest in Indigenous communities'

Steven Nitah, from the Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation, has said that countries need to invest in proven solutions, and that Indigenous Peoples are part of that.

'The world is mostly made up of capitalist economies, whose mantra is to invest in what is proven to work. Let's invest in what's proven to work, and that's nature,' Steven says.

'Indigenous Peoples in Canada have shown they have the leadership and desire to protect nature where they have the rights, and this is an example for the world.'

By empowering Indigenous Peoples, he said they would be able to make the decisions needed to protect lands which they have known for thousands of years.

'Creating a barrier around an area threatened by climate change today will not protect it tomorrow,' Steven said. 'Indigenous People need to be allowed to take active leadership, and connect lands so that they continue to provide a service in the future.'

Indigenous-led conservation

WWF's daily press conference is today focusing on the role of Indigenous Peoples in conservation.

Megan Lesley, the CEO of WWF Canada, said that her organisation supports 'at least' 30% of the world being protected, but that Indigenous rights must also be advanced.

'A rights-based approach that respects the priorities of Indigenous Peoples is essential in conservation decision-making,' Megan said. 'Conserved areas in the future must prioritise just and equitable conservation outcomes.'

She added that previous policy had led to 'islands of conservation' that weren't well connected, and that Indigenous-led areas could change this.

Concerns raised over 'greenwashing'

At a panel held by the CBD Alliance, a network of organisations interested in the Convention on Biological Diversity, participants criticised the use of concepts such as 'nature positive' and 'nature-based solutions' as 'greenwashing.'

Mirna Fernández, from the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, said that nature was not clearly defined in the CBD, unlike biodiversity, and that the term was being misused.

She added that ecosystems could not easily be compared, making it unlikely offsetting to allow damage in one area would be a sufficient replacement.

'Natural ecosystems are not easily comparable, and if there services are lost they are not replaceable,' the activist said. 'Science has shown us that we cannot fully restore highly complex ecosystems, and offsetting goals will not replace this.'

Thomas Joseph, from the Hoopa Valley tribe, said that the approaches also had implications for Indigenous communities.

'Nature-based solutions are being used to justify continual fossil fuel extraction and business as usual,' he said. 'Nature-based solutions commodify our mother Earth, and are used to access unceded territories of Indigenous Peoples.'

Concerns have previously been raised that the 30x30 conservation target under discussion as part of COP15 could also harm Indigenous Peoples if protected areas are created without consultation with these communities.

More funding needed for conservation

At the conclusion of the news conference, Inger Andersen addressed questions over funding for biodiversity conservation.

'It is clear that what is on the table right now is insufficient and doesn't deliver on the ambition we need,' the UNEP Executive Director says.

She said that her organisation would work to enhance existing investment streams, as well as to find others.

'Looking at existing investment streams and how they can be optimised has to be part of the solution, but I think what the Global South is asking for is a broader range of resources at their disposal.

'It's interesting to see that a number of countries are leaning in to add to the pot, but we have to see how this can be expedited.' 

'Hopeful' 30x30 target will be agreed

Elizabeth Mrema has said that she is hopeful targets for 30x30 will remain in the text.

The conservation goal, which looks to conserve 30% of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030, has gained momentum at COP15 but has also been controversial amongst Indigenous groups, who are worried it will be implemented in a way that negatively affects them.

For now, 30x30 is still bracketed in the negotiations at COP15, meaning that it is not yet agreed by all countries.

'30x30 is great, and supported by the majority of the parties,' Elizabeth says. 'Though it is bracketed, we hope it will remain in the text.'

'The remaining 70% of the world also needs protection, however, and we need to look beyond 30x30 so that global conservation can be implemented and achieved.'

COP15 agreement 'achieveable'

Speaking at the same conference, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme says that action at COP15 is vital.

'It is here in Montreal that we must make peace with nature,' Inger Andersen says. 'It is entirely doable, and I am encouraged by what has been achieved in the past few days.'

She re-iterated the difficult topics that the conference faced, specifically noting that resources must be made available for conservation.

'We need to ensure that all proposals for resources are on the table,' Inger said, 'as successes in biodiversity are where resources are made available.'

Elizabeth Mrema, the Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity, urged the negotiations to continue at the pace set last week.

'What is at stake is nothing less than the future of human wellbeing and life in harmony with nature,' Elizabeth said. 'We need these negotiations to halt the loss of biodiversity and set us on a path to recovery.'

COP15 President 'impressed' by discussions

The COP15 President speaks at the conference's opening news briefing. Image © UN Biodiversity, licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

COP15's president says that 'considerable progress' has been made at the conference so far, but that key sticking points remain among countries.

Huang Runqiu said that he was 'really impressed' by the discussions that had taken place at COP15 so far, and was 'fully confident' that biodiversity targets will be agreed.

However, the COP15 president said that countries have to be flexible to ensure that consensus can be achieved in some of the outstanding issues.

'There are difficulties in agreeing some of the complex issues, and there are big gaps on resource allocation, monitoring and digital sequence information (DSI). We really have to spend time to further explore that.'

What are the UN flagships?

The 10 inaugural projects are:

  • Trinational Atlantic Forest Pact – Organisations in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina hope to restore 10,000 square kilometres of Atlantic forest by 2030, and increasing this to 150,000 by 2050. Initiatives include creating wildlife corridors for endangered species like the jaguar and the golden lion tamarin, and securing water supplies.
  • Abu Dhabi Marine Restoration – In the United Arab Emirates, efforts are underway to restore seagrass, coral reefs and mangroves along its Gulf coast. 75 square kilometres of coastal areas have already been restored with another 45 hectares under restoration for 2030, which is hoped to support a range of marine life including the dugong.
  • Great Green Wall for Restoration and Peace – Led by the African Union, and launched in 2007, the initiative hopes to create a belt of green landscapes across 11 countries in Africa's Sahel region. By 2030, the project aims to restore 100 million hectares, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million jobs.
  • Ganges River Rejuvenation – Restoring the health of one of India's most important rivers is the goal of over 230 organisations, who have restored 1500 kilometres of river so far. 300 square kilometres of new forest has been planted, with a goal of restoring over 1300 square kilometres by 2030.
  • Multi-Country Mountain Initiative – This initiative, which spans continents and nations, is looking to ensure the survival of mountain ecosystems. Helping endangered species such as the mountain gorilla and snow leopard are among the goals of the involved nations, which are Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda and Rwanda.
  • Small Island Developing States Restoration Drive - Vanuatu, St Lucia and Comoros hope to reduce pressure on coral reefs and restore seagrass, mangroves and coastal forests as part of this initiative. They also hope to produce techniques that can be used by other island nations to fight biodiversity loss and climate change.
  • Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative – The Kazakhstani initiative has been working since 2005 to combat the decline of the steppe in Central Asia, which is in decline due to factors including overgrazing, conversion to arable land and the shifting climate. The restoration of wetlands, steppe and desert ecosystems are helping to restore populations of the saiga antelope and migratory birds.
  • Central American Dry Corridor – Six countries in Central America, which are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, are hoping to restore landscapes that are vulnerable to climate change. The nations hope to use agroforestry to combine tropical forest with crops such as coffee and cocoa that can support local people. By 2030, the goal is to have 1000 square kilometres under restoration and to create 5,000 permanent jobs.
  • Building with Nature in Indonesia – Indonesia is vulnerable to coastal erosion following the removal of mangrove forests for aquaculture. This project is using fence like structures built on the coast to trap mud and calm waves, allowing mangroves to regrow while protecting the coastline. Farmers have also been educated to sustainably increase their shrimp production.
  • Shan-Shui Initiative in China – This is the combination of 75 projects to restore ecosystems across the country, from mountains to coastlines, which target 100,000 square kilometres of restoration by 2030. Initiatives such as the Oujiang River Headwaters Project integrate scientific knowledge with traditional farming methods to make land use more sustainable.

UN's first World Restoration Flagships announced

The announcement of the flagships

The UN's first World Restoration Flagships are being announced, with 10 projects across the world set to receive backing from the global body.

These flagships represent projects which are being carried out by a variety of organisations across the world. Funding, advice and promotion will be provided by the UN to the groups to help them to achieve their goals.

The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Inger Andersen, says, 'Transforming our relationship with nature is the key to reversing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste.

'These 10 inaugural World Restoration Flagships show that with political will, science, and collaboration across borders, we can achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and forge a more sustainable future not only for the planet but also for those of us who call it home.'

While some of the projects have been running for some time, others are relatively new. Whether their ambition will match up to their ability to implement these projects remains to be seen.

How do we classify ecosystems?

To start healing the world's ecosystems, scientists and policy experts need to know what they're actually faced with restoring.

What may appear to be a single forest can be a mix of different ecosystem types all mingled together. As these ecosystem types may respond in differently to the same interventions, identifying each one is an important step for successful restoration. 

To help solve this, a new way of categorising ecosystems launched earlier this year. Known as the Global Typology of Ecosystems, it was developed with help from some of the Museum's scientists, and has been trialled in the island nation of the Maldives. 

The impetus is now on research to fill in the fine details of what ecosystems are found all over the world so that restoration projects can be given the best chance to succeed.

Get an in-depth look at identifying ecosystems with our explainer

Today's theme - Restoration Day

Though you may not be aware, the 2020s are the UN's Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Helping to repair the damage done to the world's ecosystems will not just help to fight biodiversity loss, but also to combat other threats to life such as climate change and pandemics.

In recognition of this, today at COP15 has been declared 'Restoration Day', which aims to highlight how targeted funding and shifts in demand can help to restore the planet.

There will also be hopes to hit the headlines with the announcement of 10 big conservation projects,  known as the World Restoration Flagships.

Covering 680,000 square kilometres, or an area roughly the size of the US state of Texas, these projects span 23 countries and aim to produce over a million new jobs.

They will be announced by celebrities including actor Edward Norton, scientist Dr Jane Goodall and singer Ellie Goulding.

Throughout the rest of the day, there will be discussions of best practice for restoration, how young people can get involved, and how commitments can be monitored.

Today's agenda

Following Youth Day last week, today's theme is restoration. The United Nations Environment Programme, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organisation, are holding a series of events to mark the day.

Top of the agenda for the day is the announcement of the UN's First Ten World Restoration Flagships, where a host of famous faces will announce projects aiming to restore hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of land across the world.

Here are a few of the other events coming up today:

  • COP15 President's news conference – Rather than the as is now traditional press conference from David Ainsworth, COP15's president Huang Runqiu will instead be giving an update on the progress of the conference.
  • CBD Alliance – Interested parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be discussing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. It is important this set of targets are agreed by the end of this conference, as the previous targets expired almost two years ago.
  • WWF conference – The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will today be arguing for the inclusion of Indigenous conservation in proposed biodiversity targets.
  • Biodiversity and finance – An event organised by the University of Cambridge will call for the CBD to unlock economic change across the world.

Morning briefing

After negotiations resumed at COP15 yesterday, an update on the progress of the conference will provide an insight into how the state of play has changed since the weekend.

Rather than hosting the regular press conference on the event, today's news conference will be held by Huang Runqiu, the COP15 President. While the meeting may be taking place in Montreal, China, where the conference was originally going to be held, remains as the chair.

Elsewhere at the conference, Indigenous representatives and NGOs have announced press conferences on a number of issues.

Today, Amazonian groups will hold a press conference on the state of the Amazon, which is thought to be heading towards a tipping point where the ecosystem will start to change.

Meanwhile, groups from Canada have announced a panel discussing the issue of extracting tar sands, which are unusual fossil fuel deposits consisting of sand mixed with a dense form of petroleum known as bitumen.

They will discuss the impact of the waste on the biodiversity of the area at a press conference on Thursday.

In the UK, meanwhile, The Times has reported that five million pounds will be spent on restoring a third of threatened marine habitats on the coast of the Solent along England's south coast.

The area is recognised as a site of national, regional and international importance for marine and avian biodiversity.

As part of the work, seagrass meadows, oyster reefs, saltmarsh and seabird nesting sites will be restored in the next five years.

Tuesday 13 December

Good morning, it's James Ashworth bringing you the latest news from COP15 as it happens.

Follow along to find out how negotiations on biodiversity are going as the second week progresses.

Representatives call for biodiversity targets to take into account Indigenous communities in conflict areas

Representatives from the All Burma Indigenous Peoples' Alliance brought to attention the challenging situation in Myanmar.

They spoke of the conflict that has reignited, with logging and mining operations increasing across the country, pushing Indigenous communities and biodiversity onto a 'dangerous path'.

They call for the 30x30 to not go ahead without guarantees of recognition and participation of Indigenous peoples, which may otherwise lead to land confiscations and human rights violations.

They highlighted how Indigenous communities in conflict areas like Burma have faced 'militarised violence at the hands of military dictatorships'.

Indigenous people continue to protect and sustain a vast majority of the world's biodiversity.

Travel and tourism organisations form 'powerful' new alliance to protect nature

The World Travel & Tourism Council has announced a 'powerful' new alliance with the UN World Tourism Organisation and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance to bring together the public and private sectors in a shared vision to meet the objectives of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Wildlife tourism alone creates US $340 billion per day and supports more than 21 million jobs, often in local communities. However, the travel and tourism industry can also be a threat to biodiversity loss.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, says that today they are taking the next step on this journey and launching a new initiative, Nature Positive Travel and Tourism, to which 130 organisations have already signed up.

Although travel companies are aware of their great need and potential to protect nature, there is a huge lack of guidance and support to help them to do so.

Oil and gas expansion threatens undisturbed tropical forests ran a session to highlight the threats of expanding oil and gas on critical ecosystems around the world. 

Tyson Miller, Executive Director of Earth Insight, announced the release of Crisis Point, which presents maps and analysis showing the scale of the threat of oil and gas.

He said 135 million hectares of undisturbed tropical forest in the Amazon and Congo basins are now in oil and gas blocks for production and those that are designated for expansion.

A lot of European demand is heading south due to the Russian occupation of Ukraine. Miller highlighted how this issue doesn't just affect biodiversity but also local people. Up to 45 million people are now in these blocks, including a significant number of Indigenous and local communities.

Dr Alicia Guzmán, Deputy Director of the Amazon Program at said,

We are here today to expose what is happening and make a call to the governments that are making decisions on behalf of all of us to take care of the future of Amazonia and key ecosystems in other parts of the world. This might be the last Global Biodiversity Framework where we can discuss the future of these ecosystems.


WWF urge leaders not to 'lower the ambition' of the framework

In today's press conference, representatives from the WWF spoke about the current state of negotiations and the need for leaders to 'choose the right side of history'.

Guido Broekhoven, Head of Policy Research and Development at WWF, said that the 30x30 pledge is important, but that alone is not sufficient, and we must address the drivers of biodiversity loss. He also highlights that the footprint of production and consumption needs to be halved by 2030.

Guido went on to say that the ambition to address the drivers of biodiversity loss is 'clearly under threat in the current negotiations.' and mentioned that there is debate about whether the footprint should be included in the framework at all.

The panel urged parties to lift brackets from the framework over the coming days and begin to discuss numbers in targets. They also emphasised how Indigenous peoples need to be part of the decision-making process.

Over 50 faith-based organisations outline key priorities for COP15

Faiths at COP15 are a multi-faith delegation of around 30 different faith-based organisations advocating for an ambitious Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

The delegation has released six key priorities that they wish to see in the GBF, which has been endorsed by over 50 faith-based organisations representing hundreds of millions of people of faith from every major faith tradition.

Gopal Patel, Co-Founder and Director at Bhumi Global and a coordinator for the Faiths at COP15 delegation, outlined the key priorities for the GBF:

  • It is ambitious in its goal and recognises the urgency to achieve a rights-based, equitable and nature-positive world.
  • A rights-based approach is embedded throughout.
  • It recognises cross-cutting issues of biodiversity, climate change, pollution, ecosystem restoration and other environmental concerns that the world is facing.
  • It recognises issues around production and extraction, in particular, how they affect the global south for consumer habits in the global north.
  • It has a strong implementation mechanism.

We, as faith-based organisations, are ready and willing to play our part as part of the implementation mechanism to achieve a nature-positive world by 2030.

Over 50 faith-based organisations outline key priorities for COP15

Faiths at COP15 are a multi-faith delegation of around 30 different faith-based organisations advocating for an ambitious Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

The delegation has released six key priorities that they wish to see in the GBF, which has been endorsed by over 50 faith-based organisations representing hundreds of millions of people of faith from every major faith tradition.

Gopal Patel, Co-Founder and Director at Bhumi Global and a coordinator for the Faiths at COP15 delegation, outlined the key priorities for the GBF:

  • It is ambitious in its goal and recognises the urgency to achieve a rights-based, equitable and nature-positive world.
  • A rights-based approach is embedded throughout.
  • It recognises cross-cutting issues of biodiversity, climate change, pollution, ecosystem restoration and other environmental concerns that the world is facing.
  • It recognises issues around production and extraction, in particular, how they affect the global south for consumer habits in the global north.
  • It has a strong implementation mechanism.

We, as faith-based organisations, are ready and willing to play our part as part of the implementation mechanism to achieve a nature-positive world by 2030.

No new updates on negotations

With no negotiations taking place yesterday, no new updates on the progress of the framework were given at today's press briefing.

David Ainsworth, the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat's Head of Communications, has said there will be a number of consultations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework taking place today, including on the following targets:

  • Target 1 - To ensure that all land and sea areas globally are under integrated biodiversity inclusive spacial planning.
  • Target 5 - Ensuring the harvesting trade and use of wild species is sustainable, legal and safe for human health.

Today the Business and Biodiversity Forum also begins, which is a two-day event to provide an opportunity for the business community to identify tools and solutions that can support companies to move away from business as usual.

Today's agenda

After a brief pause yesterday, we are back with a full day of events. Here are some of what's coming up throughout the day:

  • Daily Press Briefing - We will be kicking off our coverage with the daily press briefing to see how negotiations have progressed over the weekend.
  • Oil and gas threats - We will be hearing about oil and gas threats to key tropical forests in a session organised by
  • World travel & tourism - Can travel be sustainable? We will hear about solutions to nature-positive travel and tourism at a session organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
  • Indigenous solutions - We will be hearing about local Indigenous solutions to global challenges in Burma/ Myanmar.

Morning briefing

Negotiations will continue today after a brief pause yesterday.

David Ainsworth, the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat's Head of Communications, said that 'great progress' is being made on negotiations during the Saturday Press Briefing. We will be hearing if things have progressed any further over the weekend later today.

Over the last few days, some organisations have criticised the pace of negotiations on core issues. We will be hearing more about their thoughts on this throughout the week.

Elsewhere, The Guardian published an article this morning about how the 'Blue Economy' is being largely ignored by politicians or economists. 

The state of our oceans has already been a talking point at COP15, with the IUCN Red List announcing on Friday the dramatic decline in marine life all around the world. Also, leading scientists have been drawing attention to the silent extinction of deep open species not yet known to science.

Monday 12 December

Good morning, it's Emma Caton here to keep you up-to-date as COP15 enters a new week.

Follow along as I will be bringing you the latest news from the conference throughout the day.

Watch: How is nature changing?

Earlier in the day, Professor Andy Purvis called on the delegates at COP15 to incorporate metrics that can give accurate feedback as to how biodiversity is changing as a direct result of different policy decisions. 

Watch this handy video that explains how the Biodiversity Intactness Index can do just this. 

Insect scientists threatened with extinction

It is not just insects that are under threat of extinction, but the people studying and naming them too.

A report published this week, the European Red List of Insect Taxonomists, has detailed for the first time how the capacity of insect taxonomists, those scientists who name and describe new species, across Europe is in decline. The report found that over the past decade for 40% of insect groups the capacity of taxonomists has been degraded.

This is of concern because we simply cannot protect what we don't know exists.

'Our ability and expertise to recognise insect species and biodiversity are fundamental for their conservation,' the report authors write. 'However, there is increasing concern regarding our capacity to identify insects and describe and name new species.'

The authors of the report suggest a number of ways in which this decline in scientists should be addressed, including targeted and sustainable funding for taxonomists, integration of the role of taxonomists into policy, and increasing the recognition and awareness of taxonomists among the public. 

Prof Andy Purvis: 'targets simply have to be challenging - and action is needed right now.'

Professor Andy Purvis at COP15 explaining the importance of monitoring indicators. 

The Museum's Professor Andy Purvis is one of the scientists who has signed the open letter urging the delegates at COP15 not to water down the biodiversity targets. 

'If we're going to get to the future safely, the Global Biodiversity Framework's goals and targets simply have to be challenging - and action is needed right now,' explains Andy. 'Without the deadlines, the framework will be too weak to stand up to vested interests that put their own growth and profits ahead of all our futures.'

Andy is part of a team who have been developing an online tool that helps to track biodiversity change. Scientists, governments and policymakers can use this to see how different actions will impact biodiversity in the future.

'It's really important that the proposed new monitoring framework uses 'leading indicators', metrics such as the Biodiversity Intactness Index, that can tell us quickly whether we're on track for our goals, or whether we need to change course,' says Andy.

'The 'headline' indicators currently in the draft framework tell us what has happened, not what might happen next - and we can't navigate the next 30 years safely by looking in the rear-view mirror.'

Hundreds of scientists call on COP15 negotiators not to water down targets

Hundreds of biodiversity and environmental scientists from around the world are calling on negotiators not to water down the targets to 'bend the curve' by 2030. 

While there are some people who claim that the 2030 target to halt and reverse biodiversity loss is unrealistic and ultimately unachievable, the scientists argue that abandoning this pledge will undermine any recovery that urgently needs to start now.

The scientists state that tangible differences in improving biodiversity - in the oceans and on land - can be achieved within just 10-20 years. This should be the starting point, from which more ambitious and integrated changes can be made. 

They are calling for such initiatives in reversing biodiversity loss to initially focus on 'where this functionality is most at risk, where people are most reliant on it, and where the most profound changes can be made.'

This can then be built upon so that by 2050 we will see a turning point in the health of our planet. 

Today's agenda

Negotiations have taken a pause for Sunday, but there are still a few events occurring throughout the day.

  • Today will see the start of the Science-Policy Forum. This will be a chance for scientists, policymakers and stakeholders to share experiences, knowledge and ideas to help accelerate the efforts to halt and reverse the global decline of biodiversity.
  • Events will conclude at the Indigenous Village at COP15, hosted by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative. Today will see talks on the pathway to 30x30 from an Indigenous perspective, Indigenous wildlife management and stewardship and the experience of the Haida Nation and Heiltsuk Nations in building an 'Indigenous-led conservation economy.'
  • There are a number of discussions taking place focused on finance, looking not only at the impact of the decline of biodiversity on the financial sector but also how any schemes will be funded. 

Morning briefing

Yesterday the Head of Communications for the Convention for Biological Diversity said that progress is being made when it comes to agreeing on conference room papers.

This is important, because the more issues that are agreed upon earlier in the negotiations means that there is more time to work through the more difficult points, including those that relate to Indigenous folk and Digital Sequence Information.

There was also a lot of discussion not just about protecting and preserving the wilder tracts of land, but also those in our built environment.

A number of mayors from 15 major cities around the world called for more funding to improve biodiversity in cities, while the Montreal Metropolitan Community announced that it will aim to protect 30% of natural environments in Greater Montreal by 2030. 

While not directly related to the talks going on at COP15, there has been a continued backlash at the UK's decision to open a new coal mine, with many warning that it threatens the UK's position as a global leader on environmental issues. 

Sunday 11 December

Good morning, it's Josh Davis here to keep you up-to-date this Sunday.

Today is a bit of a rest day with formal negotiations taking a break, but we will continue coverage of any other notable events that occur throughout the day. 

Mayors call for funding to improve urban biodiversity

A group of 15 mayors from major cities around the world have called for investment in local regions to fight climate change and biodiversity loss on the ground.

As part of a United Nations Environment Programme initiative, the mayors have said that biodiversity targets can only be hit by including cities and local areas in overall plans, with national governments and private financers needed to ensure nature can thrive in cities.

Christophe Najdovski, the Deputy Mayor of Paris, France, says, 'As citizens and as decision makers in our cities, local governments are facing the same situation all over the world as we see the collapse of biodiversity.'

'Our regions have been artificialised in the past decade and our environment has been neglected. We are interdependent on it, and the collapse of biodiversity is the collapse of human society as well.'

Dr Marina Robles Garcia, the Environment Secretary of Mexico City, said that investing in cities could deliver tangible results.

'In the 1980s and 1990s, Mexico City was considered to be one of the world's most contaminated cities. However, the investment of over $360 million US dollars in recent years has seen our city start to recover.'

In the past four years, Dr Garcia said that the number of bird species in the city had recovered from 350 to 392. The city has also planted 34 million plants, and created 33 new wetland systems, to help provide access to nature.

'We need to open our doors to nature and let nature into every area of our city. We want nature to be pervasive and embedded once again in our daily lives.'

There were also calls for the development of new scientific methods to monitor biodiversity in cities, which is one of the goal's of the Museum's Urban Nature Project

'Countries have taken the hatchet to the ratchet'

At the same press conference, Guido Broekhoven, Head of Policy at WWF International, discussed the post-2020 biodiversity targets COP15 is hoped to agree.

While praising the approach to human rights in the targets, he said the WWF was 'much less positive, and quite concerned' about other areas. In particular, the way that the progress of biodiversity protection will be monitored was among their major concerns.

'One of the key reasons agreed for why the Aichi biodiversity targets failed was that their monitoring and implementation was weak,' Guido says. 'There seems to be convergence among parties on a regular review of progress, but there seems to be no willingness to ratchet up action on the ground if progress is insufficient.'

He also warned that there was pressure to decrease the number of indicators used to measure biodiversity, saying that this would allow countries to 'cherry pick' indicators that work for them.

Guido added that numbers needed to be agreed for the targets, but was concerned agreements on them were being pushed towards the end of the negotiations.

'It will be too late to maintain ambition at this point,' he said, ' and last minute agreements will be made on the basis of the lowest common denominator.'

'Some reasons for hope, but more reasons for concern'

The WWF has presented a mixed outlook on the state of negotiations at COP15 so far in today's press briefing.

Bernadette Fischler Hooper, Head of International Advocacy at WWF UK, said that unresolved points in the text were 'dropping like flies' and that the pace of negotiations had increased in recent days, adding that 'there are reasons to be hopeful that governments are grabbing this last best chance for nature.'

However, she warned that the pace on core issues appeared to be dropping and that these needed to be resolved before government ministers arrive towards the end of the talks. 

Indigenous issues still being debated

In response to a question, David has said that questions on the role of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in conservation are still the subject of debate at COP15.

'While one of our targets relating to knowledge is not bracketed in the text, suggesting there is a lot of support for moving forward on that, other areas are still under discussion.

'I expect we'll only know how those are going to resolve in the days to come,' he adds.

'Great progress' but thorny issues remain

David Ainsworth, the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat's Head of Communications, has said that the working groups at COP15 have made 'great progress' on agreeing conference room papers (CRPs) at today's press conference.

These papers are those which are 'close to a state of adoption with perhaps a few issues to discuss,' he explained.

Among the CRPs adopted include those discussing Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and the scientific basis of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). 65 outstanding issues of the GBF were resolved yesterday, though two more were introduced.

The more CRPs that can be adopted before the conclusion of COP15, then the more time that will be left to discuss the thornier outstanding issues, reducing the chance that some topics will be left to discuss at the next COP.

One of the thorniest issues is Digital Sequence Information, or DSI, which refers to how data relating to cell biochemistry and DNA sequences can be used and regulated, as well as how the benefits from them are shared. 'Positive and open-minded' discussions were had by negotiators, but consensus on a definition is still being reached.

David added that there were many 'different and divergent views' on another difficult issue, deep seabed mining. You can find out more about this topic here.

The importance of hope

With all the bad news about the environment, you may be feeling worried about the future of our planet.

You're not alone - a recent survey of young people found that more than 70% feel anxious about the future. Being worried about the planet's health is known as eco-anxiety, and there are ways you can turn these worries into action:

  • Don't bury your feelings - The climate and biodiversity crises are serious issues, and you may be feeling a lot of emotions. Try writing down your worries on paper to identify what you're feeling.
  • Speak up - Talk to friends and others you can share your feelings with to get across your worries to express what you're going through
  • Take action - You can't fix the climate or biodiversity crises on your own, but we can achieve change together. You could sign a petition, join a conservation group, or simply just inform yourself about the true state of the world's health.

For more information about eco-anxiety and what you can do about it, you can read our full explainer here.

Green spaces in cities

Singapore's Gardens by the Bay span over a square kilometre and contain over 1.5 million plants in the heart of the city state. Image © Fabio Achilli, licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Later today, mayors from cities around the world will be discussing how local governments can take a leading role in protecting biodiversity in their area.

As 68% of people will live in cities by 2050, their actions will have big impacts on the majority of the world's current and future population. Having green spaces in these cities of tomorrow, therefore, is more important than ever.

First of all, green spaces can make our cities more pleasant to live in. Building materials such as concrete warm up and store heat, which can cause urban areas to be as much as 4⁰C warmer than the surrounding countryside. Green spaces can mitigate some of the effects of this effect.

Planting trees, meanwhile, can encourage ecosystems to develop. Having a range of tree species allows animals including birds, bats and insects to thrive in our urban areas, and can save effort and money from having to support them through artificial means.

Linking up these green areas can provide a space for nature in our towns and cities. Singapore, for instance, has been praised for its efforts to connect pockets of biodiversity, which has seen the Critically Endangered smooth-coated otter return to the city state.

Aside from biodiversity, having access to nature is also good for our mental state and wellbeing

Indigenous Peoples at COP15

As we've previously mentioned, this weekend sees an Indigenous Village pop up at COP15 to highlight Indigenous issues in conservation.

Events taking place at the village include discussions that Indigenous Peoples can and do play in conservation, and how recognising their rights can help to promote the protection of biodiversity.

To find out more, read our explainer which delves into these topics:

COP15: Indigenous Peoples call for co-operation to conserve the world's biodiversity

Today's agenda

While negotiations continue, and discussions take place behind closed doors, public events continue across this weekend. As Montreal is five hours behind us here in London, the first events aren't scheduled until midday GMT. Here are the public events to keep an eye on:

  • The Press Briefing - a staple of every day of the conference, this will give us an update of how negotiations are progressing towards new agreements on biodiversity. Yesterday, it was said 'good progress' was being made but that finance remained an issue.
  • The WWF Briefing – If one daily briefing wasn't enough, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will also be making its daily statement on the state of play at COP15. Yesterday, they raised concerns over the 'slow pace' of negotiations, but will their opinion have changed today?
  • Sustainable Cities – It's not just national governments that are present at COP15 – local governments are too. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is bringing together mayors from cities around the world to discuss how local areas can be funded to protect their biodiversity.
  • Indigenous Peoples – Multiple panels will highlight the roles Indigenous Peoples have to play in conservation and scientific research, and how their voices can be amplified in the future.

Morning briefing

Yesterday, a petition backed by a range of NGOs and signed by 3.2 million people was presented at COP15. It calls for half the planet to be protected and conserved.

They argue that protecting 50% of the planet as part of a 'Global Deal for Nature' would help to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, calling current proposals to protect 30% of the Earth 'outdated'.

The proposals, however, are likely to receive pushback from other NGOs at the conference. Groups campaigning on behalf of Indigenous Peoples, for instance, are already concerned that unilaterally declaring protected areas could lead to the eviction of some of the world's most marginalised groups.

Meanwhile, in the UK, The Guardian is reporting that water pollution goals are set to be weakened in the upcoming Environment Act.

The Government is yet to reveal the targets, which were due to have been released by the end of October, and a spokesperson told the newspaper that they would not be confirmed until they are published.

Any delay to pollution cuts could conflict with one of the proposed biodiversity targets being discussed at COP15, which mandates countries to slash nutrients lost to the environment by at least half by 2030. 

Saturday 10 December

Good morning, it's James Ashworth here as the conference enters its first weekend.

Though it may be a Saturday, negotiations and events at COP15 are set to continue throughout the day.

Friends of the Earth critise 'unambitious' biodiversity targets

A panel of representatives from Friends of the Earth have criticised the Global Biodiversity Framework as being 'not very ambitious' in light of reports on the rate of biodiversity destruction across the world. They have also warmed against businesses influencing negotiations.

Hemantha Withanage, Friends of the Earth International Chair, talks about empty words which are not actually bringing justice to local indigenous people and communities who have been conserving biodiversity for centuries. He talks about having to

Keep away the voices of private corporations and listen to the local communities and indigenous people more.

The Friends of the Earth panel discussed creating a 'down to earth' biodiversity framework, which should not be run by billionaires companies, but by the voices of local Indigenous people.

They are calling on governments to regulate those who destroy biodiversity and prevent businesses from influencing negotiations and presenting greenwashing as policy.

Over 100 scientists warn of dangers of genetic biotechnologies

More than 100 scientists and policy experts from 30 countries have warned COP15 about the dangers of genetic biotechnologies for pollinators and biodiversity.

They call on world leaders to demand restrictions at international, regional and national levels. Some of the signatories spoke at the conference highlighting their concerns, which include:

  • Biodiversity loss as a result of mass monocultures.
  • Concerns with genetically modified organisms driving certain traits with unknown consequences.
  • New pesticides designed to 'turn off' genes that are essential for the survival of insects. The spray used on crops is found to be taken up by pollinators, such as honey bees.

Leading marine scientists urge COP15 to address the silent extinction of deep ocean species

Oceanographer Prof Anna Metaxas introduces the new Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative policy brief 'Diversity in the Darkness', which presents a case for understanding more about our deep oceans for effective marine conservation.

If we start impacting the deep sea, we are going to lose species we don't even know exist yet or what their role is.

The deep ocean comprises more than 95% of the habitable areas of the planet and helps regulate climate and nutrients. The new policy brief addresses the fact that the deep sea is a centre for biodiversity. It is estimated there are approximately two million species living in the world's oceans. However, only 28,000 have actually been described.

Most species in the deep ocean are undiscovered and remain unknown. These are the species that sustain the functions that the deep sea provides e.g. carbon recycling.

The brief calls for describing the diversity of species in the deep sea so we can better protect them. This protection is essential for keeping our planet healthy.

WWF sound the alarm on the 'slow pace' of negotiations

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, highlights his concern about attempts to 'dilute' the ambition of COP15 during today's WWF Daily Briefing.

He also mentioned the 'disappointing result' seen at COP27 and underlined the greater importance of COP15 to succeed, stating that without action to reverse the loss of nature by 2030, we will have no chance to combat climate change.

Lambertini also criticised negotiations for potentially 'not leaving enough time' to address important issues.

We must focus on what is necessary. Not the lowest common denominator that can be negotiated here.

Corel reefs used as case study for marine species decline

Pillar coral. Image © Thomas Shahan via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dr David Obura, Chair of the Corel Specialist Group for IUCN, uses one of the IUCN Red List's species assessments to highlight what is happening with other coral species and marine species in general.

Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus) from the Caribbean has been in decline over the past 40 years. A new disease emerged four years ago, which seems to have arisen from port dredging and the release of microbes into the marine environment. The disease spread around the Caribbean in four years and has decimated populations. In one day, the disease can progress as much as 90-100 metres.

Dr Obura highlights how many conservation actions are needed to protect coral reefs, in particular, reducing the pressures of pollution and over-exploitation and addressing the growing threat of climate change.

Corel reefs are one of the systems that are showing us the rapidity of the growth of these impacts and threats, and highlight the actions we need to take to avoid these tipping points.

Marine species facing a 'perfect storm' of threats

Today's update from the IUCN Red List of threatened species highlights the dramatic decline in marine life all around the world. Dr Jane Smart, Director of the Centre for Science and Data at the IUCN described the declines as 'scary'.

Marine species are facing a perfect storm of threats. I don't say this lightly, but we are seeing a decimation of marine life.

Dr Smart went on to say how marine species, from corals to shellfish to marine mammals, are facing unsustainable fishing and by-catch, poaching, criminal networks, pollution, climate change and disease.

'Good progress' made on biodiversity targets

Today's press briefing held at COP15 has brought reassurance that the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework working group made 'good progress' during their sessions yesterday

Groups are also set up to discuss resource mobilisation with widespread agreement across parties that

Access to funding is indeed the biggest challenge being faced.

However, there was no consensus on how to remedy this, but suggestions were made for a dedicated biodiversity fund.

Rapping for change

The Global Youth Biodiversity Network onstage rapping at COP15. Image © UN Biodiversity, licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Yesterday, Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) performed their demands for COP15 to 'Stop the Same' through rap. They even invited the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, on stage to dance with them.

The GYBN have been urging governments to bring transformative change at COP15.

If we keep doing things the same way, we are doomed to fail.

Let's talk biodiversity

Image © UN Biodiversity, licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

While we wait for the day's events to unfold, this is a great time to remind ourselves why we are here in the first place. 

Humans rely on biodiversity to survive, yet we are witnessing the rapid deterioration of the natural world. Here are just some of the numbers from the biodiversity crisis:

  •  Wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just 48 years, according to the latest World Wildlife Fund for Nature's Living Planet Report.
  • Animals in Central and South America have been particularly hit hard in recent times, with a 94% drop in the average wildlife population size.
  • Currently, more than 150,300 species are on the IUCN Red List. More than 42,100 of those species are threatened with extinction.
  • Species threatened with extinction include 41% of amphibians, 37% of sharks and rays, 36% of reef-building corals, 34% of conifers, 27% of mammals and 13% of birds. 

Conferences like COP15 allow politicians, scientists, and policymakers to get together and decide what needs to be done to protect, preserve and restore nature.

Find out more about the biodiversity crisis:

What is biodiversity and why does its loss matter?

Today's agenda

As discussions continue behind closed doors, we will be reporting on the latest public events and updates from the conference. Here is what to expect from the day:

  • The Press Briefing - In a few hours, we will kick off the day's events with an update on negotiations towards new biodiversity targets.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will be giving an update on their renowned Red List - the most comprehensive inventory of the conservation status of plant and animal species.
  • Biotechnologies - Over 100 scientists will warn COP15 about the dangers of genetic biotechnologies for pollinators and biodiversity.
  • Deep-sea species - Organised by the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative, leading marine scientists will urge policy-makers to support research to find, catalogue and protect disappearing deep-sea species.

Morning briefing

The theme of yesterday's event was Youth Day. With younger generations likely to feel the greatest effects of biodiversity loss in their lifetime, the importance of involving young people in biodiversity discussions was a key topic at yesterday's conference.

The importance of including Indigenous voices in conversations about biodiversity loss has also been a hot topic so far at the conference. Yesterday we heard from communities calling for greater ambition to end deforestation and more laws needed to protect indigenous rights. The COP Indigenous Village is due to open later today.

The University of Oxford and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) also announced the launch of the Nature Positive Universities Alliance – a global network of more than 400 universities that have made an official pledge to advance efforts to reverse biodiversity loss by addressing their own impacts and restoring ecosystems harmed by their activities.

David Ainsworth, the Head of Communications at the Convention on Biological Diversity's Secretariat, highlighted yeserday that there is still a great deal of work to do and 'many hours' needed for biodiversity target discussions.

Friday 9 December

Good morning, it's Emma Caton here reporting on the major events from the third full day of COP15.

Follow along as I will be bringing you the latest news from the conference throughout the day.

A just transition to a greener world

Ahead of the opening of the COP Indigenous Village tomorrow, Julius says that Indigenous groups must be heard as part of discussions over protecting areas and conserving biodiversity.

'We want to see an inclusive and fair agreement, based upon human rights, come out of COP15,' Julius says. 'Crimes are being committed in the name of conservation, and that's not right.'

'We can't protect nature without people, and with Indigenous Peoples protecting 18% of the world despite being just 5% of its population, we can't discuss these decisions without them.'

'Don't delay, act now'

Julius says that there are already signs that some countries may be pushing for aspects of the draft agreement to be moved to future COPs, and argues that this needs to be stopped.

'The GYBN is calling for delegates to "Stop the Same" at COP15, but my first impressions are not too promising,' Julius says. 'Just a couple of days into COP15 it already looks like parties are pushing for delay, and this can't continue. There has been too little action so far, and it needs to start now.'

While hoping that the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be agreed, he says that negotiators need to focus on how the targets will be brought to fruition.

'Even the most ambitious goals will fail without the right implementation,' Julius says. 'The framework is like a big room that is still being decorated, and the key is implementation. Without this key, there is no way into the room.'

Calls for access to nature

Julius is part of the German youth delegation to COP15. Image © Julius Pahl.

As it's Youth Day at COP15, we've been speaking to Julius Pahl, one of the members of the German youth delegation to the conference.

The delegation is part of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), which has been calling for greater access to, and education about, nature for young people all over the world.

'As a five-year-old, I met a butterfly researcher who visited the Amazon, which helped inspire me to follow the path I am on now,' the masters student says. 'It was only later that I realised this was such a privilege.'

'Everyone I've met at COP15 has an individual who guided them as a young person. It's important not to underestimate the power of connection, and one of our aims at COP is to ensure that everyone has this opportunity.'

'We want to ensure that all young people have access to nature, even in urban areas. It's important as to protect nature, you need to connect with it, and to do that you have to be able to access it. However that may be, from visiting parks to being part of a community garden, those opportunities need to exist.'

To achieve this, he hopes that COP15 will result in more funding being directed to improve nature-related education globally.

'Money needs to be made available, and the solutions need to be implemented,' Julius adds. 'Education is a relatively cheap way of doing this, as it doesn't have to be expensive to be effective.'

More laws needed to protect Indigenous rights

Fany Kuiru, the women's represenative of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, has also been speaking about the new EU law.

She says, 'We welcome this new law to fight against deforestation, but we must suggest that there are more laws to protect the rights of the people, land and forests for Indigenous Peoples. It is important that these laws are more ambitious.'

'Indigenous Peoples have been evicted from our territories and our leaders murdered because of deforestation, and this cannot be allowed to continue anymore.'

Indigenous Peoples call for greater ambition to end deforestation

Indigenous representatives from the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC) have been commenting on a new law agreed by the EU relating to deforestation. It would make it mandatory for companies to know exactly where the raw materials for their products come from, and prove that their products are deforestation-free. 

Speaking after the agreement, EU politician Frans Timmermans said, 'As we make the green transition in the European Union we also want to ensure that our value chains become more sustainable as well. Combatting deforestation is an urgent task for this generation, and a great legacy to leave behind for the next.'

However, GATC reps have accused the EU of leaving out many other biodiverse habitats from the law.

Dinamam Tuxa, a GATC member from northeast Brazil, says, 'Biomes such as cerrado and pampas have been completely or partially disregarded by this law. At least 75% of cerrado biome was left out from the traceability, which will impact at least 110 Indigenous and traditional communities.'

'This law has made some progress, but there is still much to do. All biomes must be included in this law to ensure that Indigenous human rights are being taken seriously.'

'A great deal of work' to do

Answering questions during the briefing, David Ainsworth noted that there are currently hundreds of outstanding points of disagreement, or brackets, to be resolved in the draft agreement for COP15.

He estimated that there are somewhere between 1800 and 900 brackets, but noted that some agenda items have been resolved and could be formally agreed before the end of the meeting to save time.

Though there may be gaps in some areas, targets relating to access to green space, traditional knowledge sharing and equitable decision making in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) appear to have been agreed. A decision on whether it is approved, however, will have to wait until the end of the meeting.

'Targets 12, 20 and 21 have no brackets,' David says. 'For those targets, it appears that the governments have reached a consensus, but the GBF must be agreed as a whole. "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", is the phrase we like to use.'

'Many hours' needed for biodiversity target discussions

Today's press briefing is currently being held at COP15, where an update has been made on the state of discussions at this early stage of the conference.

David Ainsworth, the Head of Communications at the Convention on Biological Diversity's Secretariat, has said that negotiations over the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework are still continuing adding:

'Many hours will be required to address the Global Biodiversity Framework.'

A group has been set up to continue work on the targets, while other groups have been organised for DSI and capacity building, among others.

Is COP27 linked to COP15?

COP27 was a climate change conference, and despite a similar name is not related to COP15. Image © UNclimatechange, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr

COP27 took place last month in Egypt, and you may be wondering why we appear to have gone back numerically.

This is because COP27 is a climate change conference, while COP15 is a biodiversity conference. While COP stands for the same thing in both (Conference of the Parties), they are parties to different treaties.

That said, climate change and biodiversity are linked and do impact on one another - you can find out just how in our new explainer:

How are climate change and biodiversity loss linked?

Today's theme - Youth Day

Just like climate conferences, the days of COP15 are often themed to a particular topic. Today's topic looks at the needs and wants to young people for biodiversity, as the future inheritors of this planet's resources.

The Global Youth Biodiversity Network is a coalition of organisations from all over the world, and represents youth voices at COP15. As part of Youth Day, they have been discussing what they would like to see included in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the set of targets to protect nature that it is hoped will be agreed at this conference.

They have three main priorities:

  • For young people to be allowed to fully participate in biodiversity discussions, and treated the same as other generations.
  • For education on how to protect and restore biodiversity to be prioritised.
  • For approaches to biodiversity that respects nature's rights as well as human rights.

Today's agenda

Expect demonstrations at COP15 to continue as activists advocate for biodiversity protection. Image © UN Biodiversity, licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

In addition to the discussions taking place behind the scenes, there are a variety of events taking place at COP15 today. As Montreal is five hours behind us here in London, the first events aren't scheduled until midday GMT. While some are behind closed doors, here are the public events to keep an eye on:

  • The Press Briefing - a staple of every day of the conference, this will give us an update of how negotiations are progressing towards new agreements on biodiversity.
  • Digital Sequence Information - DSI is a thorny issue at COP15, and relates to how the information relating to DNA sequences and cell biochemistry are regulated. There's no formal definition of what it covers yet, and this is problematic as it means that the benefits from it aren't shared with the country of origin. It's a tough nut to crack, but this meeting will provide an overview of how things are going. 
  • 30x30 - The National Geographic Society is hosting a panel discussing the 30x30 pledge, and what might come out of negotiations about it. 
  • Just transitions - Indigneous, women and youth activists will be making the case for why a greener world should also be a fairer world, and how new targets on biodiversity can help ensure this. 

What is 30x30?

One pledge that has been gaining ground in recent years is the 30x30 pledge. This pledges nations to protect 30% of their land and sea by the year 2030.

The pledge has its roots in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, a group of biodiversity aims signed up to by nearly every country in the world which pledged them to protect 10% of the ocean by 2020. While this target was achieved, researchers found that this wouldn't be enough to protect the wealth of marine life.

Instead, a target of 30% was suggested, which was championed by a group of countries, led by the UK, known as the Global Ocean Alliance. A similar pledge for land was subsequently adopted by the UK, with other countries also signing up.

As of November 7, 112 countries had signed up to the pledge, including nations from every continent except Antarctica. There are hopes more countries will sign up during COP15.

While the pledge is broadly welcomed, concerns have been raised by conservation organisations over how protected the areas will be. The British Ecological Society, for instance, warned earlier this year that the UK is not effectively protecting enough habitats to meet the goal.

Indigeneous groups have also asked to be more involved with the planning and protection of sites as part of the 30x30 pledge.

Morning briefing

While the climate summit is being chaired by China, the location of COP15 is in Montreal, Canada. As such, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been at the heart of some of the main stories from the opening days of the conference.

After being heckled by Indigenous activists during his speech on the opening day, Trudeau announced $800 million in funding for Indigenous-led conservation projects yesterday. 

CBC reports that the projects will take place in Ontario, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia, covering wetland and aquatic habitats across one million square miles of country.

These projects will contribute towards the 30x30 initiative, where countries have pledged to protect 30% of its land and sea area by 2030.

The UK's Environment Secretary has said that getting more countries to sign up to this goal is part of the UK's main aims from the COP15 conference. 

Thursday 8 December

Good morning, it's James Ashworth here reporting on the major events of COP15 as they happen.

It's the second full day of the conference today, with discussions of human rights, protected areas and nature-based solutions on the agenda.

The Museum brings Econario to the COP15 conference

A 5.3-metre tall moving artwork of a robotic plant, called Econario, will provide a daily biodiversity forecast each day at COP15. 

Created by ecological artist Thijs Biersteker, the artwork uses biodiversity data from the Museum's Biodiversity Intactness Index to either grow or wilt, depending on whether a country is doing enough to tackle the biodiversity crisis. 

Whilst at COP15, the artwork will respond to to decisions taken at the summit, acting as a 'biodiversity thermometre'.

The Museum's scientists and policy experts will be advocating for the better use of biodiversity data and metrics at the conference, in order to allow for the proper tracking of key commitments that countries will hopefully agree to. 

COP15 targets

At COP15, it is hoped that the nations of the world will sign up to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

These are a set of targets to protect restore nature that replace the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which ran between 2010 and 2020 and were largely missed.

Recent proposals for the targets suggest they are split into four goals for 2050, with progress towards these judged based on milestones achieved by 2030.

These goals are:

  • A: Enhance the integrity of all ecosystems, with an increase of at least 15 per cent in the area, connectivity and integrity of natural ecosystems. The rate of extinction should be slashed to at least a tenth of its current level, while 90% of genetic diversity should be maintained.
  • B: Nature’s contributions to people are valued, maintained or enhanced through conservation and sustainable use.
  • C: The benefits of using genetic resources are shared fairly and equitably, with more monetary and non-monetary benefits shared with nations, Indigenous Peoples and local communities. This should help to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.
  • D: The gap between the available funding and methods available to implement the protection of biodiversity and what is actually available, is closed.

There are also 21 targets for 2030, which include restoring at least 20% of degraded ecosystems, reducing levels of pollution to below harmful levels, and reducing waste by at least half.

UK government urges countries to agree a deal for nature

The UK government is calling on countries around the to unite for COP15 and agree on a deal that not only stops biodiversity loss, but reverses it. 
Among other actions, the UK has said that it will negotiate to protect 30% of the world's land and ocean by 2030, halt species extinctions, eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies, 'increase mobilisation' of resources to fund the global fight against biodiversity loss and work to create ways in which to hold countries to account. 
The UK Environment Secretary Therese Coffey will be hosting an event at the Museum with scientists and environmentalists. 
She is expected to say, 'After two years of intensive global effort towards making ambitious environment targets, it is vital that the world agrees to tackle together the decline in nature and habitats and set out a road to recovery.'

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau interrputed by protesters

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was interrupted during his speech at the opening of COP15 by Indigenous protesters, who walked through the conference banging drums and chanting.

The protesters unfurled a banner reading 'Indigenous genocide= ecocide. To save biodiversity, stop invading our lands' as Trudeau tried to address the delegates. 

One of the biggest targets hoped to be struck at the conference is the goal of protecting 30% of Earth by 2030, but this has come up against Indigenous groups around the world who fear it puts their way of life at risk.

With much of the healthiest tracts of nature still in the hands of Indigenous people, they are concerned that they will be evicted from their lands in the name of conservation, despite the evidence showing that Indigenous groups are effective protectors of biodiversity. 

What is COP15?

For those who might not know what COP15 is, why it is important, and what is hoped to be achieved, we've got a handy explainer for you:

COP15 explained: What is the biodiversity conference and why is it important?


COP15 is opened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The COP15 biodiversity conference has started in Montreal, Canada. 

The meeting opened with a speech by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who warned the listening delegates that 'there is no Planet B'. 

'We are out of harmony with nature,' said Guterres. 'In fact, we are playing an entirely different song. Around the world, for hundreds of years, we have conducted a cacophony of chaos, played with instruments of destruction. Deforestation and desertification are creating wastelands of once-thriving ecosystems.'

'Our land, water and air are poisoned by chemicals and pesticides, and choked with plastics … The most important lesson we impart to children is to take responsibility for their actions. What example are we setting when we ourselves are failing this basic test?'

'The deluded dreams of billionaires aside, there is no Planet B.'

The delegates were also addressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who laid out what he sees as the ultimate goal for the conference: to agree to a target to protect 30% of the natural world by 2030. 

Known as '30x30' the scheme already has the backing of around 100 countries, inlcuding the UK and Costa Rica, although it is still viewed as controversial and potentially damaging by many Indigenous groups who fear it could result in yet more land grabs. 

COP15 Live Blog

Welcome to the Museum's live coverage of the COP15 biodiversity conference!

Over the next two weeks we will be covering the ins and outs of the biodiversity conference that has just kicked off in Montreal, Canada. 

Follow along to keep up to date with what is being said and any potential deals struck as politicians, scientists and policymakers meet to discuss what needs to be done to protect, preserve and restore nature, with expert comment and insights from Museum scientists. 

There are no posts to display

Back to top