Photo: @CBD_COP15 via Twitter
Photo: @CBD_COP15 via Twitter

COP15 Montreal: ‘Coalition for Nature’ formed by Small Island Developing States

The goal of the coalition is to advocate for agreed common SIDS priorities and needs such as greater means of implementing biodiversity objectives

A number of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have agreed to form a ‘Coalition for Nature’ for the implementation and adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

The coalition is being led by Cabo Verde, Samoa and Seychelles. The organisers of the event made a call to action for “enhancing means of implementing ambitious objectives for nature in SIDS under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).”

The goal of the coalition is to advocate for agreed common SIDS priorities and needs such as greater means of implementing biodiversity objectives in these places by putting up a unified front. 

SIDS host 19 per cent of the world’s coral reefs and their geographic isolation safeguards an array of endemic plants and animals found nowhere else on earth, noted Amina J Mohammed, United Nations deputy secretary-general.

The island states are responsible for an ocean area 28 times the size of their land mass, Joseph Appiott, CBD secretariat, said.

Belize, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Guinea Bissau, Kiribati, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are the current members of the coalition with Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom as Friends of the SIDS Coalition. 

“Nature is the lifeline of our socioeconomic development,” said Gilberto Silva, minister of agriculture and environment, Cabo Verde. But small land mass, small population, geographic isolation, limited resource base, and the vulnerability of low-lying areas puts small island states at a disproportionate risk to external shocks, as illustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, he added. 

The purpose of the SIDS Coalition is to underline how SIDS are home to a large portion of the world’s biodiversity and show that they have been using nature-based solutions and leading the world by example. It will also highlight how enhancing the means of implementation of SIDS will be strategic to save the planet. 

The SIDS Coalition called for “a capacity development plan for SIDS to support the implementation of the global biodiversity framework (GBF)”. This will be a strategic vehicle to catalyse technical and financial support for SIDS’ national implementation of GBF.

Júlio César Freire De Morais, permanent representative of Cabo Verde to UN, presented the call to action to enhance means of implementing ambitious objectives for nature in SIDS. 

He called for increasing SIDS’ access to concessional finance and finance solutions for biodiversity conservation such as:

Supporting blended and innovative finance mechanisms, solutions and associated policy frameworks to incentivize and de-risk investment

Supporting SIDS’ technical cooperation, technological transfer and data management capacities by enhancing national capacities for creating science-policy interfaces. These would have a focus on national environmental accounting systems, valuation tools for ecosystem services and usability / accessibility of existing data banks

Accelerating biodiversity mainstreaming across sectors and synergies across the three Rio Conventions.

The SIDS Coalition will be supported by the Friends of the Coalition in the form of ‘voice of support’, implementation of the SIDS Call for Action or by contributing to the lean virtual secretariat support for the sustained operation of the Coalition.

The UK committed doubling climate finance through a $500 million Blue Planet Fund to help SIDS develop blue economies. 

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