Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Biodiversity Framework: What happened in Nairobi?

The preparatory meeting on biodiversity ends with little consensus  

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Monday 27 June 2022
Global Biodiversity Framework: What happened in Nairobi? Photo: iStock

The six-day meeting of the open-ended working group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework failed to achieve as much as was expected.

The objective of the meeting was to reach a consensus on the text of the framework, which is to be finalised at the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in December.

The secretariat had hoped that the meeting would resolve as much as 80 per cent of the square brackets introduced in the text at the Geneva meeting earlier this year. The negotiators suggest additions and deletions to the text; these are put in square brackets denoting that there isn’t any consensus of the issue. 


However, the text of only two of the targets could be cleaned. One of the targets (19.2) on strengthening capacity-building and development, along with access to and transfer of technology. The other (12) aims to increase the area of, access to and benefits from green and blue spaces, for human health and well-being in urban areas and other densely populated areas.

The secretariat has not put a number on the per cent of the text resolved. It colour-coded progress representing pending, no progress, some progress and completion of negotiations by no color, red, yellow, and green respectively. The results showed that most of the goals and targets remain in the yellow zone and require work.

Over the six days, the negotiators worked on the text prepared by the CBD secretariat in Geneva in March this year. During the Geneva meeting, a large number of modifications were introduced in the text and the final document was riddled with square brackets and proposed alternative texts.

Read more: Biodiversity framework: Ambitions running amok at negotiations ahead of CoP15

In Nairobi too, opinions of 196 countries, which are party to CBD, differed considerably. Negotiations were dominated by representatives from the European Union, Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Brazil, Columbia, New Zealand, Japan, Philippines and Iran, among others. 

India, with 7-8 per cent of recorded global biodiversity, was not active during the negotiations.

In all, the meeting resulted in a text that still needs work to be ready for the meeting in December. As the CoP15 already has a full agenda, focus will not be only on the framework. It is more prudent to ensure that major kinks in the text are removed before December.

An additional meeting has now been proposed just before the CoP15 in Montreal in December to provide another opportunity for the negotiators to clean the text. However, this is subject to availability of funds.

At Nairobi, the negotiators went through each of the four goals and 23 proposed targets. They also deliberated on the issue of Digital Sequence Information, a separate agenda item related to the framework crucial for ensuring access and benefit sharing (ABS).

Access and benefit sharing, which is the core of CBD, was discussed multiple times. Goal C of the framework deals with the benefits from the use of biodiversity, equitable sharing of genetic resources, and respecting the traditional knowledge and rights of indigenous and local communities.

Additionally, target 13 also is on access and benefit sharing. Consensus cannot be reached due to disagreements over references to: Biological resources; derivatives; environmentally sound uses; sharing benefits from genetic resources “in any form, including digital sequence information”; international ABS instruments and obligations. Among the square brackets is the decision to establish a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism by 2025. 

Read more: Multilateral fund offers $5.33 billion over 4 years to help solve biodiversity woes

Target 9 on management and sustainable use of wild species, was discussed without reaching consensus. Main contentious points include references to: Promoting the development of sustainable biodiversity-based products; sustainable management of landscapes and seascapes; the provision of social, economic and environmental benefits for all people.

Another important issue that saw detailed discussion was target 7 on reducing pollution from all sources to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and human health. Delegates debated on, among others, whether to include light and sound pollution and retain human health with some supporting the One Health approach. 

The post-2020 global biodiversity framework has already been delayed by two years due to the pandemic. The first meeting towards its development was held in Nairobi, Kenya in August 2019. 

The zero draft was discussed at the second meeting convened in February 2020 in Rome, Italy. 

The third meeting was convened in two parts. The first part consisted of virtual negotiations in August 2021 and the second part in person in March 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the CoP15 in December 2022, the world will adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework as a stepping stone towards the 2050 vision of "Living in harmony with nature”. 


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