Wildlife & Biodiversity

Last look: Consensus on Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework draft remains elusive during final pre-COP15 meet

Not enough progress made at 5th Open-ended Working Group on Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Tuesday 06 December 2022

Just before the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is scheduled to begin, the negotiators have come together in an effort to clean up the draft text of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (Post-2020 GBF).

Very little progress has been made during the three-day meeting. The negotiators were tasked to ensure that the draft text of the Post-2020 GBF had as few ‘square brackets’ as possible to ensure that the framework is accepted without much delay during the COP15. ‘Square brackets’ hold details that have not been agreed upon by negotiating countries.

Read more: Can Montreal help communities? Here is what to expect from COP15

The group began with the draft text of the framework, finalised in Nairobi in July, which had around 900 square brackets. In September, the convention’s secretariat got together an informal group to clean the text up. At the plenary meeting of the fifth Open-ended Working Group, negotiators decided that both the informal text and the original text would be considered while finalising the text to be discussed during COP15. 

The negotiators have been divided into contact groups to discuss different goals and targets of the framework. The proceedings of the contact groups are not open to the public and non-profits and indigenous groups can only be observers at these meetings.

During the fifth working group meeting, the texts for targets 20, 21 and 22 were cleaned up. These pertain to “traditional knowledge, awareness, education and research”; “equitable, effective participation in decision-making” and “gender equality”. 

Target 12 on “access to green and blue spaces” was already finalised earlier in the last working group meeting in Nairobi.

A new target on adopting a "One Health" approach was introduced to the text on the first day as well. The text, which is in square brackets, says that this target “would implement biodiversity-inclusive One Health approaches, focusing especially on risk of the emergence and transmission of zoonotic diseases to avoid or reduce risks of health of human, wild or domestic species and ecosystems.”

This addition is important as while the Aichi Biodiversity Target 14 broadly referred to health and well-being, the Post-2020 GBF did not address the issue.

Crucial issues such as sharing of benefits arising out of use of digital sequence information were discussed but no consensus was reached. While the COP15 members will accept text with brackets, things would move faster if the text has as few square brackets as possible.

The Post-2020 GBF will take up the work on three objectives of CBD. 

Read more: COP15 negotiators have their work cut out; here is how

The decision to set down this framework was taken at COP14 in Egypt in 2018 and was supposed to be ready by 2020. But the process was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last three years, the open-ended working group set up to develop this framework met five times.

The text of the Post-2020 GBF, as revised at the final three-day pre-COP meeting, will be contained in the Report of the Working Group, which is likely to be available early on December 6. The formal ceremonial inauguration of the meeting is scheduled for December 6 evening.

This framework will replace the Aichi goals and targets set in 2011 for 2020. These targets have not been met and now need to be updated.

Over 18,000 delegates have congregated in Montreal for the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, including members from financial and business communities. 

Other than the Post-2020 GBF, other issues that will be discussed at COP15 include the implementation of Nagoya Protocol, Cartagena Protocol, marine and coastal biodiversity and synthetic biology. A new framework on invasive alien species is expected as well. 


  1. Ecosystems, species, genetic diversity
  2. Nature's contributions to people
  3. Access and benefit sharing
  4. Means of implementation


  1. Land and sea use planning 
  2. Ecosystem restoration, connectivity, priority ecosystems
  3. Land, seas protection and conservation
  4. Active management of species, genetic diversity
  5. Harvest, trade and use of wild species
  6. Invasive alien species
  7. Pollution
  8. Minimizing the impact of climate change
  9. Sustainable use of biodiversity and benefit sharing
  10. Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, forestry
  11. Regulation of air quality, water quality and quantity, and protection from hazards and extreme events
  12. Access to green and blue spaces
  13. Genetic resources and equitable benefit sharing
  14. Mainstreaming biodiversity
  15. Sustainable production and supply chains
  16. Unsustainable consumption
  17. Impacts of biotechnology
  18. Harmful incentives / subsidies
  19. Financial resources, capacity-building
  20. Traditional knowledge, awareness, education and research
  21. Equitable, effective participation in decision-making
  22. Gender equality 
  23. Adopting a human / animal / ecosystem "One Health" approach (new, proposed)

Read DTE’s full coverage in the run-up to COP15 Montreal.

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