Current human-induced biodiversity loss is unprecedented, driving the world’s sixth mass extinction whereby three-quarters of animal and plant species could disappear in just a few centuries. This contributes to a feedback cycle worsening climate change by stripping the planet of carbon stores provided by trees and other vegetation. Furthermore, $44 trillion of economic value generation – over half the world’s total GDP – is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services. There is an urgent need for global action to find solutions to heal our broken relationship with the natural environment and align the global economy within planetary boundaries.
Governments, financial institutions, businesses, and other stakeholders from more than 190 countries met in Montreal, Canada for the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to evaluate the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and to continue and expand on efforts to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, aiming to build a better future in harmony with nature.
New Framework to address the dangerous loss of biodiversity
COP15 negotiations ended in agreement and adoption of the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF), in a moment some have referred to as the “Paris Agreement for Nature.” The new Global Biodiversity Framework includes four long-term goals and 23 targets for achievement by 2030. These global targets for 2030 align with the Good Food Finance Network’s goal to drive multi-stakeholder action to catalyze both public and private capital for a more sustainable food system. For example:
- GFFN is working to generate equitable food systems that sustain the health of people, nature, and whole economies. Target 11 reinforces this work, as it states “Restore, maintain and enhance nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services, (…) through nature-based solutions and/or ecosystem-based approaches for the benefit of all people and nature.”
- Target 15 enables businesses to assess the environmental, social and economic impacts of biodiversity-related investments, stating “Regularly monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity, including with requirements for all large as well as transnational companies and financial institutions along their operations, supply and value chains, and portfolios.” Members of GFFN’s High-Ambition Group have recently set targets focused on environmental and social impact areas, including land use change (deforestation) and reduction of negative impacts on biodiversity.
- The GFFN Public Finance Group is working to refine and standardize messages on the true cost of fiscal policies, public expenditure and development plans. This working group aims to use their findings to influence finance ministers to support policy changes that better align with preserving biodiversity, enhancing nutrition, fostering long-term economic growth and improving country-specific fiscal positions. Target 18 of the 2030 global targets aligns with this work, “Identify by 2025, and eliminate, phase out or reform incentives, including subsidies, harmful for biodiversity, in a proportionate, just, fair, effective and equitable way (…) and scale up positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.”
- Target 19 is also particularly relevant, as it calls to “substantially and progressively increase the level of financial resources from all sources, in an effective, timely and easily accessible manner, including domestic, international, public and private resources (…) encouraging the private sector to invest in biodiversity (…) stimulating innovative schemes such as payment for ecosystem services, green bonds, biodiversity offsets and credits, benefit-sharing mechanisms, with environmental and social safeguards (…)”. Similarly, the GFFN’s Co-Investment Platform for food systems transformation aims to work across multilateral, public, private and philanthropic finance, to urgently crowd in and scale climate-smart investments into food systems.
- Target 21 “Ensure that the best available data, information and knowledge, are accessible to decision makers, practitioners and the public (…)”. The GFFN’s Data Systems Group is working to identify strategies for multimensional data systems integration, to allow better measurement and tracking of interactions between food systems, financial activity, and priorities such as biodiversity, ecosystems, and climate resilience. A Discussion Draft of the GFFN’s Blueprint for Data Systems Integration was released in November 2022, during the COP27 climate negotiations, and will be refined throughout 2023, on the way to COP28.
Next steps: Implementation is key
The new global biodiversity framework outlines an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to “halt and reverse” the loss of biodiversity by 2030. This is a step in the right direction, however, previous goals set in 2002 to significantly reduce biodiversity loss by 2010, likewise set targets to combat biodiversity loss at COP10 in 2010, known as Aichi Biodiversity Targets, were never met. There is a big gap and deficit in implementation.
Action to restore and protect nature will be vital for the future security and sustainability of food systems and agricultural livelihood. Nature loss leads to degradation of ecosystems, of pollinator populations and of other ecosystem services that support food production. Loss of biomass in land-based and marine ecosystems degrades nature’s ability to sink carbon and slow climate-related disruption, which undermines the productivity of agricultural lands. Less biodiverse food-growing regions and croplands are also more vulnerable to shock events—including climate impacts and crop-pests.
Investments that support ecosystem recovery, halt mass extinction, and safeguards biodiversity also optimize costs and risks across food systems. The closer we are to achieving the 23 targets and four goals of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the less nature-sensitive harm and cost we will see propagate through food systems, engaging with nature-positive approaches that can help build competitive advantage in this emerging economic landscape.
The success of this new global biodiversity framework will require very well-defined implementation and monitoring mechanisms including country-specific targets. All countries must step up ambitions and actions to deliver a comprehensive and science-based framework that can reverse nature loss by 2030, and they should be held accountable for any 2030 commitments. More importantly, there is a need for parties to support the alignment of financial flows with the goals and targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework. Governments need to start working on policy and regulatory measures to create an enabling environment and stimulate the finance sector to start reversing biodiversity loss. The Good Food Finance Network is working to initiate and scale-up necessary solutions and pathways for action in the food and finance sector.