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Delegates from 196 nations in the early hours of Monday reached agreement on a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, though observers were quick to stress that strong national implementation will be crucial to make up for some weaknesses in the text.
Backed by philanthropical funders, the 116 nations in the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC) are restructuring the group’s governance system to better equip it to help nations implement the Kunming-Montreal Agreement on biodiversity.
The US and Australia have signed an agreement at COP15 in Montreal, agreeing to work together to better measure the economic value of nature.
A handful of thorny issues remain unresolved as delegates at COP15 prepare for the final two days of negotiations in Montreal, even as a steady drip of new funding announcements over the past couple of days have intended to brighten the mood of the talks.
UK-based Social Carbon Foundation has launched a new methodology to award carbon credits to conservation projects located in areas of biodiversity importance.
Projects in the nascent voluntary biodiversity credit (VBC) market are already piloting different approaches to measuring biodiversity improvements ahead of larger standards that could emerge as early as next year.
The Philippines has partnered with the One Planet Initiative to consider the possibility of establishing a biodiversity credit market, as the government is looking at ways to attract more investments to help battle the challenges of climate change and nature loss.
The need to incentivise demand to invest in biodiversity as a tradeable commodity versus the value of high-quality, diverse ecosystem supply in the evolving biodiversity credit market architecture is creating challenges for market proponents.
Gabon and Mongolia have allied with conservation collaboration initiative Enduring Earth to protect large areas of land, oceans, and freshwater resources as part of their commitments to meet the 30×30 global natural protection target that is being negotiated at COP15 in Montreal.
Spain-headquartered fashion group Inditex, which owns clothing brands such as Zara, has committed to at least €10 million in funding to a number of WWF biodiversity and ecosystem restoration projects over the next three years.
EU ministers call for dedicated financing and consideration of national context in future biodiversity law
EU environment ministers welcomed nature restoration proposals from the European Commission during a preliminary discussion on Tuesday, but several major economies in the bloc expressed concern over the finances needed and that national contexts be fully taken into account.
The Australian government will develop regional plans to help protect, restore, and manage the environment, starting with four areas in New South Wales, however green groups have warned its plan could lead to unintended consequences and perverse outcomes.
EU Member States are obligated to spend at least 37% of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF, totalling €750 billion in 2018 prices) launched to recover from the Covid pandemic on climate-related issues, but are only devoting a small part of their budgets to nature, a report has found.
There is a risk that references to nature positive goals will become a tactic used to distract consumers and the public from a continued failure to manage development impacts on biodiversity. This risk must not be overlooked as implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework begins, write a group of biodiversity and conservation experts.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Out of the woods – Australia has made the burning of native forest wood ineligible under its Renewable Energy Target (RET). Native forest biomass has been considered a renewable energy source and been eligible to generate Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) that power companies can buy to meet their individual RET targets. However, stakeholders have raised concerns that the arrangement could have negative effects for Australia’s native forests, and the government decided to end the eligibility despite limited uptake of woody biomass in the LGC market.
Sportsmanship – More than 20 sports organisations have signed up to the new Sports for Nature Framework, initiated by IUCN, UNEP, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Under the framework, signatories commit to protect and avoid damage to important species and habitats, restore key ecosystems, create sustainable supply chains, and educate and inspire the wider sports community to take action for nature, IUCN said in an announcement. Signatories included the Organising Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics, the Spanish and PNG national Olympic committees, the International Cycling Union, World Rowing, and the International Orienteering Federation.
Fresh start – Biofund, Mozambique’s biodiversity conservation foundation, has approved a budget of $16 mln for 2023 to support biodiversity protection projects across the country, according to Club of Mozambique. The company plans to support private and public areas as well as some community areas, it said. Among the activities on the list are the relocation of 200 large animals to the Gile National Park and setting up a research centre on Mount Mabu in the northern part of the country.
First steps – The Canadian federal and Northwest Territories governments have signed a letter of intent with the Deline Indigenous people to support the establishment of the Sahtu K’aowe Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area around the Great Bear Lake, according to environment and Climate Change Canada. At 31,000 sq.km the lake is the eighth largest in the world, and makes up 0.3% of Canada’s land mass. The move is the latest of a series of initiatives from the Canadian government to increase areas under protection across the country.
Yukon – Canada also announced a commitment of C$20.6 mln ($15.2 mln) to a new Canada-Yukon Nature Agreement, which will advance nature conservation and protection across the territory. The funds will seek to support Indigenous leadership in conservation, increase the protection of sensitive habitats, and take action to recover species at risk, including the northern mountain caribou, the grizzly bear, and vascular plants, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Bilateral – During COP15, Canada also signed a bilateral agreement with Ukraine to increase cooperation on climate action, environmental protection, and nature conservation. The two nations will work together on a wide range of issues, including on conserving biodiversity and nature, protecting wildlife habitat and marine environment, and reducing pollution and waste.
Benefitting farmers – Intensive and extensive farming are one of the key culprits of Europe’s declining biodiversity. To address this problem and progress towards sustainable agricultural production, many EU Member States have included farmed lands in their conservation efforts. This benefits farmland biodiversity, which is known to provide important ecosystem services. But how do these services affect farmers? The SHOWCASE project has now published a policy brief that sheds light on the situation and offers some policy recommendations, reports phys.org.
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