Print Friendly, PDF & Email

COP15 Montreal: 3 days of ministerial talks on Post-2020 GBF end with limited success

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment and Conservation


Source: DTE

 Direction: The article discusses key areas agreed upon at COP 15, concerns and India’s stance on the GBF.

 Context: Will biodiversity see a ‘Paris moment,’ remains a question, as the COP15 to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada, ended with limited success.


  • At COP 15, the members were supposed to provide political direction and momentum to the final stages of the negotiations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
    • Once agreed unanimously by all 195 countries under the CBD, the GBF will be signed as a worldwide accord to implement concrete measures under 23 set targets by 2030.
    • Targets that are not recognized by one or more nations will be excluded from the Framework.
  • GBF is a new draft of the UN CBD to lead actions worldwide through 2030, to avoid biodiversity loss and preserve the environment.
  • Its suggested goals include lowering pesticide use by at least two-thirds and eliminating the most harmful subsidies, such as those for fisheries and agriculture.
  • The GBF’s 30×30 objective is to safeguard at least 30% of the earth, particularly places of importance – land and water – for biodiversity, by 2030.

Some of the key areas agreed upon at the COP15: 

Conservation, protection and restoration:

  • Delegates committed to protecting 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030, fulfilling the deal’s highest-profile goal, known as 30-by-30.
  • This will prevent species losses and bring them close to zero by 2030.

Money for nature:

  • Signatories aim to ensure $200 billion per year is channelled to conservation initiatives, from public and private sources.
  • Wealthier countries should contribute at least $20 billion of this every year by 2025, and at least $30 billion a year by 2030.

Big companies report impacts on biodiversity:

  • The parties agreed to large companies and financial institutions being subject to requirements to make disclosures regarding their operations, to promote biodiversity, reduce the risks posed by/to businesses and encourage sustainable production.

Harmful subsidies: Countries committed to identifying subsidies that deplete biodiversity by 2025, and then eliminate, phase out or reform them.

Pollution and pesticides:

  • The final language focuses on the risks associated with pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals and will focus on reducing the negative impacts of pollution to levels that are not considered harmful to nature.

Monitoring and reporting progress:

  • All the agreed aims will be supported by methods to monitor progress in the future, in a bid to prevent this agreement from meeting the same fate as the Aichi targets of 2010.
  • National action plans will be set and reviewed, following a similar format used for GHG emissions under U.N-led efforts to curb climate change.


  • The text provides no quantifiable target.
  • On pesticides, the text missed highlighting the reduction target and other forms of pest management.
  • Some observers objected to the lack of a deadline for countries to submit national plans.
  • According to civil society groups, GBF is turning out to be a “Global Biodiversity Fraud” or a “Global Biodiversity Funeral.”

India’s stance on the GBF:

  • The GBF should be framed in terms of science and equity.
  • The notion of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) must also apply to biodiversity.
  • The necessary assistance to vulnerable groups cannot be considered subsidies and may be rationalised.
  • A quantifiable worldwide pesticide reduction target is unnecessary and should be left up to individual governments to determine.
  • Without sufficient scientific evidence, the stated numerical target for coping with the impacts of invasive alien species on native biodiversity is not possible.


  • Nature-based solutions to global warming and other environmental concerns will not be effective until developed countries take decisive action to meet their historical and current responsibilities.
  • Sustainable use and access and benefit sharing are vital to promoting biodiversity, complementing the efforts to conserve, protect and restore.


Insta Links:

UNCCD Conference of Parties (COP 15)


Mains Links:

Q. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India at this conference? (UPSC 2021)


Prelims Links: (UPSC 2020)

With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon Frogmouth, Coppersmith Barbet, Gray Chinned Minivet and White-throated Redstart are

(a) Birds

(b) Primates

(c) Reptiles

(d) Amphibians


Answer: (a)