EU environment ministers on new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and pollinator protection
On the second day of the informal meeting of EU environment and climate change ministers in Slovenia, discussions addressed the new proposal of global targets for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The ministers also discussed the challenges of jointly strengthening pollinator protection and setting up an EU-wide pollinator monitoring framework.
Minister Vizjak, who chaired the meeting, stressed that Slovenia as a country with a rich natural environment and the largest proportion of territory included in Natura 2000 of all EU member states is working to keep biodiversity high on the global agenda, with the support of the European Commission and other EU member states. In this regard, Minister Vizjak stressed: "We look forward to continuing our work in the Council, with the European Parliament and the Commission, as well as at the international level. It is time to reverse the downward trend in biodiversity and contribute to nature conservation with ambitious global targets, to protect 30% of the world's land and oceans and to restore degraded ecosystems by 2030."
The first draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, published on 12 July 2021, sets out an ambitious approach that is needed to radically transform the way governments, economic sectors and society as a whole act to halt biodiversity loss. The vision by 2050 – to live in harmony with nature – will be achieved through 4 long-term goals and 21 targets and milestones for 2030. The framework proposes to effectively conserve 30% of land areas and of sea areas globally, manage invasive alien species and considerably reduce pollution. It is important that ecosystem-based solutions contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. All incentives that are harmful for biodiversity must be significantly reduced and redirected, and investment in the protection of biodiversity must be increased at all levels.
At the press conference, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius expressed his satisfaction that the Slovenian Presidency had identified biodiversity and pollinators as a priority topic. He said that the decline in biodiversity calls for urgent action and that everyone is working together to develop a sound framework to be discussed at the Conference of the Parties (COP15).
The EU is working towards an ambitious new proposal for global biodiversity targets for 2030 and 2050, i.e. a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. With the support of the Trio Presidency partners, Portugal and Germany, and the European Commission, the Slovenian Presidency will take all necessary steps to achieve the EU's interests in these negotiations. In line with the global biodiversity framework's vision of living in harmony with nature, the Presidency will strive to ensure that by 2050 biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored, resilient and, through sustainable use, provides ecosystem services for everyone.
At the informal meeting, environment ministers agreed that the first draft of the new global framework provides a good basis for concluding the negotiations. In addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis, it will be necessary to look for synergies. Integrating biodiversity protection into other government policies, economic sectors, including financial, and society as a whole will be of great importance. In relation to funding for biodiversity, the ministers stressed the need to mobilise more resources for biodiversity in developed and developing countries. In line with the European Green Deal, the EU and its member states are ready to lead by example, both by advocating ambitious targets and by stepping up implementation at national and EU levels.
Negotiations on the new global targets will start on 23 August 2021 and will continue until the expected adoption of a global framework at the conclusion of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15 phase 2) in spring 2022.
COP15 is a key milestone in the effort to raise global ambitions to jointly address the climate, biodiversity and health crises. Some of the causes of and solutions to all three crises are interlinked and require a concerted search for common nature-based solutions to achieve also the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.
As the initiator of World Bee Day, Slovenia is paying considerable attention to the conservation of pollinators, including wild pollinators. Environment ministers are concerned about the decline of wild pollinators and the implications this has for biodiversity and pollination ecosystem services that benefit the society. During the discussion, the ministers showed a willingness to enhance protection for pollinators, including the strengthening of wild pollinator monitoring and actions to improve pollinator habitats and raise awareness among key sectors and society of the importance of active protection.
In closing Minister Vizjak thanked the Trio Presidency partners, Germany and Portugal, for all their efforts and achievements, and for all their support in the future work of the Slovenian Presidency.