Biodiversity beyond 2020: Achieving global biodiversity targets through national targets
Published: Nov 17, 2020 06:53 PM

Black-faced spoonbills rest at the Minjiang River estuary wetlands in Fuzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province, April 7, 2020. (Xinhua/Mei Yongcun)

In May 2021, the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held in Kunming, Yunnan Province. Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (hereinafter referred to as Post-2020 Framework) will be adopted in COP15 and will set the global biodiversity conservation blueprint for the next decade. Therefore, the international community regards COP15 as a historic opportunity to address the challenge of global biodiversity loss.

Looking back at the global biodiversity conservation process, neither the 2010 targets adopted at COP6 nor the 2020 targets adopted at COP10 were achieved at global level, and the core reason lies in implementation. Due to differences in the economy, geography, culture, and political will of the Parties of the CBD, the global biodiversity targets have not been integrated into the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP) comprehensively. Biodiversity conservation involves different departments and sectors such as environment, agriculture, forestry, ocean, etc., and cross-sectoral governance mechanisms are often complicated and inefficient, resulting in restrictions on work and progress of biodiversity conservation. Due to gaps among Parties' capacities of implementation, monitoring and assessment, along with the lack of comparability of national reports of different Parties, it is difficult to make guidance for future global actions. In order to promote the global process of the CBD and achieve a transformative change, on the one hand, with the top-down approach, the Post-2020 Framework should set ambitious, balanced and pragmatic global biodiversity conservation targets based on scientific data and evaluations. On the other hand, with the bottom-up approach, Parties should formulate and update their national NBSAPs to make the national targets consistent with the global targets and form a truly global coordinated action.

Since the release of the China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategies and Action Plans (2011-2030), a series of policies and measures have been adopted such as improving laws, regulations and institutional mechanisms, strengthening in-situ and ex-situ conservation, promoting public participation, and deepening international cooperation. China has achieved remarkable achievements in biodiversity conservation and made important contributions to realize global biodiversity conservation targets and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and promote international development cooperation. Among 30 priority actions set in China's NBSAP, 20 actions have made great progress, including action 1 (policy formulation), 2 (improving laws), 4 (incorporated into planning) and 5 (sustainable utilization), through impetus of which, China has made major progress towards 17 Aichi Targets and achieved some of them ahead of schedule, way beyond the implementation of the global average (According to recently released Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, only 6 Aichi Targets have been partially achieved on the global level). China's above efforts have also laid a solid ground for implementing 10 SDGs including goal 6 (water and sanitation), 12 (sustainable consumption and production), 13 (climate change) and 15 (protection of terrestrial ecosystems). 

Standing at this important juncture of 2020, China will hold to ecological civilization, and adhere to the path of ecological priority and green development. China will continue to improve the policies and regulations of biodiversity conservation, establish a protected area system and the system of ecological redline that cover both land and sea, and strictly control the development and utilization of important ecological spaces and biological resources. Conservation and restoration of ecosystems will be incorporated into the national mid- and long-term development plan. Updates of China's NBSAP are also in process. Through all these efforts guided by the philosophy of Ecological civilization, China will provide strong support to the realization of global biodiversity targets and SDGs.

The author is director of the Center of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity the Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment