COP15: What it is and What to expect
The latest Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties (COP) is in Montreal, Canada after a series of postponements following the COVID-19 pandemic. This conference marks the 15th meeting of COP to review the CBD strategy. Running between 6 and 19 December 2022, around 195 countries set out plans for a global biodiversity agreement. Bringing governments and their agencies together with climate scientists and observers' discussions will include knowledge sharing and opportunities for collaboration in addressing the finance needs of biodiversity, setting targets on reducing pollution and unsustainable agriculture as well as exploring health threats including antimicrobial resistance. It will also seek to reach an agreement to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.
Given the many dimensions of anthropogenic (human caused) global change, the most critical, complex and challenging is that of biodiversity loss. For this reason, some have adjudged the COP15 to be vastly more important that COP27. The latter which took place on 20 November in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh high-level had side events, key negotiations, and press conferences, and numerous pavilions showcasing climate action around the world and across different sectors. Discussions from COP27 focused on loss and damage, climate finance, adaptation, net-zero, renewable energy among others. A point worthy of note as a distinction between the two is that COP15 is concerned with biodiversity, whereas COP27 - the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - is concerned with climate change, with a distinct emphasis on keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
What to expect?
Similar to COP27, the COP15 will feature a wide range of summits, forums, fairs, pavilions and side-events. A number of events and activities are being held within the Blue Zone (i.e., Conference security perimeter) and accessible to duly accredited COP observer organizations, and other events and activities are held outside the Blue Zone and accessible to accredited and non-accredited actors and the public in general. However, key events (parallel blue zone events/side-events/off-site events) can be accessed virtually here.
A full-day event on Finance and Biodiversity will be held as part of COP15. This will be a unique opportunity for the global financial community to discuss, share ideas, and communicate on their actions, accomplishments, and pledges relating to the incorporation of biodiversity into financial decision-making. Financial institutions, like businesses, rely heavily on nature's services and resources. Over $44 trillion of the world's GDP, hence global economy, relies on nature. With the rising rate of natural resource depletion, it is evident that the value of financial assets which rely on these services and activities are at risk. At the same time, they play a significant role in encouraging activities that harm the environment, such as deforestation, natural habitat change, or unregulated resource exploitation. It is critical, therefore, that financial institutions favour activities that protect, regenerate, and make sustainable use of the environment. Participants in the finance sector, from policymakers to public and private banks and investors, have a responsibility to assist a shift in financial behaviour that supports the vision of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
The Finance Day is set to feature engagements on:
- Recognizing the importance of biodiversity and natural resources as a pillar of financial stability and the economy
- Mechanisms, instruments, et al., for transforming the policy and regulatory environment to enable a shift in financial flows towards biodiversity and nature.
- Action, commitments, opportunities for aligning financial flows with the post 2020 GBF, the 2050 vision of « living in harmony with nature », and the 2030 milestone targets proposed in the GBF.
- Solutions for scaling-up the financing of activities for biodiversity, social development and equity, nature-based solutions, innovative financial approaches among others.
- Exploring the Climate and Nature Nexus, and opportunities for synergies in financing and ‘net-zero/nature-positive’ pathways.
At the Institute, we will be focusing on key issues derived from the COP that would be useful in terms of honing and aligning the current capacities and capabilities of members with the expectations for banks and bankers to support, protect, regenerate, and make sustainable use of biodiversity and nature.