United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15)

The biodiversity conference occurs every two years and took place last month in Montreal, Canada. Within this summit an extremely important discussion surrounding a potential international biodiversity framework was the centre of goals and targets regarding biodiversity. The importance of thriving biodiversity and the significance of the biodiversity crisis has been summarised succinctly here: 

“Nature is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Adoption of a bold global biodiversity framework that addresses the key drivers of nature loss is needed to secure our own health and well-being alongside that of the planet”

United Nations Environment Program

Within this post, we will review some of the positive outcomes of the conference and outline what these mean for the biodiversity crisis.  

Positive outcomes from the conference: 

  • Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework 

One of the biggest outcomes from the conference was the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This is an international commitment that has been adopted by 196 countries, the framework lists four long term biodiversity orientated goals for 2050 and 23 action orientated global targets that aim to be addressed by 2030.  

The importance of the creation, implementation and adoption of this framework is very high as it provides goals, targets, resources, information, and connections for countries on a global scale. Frameworks provide tools and structures to enable change more rapidly, which is exactly what the world needs if we are going to be able to reverse the most extreme biodiversity loss that we are currently facing. As highlighted in the opening paragraph, biodiversity loss is an international problem that requires an international solution, and this framework is an important starting block for change.  

  • Nature Positive Universities Alliance 

Oxford University and the United Nations Environment Program announced the launch of the Nature Positive Universities Alliance. The alliance is:  

“A global network of universities that have made an official pledge to advance efforts to halt, prevent and reverse nature loss through addressing their own impacts and restoring ecosystems harmed by their activities”

Oxford News

The alliance aims to bring together universities across a global platform and encourage them to prioritise nature on university campuses.  At the time of writing, 522 universities from 11 countries have made a Nature Positive Pledge, and 118 Student Ambassadors have signed up to take action on their campuses. 

Making a Nature Positive Pledge requires institutions to commit to four key stages: assessing a baseline, setting SMART targets, taking action, and annual, transparent reporting on progress. 

We are thrilled to announce that Newcastle University was one of the founding signatories of the pledge announced in Montreal at the Biodiversity Conference. 

For more information on the Nature Positive Universities Alliance, visit their webpage

  • Announced support for the Indigenous community: 

Within talks regarding the Global Biodiversity Framework were prominent discussions regarding the need to provide support and positive recognition towards indigenous communities when discussing biodiversity. 

Indigenous peoples and their communities have been highlighted as crucial defenders of biodiversity and should be protected alongside their land. This is highlighted by the Guardian as “Several scientific studies have shown that Indigenous peoples are the best stewards of nature, representing 5% of humanity but protecting 80% of Earth’s biodiversity”.  

Talks regarding the need for support of Indigenous peoples and local communities proved to be successful as target 3 in the Global Biodiversity Framework specifically outlines rights, territories and contributions by Indigenous Peoples and local communities to deter from land grabbing, this has been celebrated by the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB).  

It is worth noting:  

While these three positive outcomes from the biodiversity conference are a very positive step in the right direction for biodiversity protection, it is also worth recognising some elements that can be improved on within the framework and in future conferences.  

  • Lack of focus on oceans in the Global Biodiversity Framework 
  • There are no measurable elements to the Global Biodiversity Framework so how do we measure and track progress? 
  • Conservation of land must include restoration otherwise wildlife will not be getting the help it needs (BBC News).  


Multiple positive decisions, agreements and frameworks arose from the biodiversity conference in December This includes the creation of a Global Biodiversity Framework, Nature Positive Universities Alliance announcement and the outlined support for the indigenous community within a specific target in the Global Biodiversity Framework. While these are all very positive outcomes, there is a lot more work to be done to turn the tide on the biodiversity crisis. 

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