What birds inform us about constructing a brand new international framework for nature

The rich data from birds show that we did not achieve most of the biodiversity goals in Aichi – namely the overarching mission to stop biodiversity loss by 2020 – but also positive examples and success stories with encouraging trends in certain locations for subgroups of species, or for certain aspects. These results are highlighted in BirdLife's new report, Birds and Biodiversity Targets, and provide valuable insights for the next commitments to conserve biodiversity: the goals, targets and implementation of the global framework for biodiversity after 2020, which is part of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity is being negotiated. Here we summarize the main implications.

1. The new framework requires a clear, communicable and overarching goal that is comparable to the goal of the Paris Agreement of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 ° C. The 2020 document was lengthy, lacked the clarity needed to draw political attention, and was not ambitious enough. The stakes are much higher now, and only through changes in society can we achieve the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature. It must be clear to the new mission that we must not only stop biodiversity loss but restore it by 2030 to ensure full restoration by 2050.

2. There must be a clear “theory of change” that shows a way to achieve this mission and distinguishes result-oriented goals that should correspond to the three overarching goals of the Convention (conservation, sustainable use and fair sharing of the genetic benefits of biodiversity) and the three levels of biodiversity (ecosystem, species and genetics) – from action-oriented goals and a number of prerequisites.

3. Ultimately, the plan must prevent extinction, restore the abundance and diversity of life, and maintain and restore the integrity of the ecosystem with KBAs at its core so that all humans and nature can flourish.

4th New goals not only have to be more ambitious in certain areas, but also essentially “SMART” – specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic and time-bound – so that the necessary measures are clear and progress can be tracked.

Goals are important, but implementation is key

While our report shows that having ambitious, focused “SMART” goals is critical, the biggest failure of the current Biodiversity Plan has not been the goals themselves, but the lack of implementation. The following conditions must be met if we are to hope to reverse biodiversity loss:

Monitoring, reporting and review

1. An improved and transparent means of planning, monitoring, reporting and reviewing is needed to ensure the full framework is in place.

2. Global goals and indicators have to be translated into measurable and binding national equivalents so that we can add and track the contributions of individual countries to common goals.

Appropriate implementation strategies

3. Clear implementation strategies are essential to determine the path to achieving individual goals and to identify actors, measures, milestones and resources that are supported by capacity development and funding.

Finance and Financing

4th The underlying core data sets on biodiversity, such as those in the most important areas of biodiversity and the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species, as well as the monitoring programs on which they are based, e.g. for threatened and common species, require a specific budget and a spatially explicit one national conservation and development strategies as a guide for planning and implementation by governments and businesses.

5. In a broader sense, governments and the private sector need to incorporate the true value of nature into economic systems and redirect financial flows from activities that harm biodiversity to those who protect, restore and sustainably manage them, eliminate harmful subsidies, value natural capital and investing in nature -based solutions.

A framework for everyone

6th Biodiversity must be “integrated” more effectively into society. The post-2020 global biodiversity framework is intended to be a “framework for society as a whole” (governments, businesses and citizens, including women, youth and indigenous peoples as well as local communities) and a “whole-of-government” approach, including at the local level. Both intergenerational and intergenerational equity are required to ensure that decision making and implementation are inclusive and effective.

The delegates of the CMS COP 13 welcome the signing of the Gandhinagar Declaration © Franz Dejon / IISD

Nature for climate and development

7th During the development within the framework of the CBD, the new framework is envisaged as a UN-wide plan and must change the appreciation of nature and develop its full potential to underpin the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015 with 2030 as important Milestone.

8th. The new framework should oblige the parties to include nature-based solutions to climate change that protect and restore biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems in both national strategies and action plans for biodiversity (NBSAP) and nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to comply with the Paris Agreement. Where appropriate, goals and indicators should replicate or build on the goals used for the SDGs. Implementation of the new framework must be at the heart of the upcoming UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration and the UN Decade of Action on the SDGs.

International cooperation

9. Synergies between the Global Biodiversity Framework post 2020 and other global policy processes are essential as biodiversity loss, climate change, land and sea degradation, human rights degradation and unsustainable development are inseparable challenges posed by interdependent drivers are caused. Parties and others must therefore work together to improve the profile, relevance and integration of the framework in such processes as e.g.

In the “Gandhinagar Declaration” of the Convention on Migratory Species, which emphasized the importance of international cooperation in the post-2020 framework to ensure that conservation and development take place across national borders or along entire trajectories, taking into account ecological connectivity.

International coordination for the conservation of biodiversity on the high seas (areas outside national jurisdiction, covering almost 50% of the planet and 70% of the oceans), including through a new UN treaty currently being negotiated.

As this report shows, individual achievements show that we have the knowledge and tools to turn things around, but transformative change through stronger and sustained political engagement and coordinated action in society are urgently needed to keep biodiversity from being we depend on it to protect and restore. We are at a crucial moment in human history. The United Nations Secretary-General recently warned that "the years ahead will be an important time to save the planet and achieve sustainable, inclusive human development". An ambitious, effective global framework for biodiversity after 2020 is imperative to ensure that we change our relationship with nature for the benefit of all people and the planet in the coming decade.

Download the full report here to read our specific recommendations for each focus area.

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