Part 1 of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15) gathered countries to negotiate towards the adoption of a new and transformative global deal to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 (post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework) due in 2022. The hybrid meeting held from 11 to 15 October 2021 was hosted by China from the city of Kunming under the theme “Ecological Civilization - Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”.  

Following the high-level segment attended by several Heads of States, Parties to the CBD adopted the Kunming Declaration to keep the political momentum of the negotiations delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new biodiversity framework would build on progress made with the UN 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

In his video message, Mr Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO and Secretary of the 1972 World Heritage Convention a.i., stressed the significant contribution of the World Heritage Convention to biodiversity conservation and combatting climate change through safeguarding of the world’s biological and cultural diversity. The close linkages between nature and culture were highlighted during the COP 15, including in a statement made by a youth representative from the World Heritage Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces in Yunnan.

A joint statement of the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions (BLG) was delivered during the high-level segment, noting the importance of the eight biodiversity-related conventions, including the World Heritage Convention, in the implementation of the forthcoming Global Biodiversity Framework. The World Heritage Centre and the World Heritage Committee members have actively contributed to the development of the framework.

At the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee in July 2021, also hosted by China, the Committee had adopted the Fuzhou Declaration by which the States Parties recognised that the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems poses a major risk to human survival and development and the protection of the World Heritage sites, stressing the importance of COP 15 to agree on new global targets for nature. The declaration further called for a renewed approach to synergies between cultural and biodiversity-related Conventions and reinforced international solidarity to preserve our shared cultural and natural heritage through fostering a new relationship of human beings with nature.

Parties to the CBD will continue their negotiations with the aim of adopting the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework during Part 2 of the COP 15 in Kunming in China in spring 2022.  

Video message by Mr Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO and Secretary of the 1972 World Heritage Convention a.i.