COP15 has set out a global framework to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, with a strong emphasis on the role of the private sector – but there’s still a huge amount of work to do, writes Orlaith Delargy, KPMG EMA Nature & Biodiversity Lead.

Nature can no longer be taken for granted. That’s the clear message coming from COP 15, the UN Biodiversity Conference held in Montreal, Canada from 7-19 December 2022.

As governments from around the world met to agree on a new set of global goals and targets to halt and reverse nature loss, the interdependence of climate and biodiversity was a recurring theme.

One of the key outcomes was an agreement to protect 30% of nature on Earth by 2030 – a commitment praised by environmental groups and ministers. 

Global Biodiversity Framework

Unsurprisingly, negotiations on the draft Global Biodiversity Framework were anything but easy, with an agreement that regular reviews of targets and implementation will be needed. The next step will be how individual countries translate these global goals and targets into national level goals and targets where implementation and action will be key to driving progress. 

Mobilising the world’s financial and corporate resources

Financing biodiversity was another important discussion point, given the massive funding gap, estimated at as much as US$800 billion per year up to 2030.[1] Part of the solution involves redirecting financial flows toward sustainable investments and away from those that harm the environment.

It’s estimated that every year at least US$1.8 trillion is spent by governments around the world subsidising activities that harm nature and wildlife and contribute to global warming. One of the agreements from COP 15 was to reform US$500 billion of these subsidies.[2] [3]

And there has been a general call for more government financing – particularly to help developing countries implement their commitments – with a strong signal that international financial institutions should do the same. 

COP15 from an Irish business perspective

Businesses in Ireland are increasingly recognising the key role of biodiversity in the economy. There is growing pressure from stakeholders demanding further action on and investment in biodiversity, especially given the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape in Ireland.

Moreover, within Irish society, there is an increasing demand to change the status quo. The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss in Ireland recently voted overwhelmingly to recommend a referendum to amend the Constitution to better address biodiversity protection. The proposed constitutional change would recognise nature as a holder of legal rights, comparable to companies or people.

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