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The Paris moment for nature

Ipieca Executive Director Brian Sullivan explains how COP15 can drive biodiversity action as COP21 and the Paris Agreement have done for climate action.

At the beginning of December world leaders will gather in Montreal, Canada, for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15, which many consider as potentially being the Paris Agreement moment for nature.

They are there to negotiate and sign off on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which will provide action-oriented targets to reverse biodiversity loss and protect and enhance the natural world.

Nature, climate, people and sustainable development

The 2019 landmark global assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) states that up to a million species are facing extinction, clearly showing the size of the challenge we are facing. Loss of biodiversity and damage to land and marine ecosystems impact the ability to regulate our climate, access water, improve food security and so on. Nature is quite simply essential to life. Coming away from COP15 with an agreed and ambitious GBF is clearly of the upmost importance.

Ipieca at COP15

There will be an Ipieca delegation at COP15, where we will be engaging with stakeholders from various UN, NGO, civil society and academic groups to share knowledge and explore cross-sector opportunities to scale up action on nature. We are also hosting a number events, including an official side event with IUCN on Mainstreaming biodiversity in oil and gas and alternative energies, and as part of the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (of which Ipieca is a founding partner) side event on Nature positive: the emerging business as usual. Importantly, we are also there to listen to the negotiations and make sure that the outcomes are captured in Ipieca workstreams.

The most important outcome we are hoping for is the adoption of an ambitious GBF by all nations. Ipieca has been involved in providing industry technical feedback on draft versions of the GBF, the pre-COP technical workshops and the GBF implementation documents - which cite Ipieca – so when the GBF lands we will be in a great position to support the industry to operationalise the framework.

How Ipieca will support the GBF

With a global membership, active in over 180 countries, and covering the full value chain, Ipieca will make the most of this reach to raise awareness of the GBF and encourage industry support for it. Our involvement throughout the COP15 process and development of the GBF means we are well positioned to provide the guidance to help industry to action the GBF targets.

Nature is one of Ipieca’s four strategic pillars, the others being climate, people and sustainability. This allows us to provide guidance on environmentally responsible operations which also advances climate action, social performance and mainstreaming sustainability.

Much of the work we do already supports the targets set forth in the draft GBF and the CBD’s 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature. Ipieca’s work on biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) is underpinned by the CBD. The Ipieca-IOGP BES Working Group shares knowledge and develops industry good practice to support an environmental risk-based approach to managing BES, to enable companies to implement the mitigation hierarchy and to raise awareness of the concept of nature positive across the industry.

I am confident that COP15 will deliver the ambitious GBF that we need to tackle nature loss and mainstream biodiversity action across the private sector as the Paris Agreement has done for climate action.

Ipieca at COP15.

 


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