Implications of COVID-19 on Progress in the UN Conventions on Biodiversity and Climate Change
28 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 30, 2020
2020 was to be a landmark year to set new targets to halt biodiversity loss and prevent dangerous climate change. However, due to COVID-19, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Kunming, China and the 26th COP of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow, Scotland, where negotiations on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) towards the 2050 vision of “Living in harmony with nature”, as well as the second submission of Nationally Determined Contributions to keep global warming well below 2°C following the Paris Agreement, were to take place.
The pandemic has caused many country priorities to shift towards responding to the health crisis and economic recovery, and this may affect how driven parties will be in upcoming negotiations. Agreement on higher climate ambition, as well as conservation targets, may become even more tenuous. However, weak and unambitious climate and biodiversity policies, and a rapid return to business as usual could have catastrophic consequences for the planet. Biodiversity and climate policy frameworks should recognize that the biodiversity, climate change, and health crises are deeply interlinked, and take advantage of opportunities for higher ambition in climate and biodiversity targets.
Keywords: COVID-19, climate change, biodiversity, policy, Paris Agreement, COP26, COP15
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