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UN Biodiversity Summit 2020

UN Biodiversity Summit 2020


  • The first-ever UN Summit on Biodiversity was convened in New York in september 2020.
  • The Biodiversity Summit was participated by Head of States/Minister level representing the countries which are party to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • The 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the start of the UN decade of action and delivery on SDGs, and the UN Decades on ecosystem restoration and on ocean science for sustainable development, among others, provide additional context for the Summit.

About the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)?

  • The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, informally known as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro in 1992.
  • It is a key document regarding sustainable development.
  • It comes under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • 196 countries are a party to the CBD.
  • India is also a party to the Convention. India ratified it in 1994.
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was enacted for giving effect to the provisions of the Convention.
  • To implement the provisions of the Act, the government established the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) in 2003. The NBA is a statutory body.
  • The convention is legally binding on its signatories.
  • The Conference of Parties (COP) is the governing body of the convention. It consists of the governments that have ratified the treaty.
  • Its Secretariat is in Montreal, Canada.
  • Only two member states of the United Nations are not Parties to the CBD, namely: the USA and the Vatican.
  • In the 1992 Earth Summit, two landmark binding agreements were signed, one of them being the UNCBD. The other one was the Convention on Climate Change.
  • More than 150 countries signed the document at the Summit, and since then, over 175 nations have ratified the agreement.

About The First UN Biodiversity Summit 2020 Summit

  • The Summit focused on the theme, ‘Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.’
  • As the world is approaching the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 there is an urgent need to accelerate action to conserve biodiversity.
  • The year 2020 which is also the “Super Year for Biodiversity”, as the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity with 20 global Aichi targets adopted in 2010 ends in 2020.
  • All the countries together are in the process of preparation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Objectives Of The Summit | UN Biodiversity Summit 2020

  • Highlighting the crisis facing humanity from the degradation of biodiversity and the urgent need to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development.
  • Provide an opportunity for Heads of State and Government and other leaders to raise ambition for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021.
  • This framework, and its effective implementation, must put nature on a path to recovery by 2030 to meet the SDGs and realize the Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”.

WWF Index Revelation

  • The losses appear even starker from WWF’s Living Planet Index.
  • The index points to precipitous declines in vertebrate populations, a key indicator, by 68% over 1970 levels.
  • There is a fast-erosion of the ecosystem health.
  • The 196 CBD member-countries must chart a greener course, aligning it with the Paris Agreement.

Failure Of Aichi Targets

  • The latest UN Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report highlighted the failures of Aichi targets.
  • None of the 20 targets has been fully met.
  • The following Aichi targets have been ignored. These are related to
    • Reform or phasing out of subsidies that erode biodiversity
    • Steps for resource use within safe ecological limits,
    • Preventing industrial fisheries from destroying threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems, and
    • An end to pollution, including growing plastic waste.
  • Many countries have ignored the connection between biodiversity and well-being.
  • They have depleted ecological capital in pursuit of financial prosperity.

The Perseverance | UN Biodiversity Summit 2020

  • Recent assessments by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) concluded that species extinction rates are tens to hundreds of times higher now than historical averages, that:
  • 75% of the Earth’s land surface has been significantly altered by human actions, including for example the loss of 85% of the area of wetlands
  • 66% of the ocean area is experiencing multiple impacts from people, including from fisheries, pollution, and chemical changes from acidification

Outcome of the summit

  • The Summit and associated meetings highlighted the need for further discussion, bridge-building and commitment regarding concrete targets and actions.
  • The Leaders’ Pledge forms a strong basis for this, and we will be working with Parties and other stakeholders in the coming months to ensure the post2020 global biodiversity framework succeeds in safeguarding people and planet for future generations.
  • The post-2020 global biodiversity framework should:
    • Avoid duplication and enhance complementarity with existing frameworks, in particular the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is essential that the biodiversity framework focuses on effectively addressing threats to biodiversity as well as gaps that might exist in the SDGs – for instance on the interlinkages of biodiversity and human health.
    • Have focused, concrete and measurable Action Targets, so that their implementation and impacts can be monitored and assessed.
    • Be structured to reflect the pathway from where we are now to the changes we’d like to see in 2050. Action targets must be underpinned by a the theory of change reflecting a clear line-of-sight from now until attainment of the Vision.
    • Be a truly global framework, clearly speaking to the other Rio and biodiversity-related conventions as well as to those agreements that cover issues related to biodiversity. Synergies are essential.
    • Reflect the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the three components of biodiversity (species, ecosystems and genes) in coherent specific outcome goals.
    • Embrace all voices: indigenous peoples and local communities, regional and city governments, the private sector, NGOs, women, youth and society at large must be not only invited to the debate but the framework should also incentivise their explicit contributions towards the global goals.
    • Integrate Nature-based Solutions to safeguard and maintain ecosystems. These are vital for food and water supply, protection against natural disasters and provision of goods and services which are essential for human well-being.

Call To Action For An Equitable, Carbon-Neutral And Nature-Positive World

Leaders of 16 global environment and development organisations, coalitions and foundations, including BirdLife International, called on Heads of State and Governments at the UN Summit on Biodiversity to set nature on the road to recovery by 2030, for an equitable, carbon-neutral and nature-positive world, including through the following actions:

  1. Retain and restore ecosystems

We must effectively protect, conserve and restore at least 30 percent of land, inland waters, coasts and oceans of most importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2030. These protected and conserved areas must be equitably governed and with appropriate recognition, protection and land tenure security assured for all lands and waters traditionally governed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Such areas must be adequately and sustainably resourced and not undermined by legal changes. Areas important for biodiversity and that allow for

species movements in response to climate change should be prioritised, including Key Biodiversity Areas, as well as those areas which are ecologically intact and/or deliver ecosystem services. This requires integrated, biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning across the entire planet, at ecologically-relevant scales (including in areas beyond traditional boundaries and national jurisdictions) through spatially-explicit National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), Strategic Environmental Assessments and national development plans.

  1. Safeguard diversity and recover the abundance of life

We must address illegal and/or unsustainable wildlife exploitation, trafficking and trade and implement intensive species management actions where necessary, to help halt the decline of genetic diversity, prevent extinctions and start to recover wildlife populations.

  1. Transition towards an equitable nature-positive economy

Governments must recognise that nature lies at the heart of a sustainable, resilient, green transition that “builds forward”, to mitigate future economic and societal shocks. We must mainstream biodiversity into public and private decision-making (e.g., green recovery plans), halve the footprint of production and consumption across all sectors and redirect financial flows away from activities that harm biodiversity towards those that restore, conserve and manage it sustainably. Our food systems must be transformed as well as key productive sectors such as forestry, fisheries and infrastructure. Governments and the private sector must value natural capital, invest in nature-based solutions, require sustainable supply chains, and, critically, incorporate the true value of nature into economic systems, while ensuring that social and environmental safeguards are fully enforced, so that both public and private sector actions have an overall positive impact on nature and society.

  1. Ensure a healthy environment for healthy societies

Rights, equity and justice must lie at the heart of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Governments must recognise the universal right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and put in place legislation and actions to achieve this. Both intergenerational and intragenerational equity are needed to ensure that decision-making and implementation by state and non-state actors is inclusive and that decision-makers are held accountable. In particular, the role and rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, women and girls as stewards and defenders of nature must be recognised, protected and supported.

Biodiversity Conservation In India | UN Biodiversity Summit 2020

  • India is one of the world’s 12 mega-biodiversity centres, and the subcontinent one of the six Vavilovian centres of origin of species.
  • In India, several Bills and Action Plans have been passed by the Parliament for the conservation of biodiversity.
  • In India, commendable efforts have been made for in-situ conservation of biodiversity.
  • Under Protected Area network, there are 13 Biosphere Reserves set up in different biogeography regions of the country, besides 485 wildlife Sanctuaries and 87 National Parks.
  • Some special projects were also started for providing protection to wildlife in their natural habitats.
  • The Project Tiger was started in 1973. Also projects for Asiatic lion, the Blackbuck, the Rhinoceros, the Musk deer, the Hangul and the Ghariyal are started.
  • India is also a party to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
  • Major wetlands of India have already been listed under the Ramsar Convention (1981).
  • Some policy and legal frameworks are:
    • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
    • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
    • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
    • The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), 1999
    • Biological Diversity Bill, 2002

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also called the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • These 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
  • The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet.
  • The SDGs came into effect in January 2016, and they will continue guide UNDP policy and funding for the next 15 years.


Environment & Biodiversity

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