Image IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis

UNFCCC COP28 UAE and the Importance of Biodiversity

As the dust settles after COP28 in Dubai, UAE, it is time to reflect on the outcomes, and what they mean for biodiversity and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Both within and outside the negotiations at the COP, nature was a clear winner. There were high level events and ministerial roundtables on harnessing 30x30 to tackle climate change and integrated implementation of national climate and biodiversity frameworks. There were also breakthroughs on mangrove restoration and protection and Sustainable Ocean Management – thanks to leadership of the COP28 Presidency, and in collaboration with the COP15 Presidency and many governments and other stakeholders, the importance of biodiversity was undoubtably a focal point.

Within the formal negotiations, biodiversity was also well recognised in the first Global Stocktake, which noted the importance of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF). There was a focus in relation to forests, but also the importance of sustainable land management and healthy ecosystems, including oceans and mountains, in both the mitigation of and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Equally, the Global Stocktake recognised the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and the importance of their meaningful and effective participation in processes related to finding just solutions to climate change.  Parties were also encouraged to implement climate policy and action that is gender-responsive, fully respects human rights, and empowers youth and children.

While adaptation issues continue to develop under the UNFCCC, there were some advancements in the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund and the defining of a Global Goal on Adaptation. As both emerge, the clear linkages with biodiversity and the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework should not be overlooked.

The focus now must be on urgent implementation. As Parties to both the UNFCCC and CBD revise their NDCs and NBSAPs, COP28 helped to exemplify that we cannot tackle climate change or biodiversity loss separately. This synergy must be done at all levels for us to achieve the Paris Agreement, the KMGBF, and to realize the global vision of living in harmony with nature.

Joint Statements 

Three weeks before COP28 started, the Presidents of the last Conference of Parties (COP) of the three Rio Conventions joined forces in a statement, which: 

  • Underlined the urgency of the situation and the inextricable links between climate change, desertification and loss of biodiversity;
  • Called for a coordinated approach both at international and national levels to tackle these issues in a holistic way;
  • Pleaded for more cooperation between the three Conventions and their secretariats;
  • And asked for urgent, concrete measures to protect the world population, environment, lands and biodiversity to ensure a sustainable future for new generations.

At UNFCCC COP 28, the Rio Conventions Pavilion Journey took place as a series of events across the various meetings at the Conference. Sessions of the Rio Conventions Pavilion Journey were held between 30 November and 12 December 2023 inside the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Expo City Dubai.
The sessions addressed themes that cut across the objectives of the three Conventions. Collectively, they served as opportunities for coordinated action towards land degradation neutrality, carbon-neutrality, halting the loss of biodiversity and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Biodiversity Plan's targets by 2030.

On the COP28 Nature, Land Use and Ocean Day, 18 countries endorsed the COP28 Joint Statement on Climate, Nature and People, uniting for nature and placing it at the center of climate action. The collective ambition expressed by the Joint Statement aims to raise stronger awareness of and capacity to deliver the necessary synergies between the Paris Agreement and the Biodiversity Plan.

On 9 December 2023 at  COP28, Minister HUANG Runqiu of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China, President of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, officially announced the launch of the Action Initiative for the KMGBF.

HUANG Runqiu stated that, to further consolidate the political will of all parties to implement the KMGBF, China officially took the lead in launching the Action Initiative for KMGBF, and is willing to work with the international community to jointly address global challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change, jointly promote the success of COP28, and jointly build a home in the planet featuring harmony between humanity and nature.



More information:

COP28 Joint Statement on Climate, Nature and People

COP Presidents' United Statement for Climate COP28 UAE

Rio Conventions Pavilion Journey at UNFCCC COP28