Kenyan forum setting stage for reinvigorated global biodiversity conservation agenda

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NAIROBI, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The fourth open-ended working group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework underway in the Kenyan capital Nairobi is expected to pave the way for a new era of enhanced protection of species to realize sustainability development.

Convened by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) from June 21-26, the high-level forum is negotiating a global pact to strengthen the conservation of natural habitats grappling with man-made and climate-induced threats.

More than 1,000 delegates including senior policymakers, representatives of multilateral agencies, academia, and civil society who are participating in the six-day forum virtually and in-person will be expected to outline a new vision for healing the planet and its species as a pre-condition to achieving UN 2030 goals.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the Executive Secretary of CBD said the Nairobi forum, which is a follow-up of a similar one held in Geneva, Switzerland in March, will mark a milestone in efforts to forge a global consensus on revitalizing biodiversity conservation.

"We now have a platform to negotiate for a robust global framework on conserving biodiversity and strengthen the capacity of local communities to cope with climate change, poverty, hunger, and water scarcity," Mrema said at a briefing on Tuesday evening.

She said the group of experts tasked with developing a post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be guided by the spirit of consensus and compromise to ensure the pact is inclusive, practical, and transformative.

Other topics to be discussed by experts and negotiators from UN CBD member states include resource mobilization, technology transfer, capacity, and knowledge sharing to boost the protection of habitats, said Mrema.

She noted that climate change, unsustainable practices by industry, and population pressure had escalated biodiversity loss, to the detriment of global efforts to end hunger, water stress, and energy poverty.

Mrema singled out deforestation, ocean pollution, and siltation of freshwater lakes for undermining economic progress besides worsening health outcomes for local communities in developing countries.

She said that a legally binding post-2020 global biodiversity framework, expected to be adopted in December, will embolden multilateral efforts to tackle drivers of habitat loss including climatic shocks, over-exploitation, pollution, and invasive species.

The second part of the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, slated for Dec. 5-17 in Montreal, Canada is expected to adopt the ambitious framework on protecting nature, according to Mrema.

Francis Ogwal, a co-chair of the fourth open-ended working group on post-2020 global biodiversity framework negotiations taking place in Nairobi said a new pact for protecting vital ecosystems was in sight, thanks to goodwill from governments, industry, and civil society.

"There is a global consensus on the need to set ambitious targets for protecting natural resources that are the foundation of life and economic activities, especially in Africa," said Ogwal, a Ugandan national.

He added that national governments will be tasked with domesticating the post-2020 global biodiversity framework in line with their unique circumstances and availability of funds.

Ogwal said that the global pact will inject vitality into national biodiversity strategies and action plans to help countries deal with climate emergencies, rural poverty, and resource-based conflicts.

Basile Van Havre, a co-chair of Nairobi Negotiations said there is a reawakening by policymakers, donors, and scientists on the need to help communities live in harmony with nature, and halt the depletion of habitats like forests and wetlands.

According to Havre, countries should leverage enforcement of laws, community engagement, and the adoption of appropriate technologies to boost habitats' protection. Enditem

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