United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

COP15: It's time

In December 2022, all eyes will turn to Montreal as world leaders will gather at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference COP15 to agree on plans to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. The outcome of COP15 will be the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (post-2020 GBF) – an internationally agreed set of targets addressing a range of environmental challenges.

Reaching agreement is a significant hurdle, and there remain many issues to be resolved. The devil is in the detail, with exact wording heavily scrutinised and contested. This once-in-a-decade opportunity comes at a time when nature is in crisis and ambitious leadership and policy action are critical.

Our CEO, Dr Jody Gunn, will be attending COP15 alongside representatives from across the Australian environment sector, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and Australian businesses. A strong Australian presence at the meetings will highlight the significance of this moment and the critical response that our natural environment demands.

The Australian Government Delegation participates in the Working Group meetings where it will negotiate for targets that will support delivery of its recent commitments such as the national 30×30 target and zero new extinctions. We anticipate ministerial representation at the high level meetings towards the end of COP15.

Our attendance builds on our consistent engagement with the federal government and more broadly in the lead-up to COP15.

In October 2021, our CEO joined the global stage at the NGO Forum held in Kunming, China, to present our voluntary Commitment on Biodiversity Conservation

Our declaration, Recover, Restore, Redouble: the Australian Private Land Conservation Declaration to the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), was finalised following engagement at PLC2022. This declaration calls upon governments of the world – including the Australian Government – to adopt a range of more ambitious targets to urgently restore the world’s biodiversity.

We have also made 3 submissions to the drafting of the global framework:

  1. ALCA submission to the Zero Draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (in February 2020)
  2. ALCA submission to the First Draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (in August 2021)
  3. ALCA detailed submission to Preparation of the Australian Delegation position for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (in December 2021)


COP15 takes place just a few weeks after the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 in Egypt. While there is greater public awareness of the Climate Change Conference than the Biodiversity Conference, the two issues of climate and nature are closely linked. Delivery of better outcomes for nature contributes to climate change mitigation, and full delivery of the Paris Agreement is needed to achieve a nature positive world – a world where nature is visibly and measurably on the path of recovery.

1987: World Commission on Environment and Development promotes sustainable development

1992: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (and Convention on Climate Change) come into effect. The CBD has 3 main objectives:

  • Conservation of biodiversity
  • Sustainable use of the components of biodiversity
  • Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from use of genetic resources

1993: Australia ratifies the convention

2010: COP10 is held in Nagoya, Japan, and the new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020 is adopted. It included 20 concrete targets, known as the Aichi targets.

2022: In the 3 decades since the convention was agreed, the international community has not fully met any of the targets set.

Convention on Biological Diversity: the international legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

COP: Convention of Parties, consisting of all the governments that have ratified the convention. The COP is the convention’s ultimate authority, and it is supported by several bodies providing technical guidance and secretariat duties and information exchange.

Post-2020 global biodiversity framework: the new global biodiversity framework that will guide action on nature through to 2030. Its purpose is to ensure the protection of nature and the services nature provides for humankind.

UN Biodiversity Conference: a conference that convenes governments from around the world to agree to a new set of goals for nature over the next decade through the post-2020 GBF and looks at the implementation of the protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity.