The UN General Assembly had declared the period 2011-2020 as United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. As the year 2020 brings the decade to a close, the scientific community has repeatedly sounded the alarm on biodiversity breakdown and the climate emergency.
Scientists and most governments agree that the world is facing an unprecedented environmental crisis. Huge numbers of species are on the brink of extinction and global temperatures continue to rise. Nature-based solutions offer the best way to achieve human well-being, address climate change and protect the planet. Yet nature is in crisis. We are losing species at a rate 1,000 times greater than at any other time in recorded human history.
Humans depend for their very survival on stable and healthy ecosystems. Urgent action is needed in 2020 to get the world on track to a more sustainable future. This is a “super year” for the environment. A make-or-break year in which key international meetings will set the tone and agenda for environmental action in the decade ahead.
Key international meetings planned for 2020:
15–22 February: The 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) will be held in Gandhinagar. The theme: “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home.”
Co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, the Conference is expected to adopt an intergovernmental declaration on science-based and innovative areas of action. Also a list of voluntary commitments, to support implementation of SDG 14 (Life Below Water).
The overarching theme of the Conference is “Scaling Up Ocean Action Based on Science and Innovation for the Implementation of Goal 14: Stocktaking, Partnerships and Solutions”. The meeting takes place three years after the first Ocean Conference.
This year, World Water Week will focus on science and innovation.
15 September: 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 75) in New York. The first day of the high-level General Debate was on 22 September. A Biodiversity Leaders’ Summit might take place at the same time and place. These will provide prime opportunities for world leaders to declare that it is no longer acceptable to continue to degrade our planet.
27 September: 5th anniversary of the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals
5–10 October: UN Biodiversity Conference: “Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15” in China
COP 15 will review the achievement and delivery of the Convention’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. It is also anticipated that the final decision on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be taken. Decisions on related topics including capacity-building and resource mobilization to be made.
COP 15 will also include the 10th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 10) and the 4th Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 4). They are expected to address a series of issues related to the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.
As part of the process to develop the post-2020 framework, negotiations will be held in the context of an open-ended inter-sessional working group, and co-chaired by Francis Ogwal (Uganda) and Basile van Havre (Canada). Meetings of the Group are scheduled in Kunming, China, from 24–28 February 2020 and 27–31 July 2020 in Colombia.
9–20 November Glasgow, Scotland, UK: 2020 UN Climate Change Conference: “UNFCCC COP 26”
UNEP’s annual Emissions Gap Report warns that unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6% each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.
On current unconditional pledges in 2020, the world is heading for a 3.2°C temperature rise. The G20 nations account almost 80 per cent of all emissions, but 15 G20 members have not committed to a timeline for net-zero emissions.