A historical agreement which sets out an ambitious agenda towards the vision of living in harmony with nature, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, was adopted during the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in December 2023.

As a result, the CBD Secretariat recognised the need to organise a series of regional and sub-regional dialogues to facilitate the sharing of experiences and mutual learning related to the updating and revision of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), including national targets, to align with the Global Biodiversity Framework.

This week, the CBD Secretariat is partnering with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Government of Fiji, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to host the sub-regional Dialogue on NBSAPs for Pacific countries in Fiji from 18 – 21 March 2024.

This will be followed by a workshop on Target 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework on 22-23 March, and finally the United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP) Technical Workshop on the Global Environment Facility Early Action Support Project on 25 – 26 March 2024.

Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Education, Iliesa Vanawalu, in his welcoming remarks stated that biodiversity is essential for the health of our planet, yet it is in a sharp decline as a result of human activities, including through the impacts of climate change and pollution.

“In an isolated and pristine place such as Fiji, at first glance it is near impossible to imagine and see that we are facing a biodiversity crisis. But for our people who have a long cultural memory of nature and whom are the custodians of our ecosystems, they are confronted with the loss of biodiversity and its effects on economy, culture, and the future, on a daily basis,” Vanawalu said.

“Global transformational change is needed to avoid emptying nature’s bank of resources, depriving future generations of resources they need, and pushing us to irreversible tipping points. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework sets the trajectory for creating the transformational change needed to ensure that biodiversity loss is halted and reversed by 2030,” Vanawalu added.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework has four main goals, which are to protect and restore nature, to prosper with nature, to share benefits fairly, and to invest and collaborate for nature, and is based on a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.

“The level and scope of ambition within the Framework is unprecedented,” said David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the CBD during the opening of the Sub-Regional NBSAP Dialogue.

“Now, we must urgently translate these plans into actions. We need to update or revise our NBSAPs to align with the Framework, and set national targets with the level of ambition matching those of the global goals and targets so that national ambition will accelerate global ambition.”

“We also need to develop strategies and plans to help implement the NBSAPs such as capacity development plans and biodiversity financing plans, which are critical for implementation, as well as how the new Framework can contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and enhance synergies with other biodiversity-related conventions.”

The sub-regional dialogue for Pacific island countries, as well as others being organised in other regions across the globe, will help countries who are Parties to the CBD achieve these, with the support of the CBD Secretariat and partners.

Participants from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu – parties to the CBD Convention – are attending the one and a half-week long Dialogue on NBSAPs, Target 3 and UNEP-GEF Early Action Support, along with representatives from the United Nations, non-governmental organisations, inter-governmental organisations, youth, and civil society.

Sefanaia Nawadra, Director General of SPREP, reiterated that the Pacific region is unique in that we take a regional approach to address issues, which is embodied in the creation of Pacific agencies such as SPREP, created and mandated by the countries to support national and regional management and to help take the Pacific message to the global stage.

“When it comes to biodiversity management, the Pacific has unique challenges, but are also leading in many aspects. We have defined priorities, as we saw through the strong regional approach to COP15 negotiations and enshrined in many regional framework documents such as the Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas 2021 – 2025, and the coalition of agencies and partners working regionally, known as the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas which was established more than 25 years ago.”

“Now, our work is to make the linkages and align our national biodiversity strategies and plans, as well as existing regional priorities and commitments, to this new global biodiversity framework,” Nawadra added.