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CoP15 announces adoption of Global Biodiversity Framework

New agreement contains promising goals for environmental conservation but fails to include language on animal welfare and continues to support 'sustainable use' of wildlife


Ministers from around the world gathered at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity to seal the deal for Nature. 

On Monday 19 December, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 15th Conference of the Parties (CBD CoP15) concluded with the announcement that the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework had been adopted.  

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, with four long-term goals by 2050 and 23 Targets for 2030, gives direction to international, regional, national, and local governments and organisations around the world to put nature on a path to recovery. These global objectives include conserving 30% of the planet, restoring 30% of degraded areas, and paying $30 billion per year for conservation, all by the end of the decade. 

While worth celebrating, this new agreement also calls for caution as a previous 10-year biodiversity agreement failed to fully meet any of the targets at the global level. The financial commitments are non-binding, similar to the CoP26 commitments which were never fully honoured. Further, the date by which the agreement aims to reduce extinction, 2050 and not 2030, may be too late as wild populations continue to plummet. 

This new agreement sets forth 23 targets that ‘need to be initiated immediately and completed by 2030’. While most of the targets can be linked to animal conservation, there are four that specifically address the issue: 

  • Target 4 calls for management actions to ‘halt human induced extinction of known threatened species’ including supporting recovery, conservation, and minimizing human-wildlife conflict
  • Target 6 is focused on eliminating, minimizing, reducing, or mitigating the impacts of invasive species.
  • Target 9 calls on Member States and other countries to ensure the management and use of wild species is sustainable.

Indeed, while this new agreement calls for the conservation of wildlife, it does so through the lens sustainable use and trade. Target 5, for example, specifically promotes legalizing wild species trade by asking member states ensure the ‘use, harvesting and trade of wild species is sustainable, safe and legal, preventing overexploitation, (…) reducing the risk of pathogen spill-over’. A key example of this is via trophy hunting of large carnivores such as lions and tigers, with hunters using this messaging to justify their practices. We welcome the language aimed to reduce a risk of pathogen spill-over as legal trade, like illegal trade, poses a wide variety of risks including increased zoonotic disease cause by a direct lack of animal welfare.  

Nonetheless, the new agreement provides the EU with a unique opportunity to not only meet these obligations but go beyond them, ensuring the continued support for initiatives that continue to advocate for the protection of biodiversity including animal welfare. 

Dr. Jackson Zee, Director Global Affairs and Disaster Resilience at FOUR PAWS says, “We are grateful that the EU delegation at CBD COP15 recognises the importance of animal welfare in the Global Biodiversity Framework, that animal welfare is intrinsically linked to protecting biodiversity. You cannot protect the biodiversity without having regard for the individuals that make up the whole of what make biodiversity. 

While the Global Biodiversity Framework is still not as ambitious as we would have hoped, it is a step in the right direction towards considering animal welfare as a lens for all aspects of international development policy.” 

Dr Jackson Zee, Director of Global Affairs and Disaster Resilience at FOUR PAWS

As the new framework is non-binding, the success of this agreement is dependent on the will of Member States to fully implement the goals through binding national regulations. FOUR PAWS will continue working in the EU to ensure this agreement’s protections for animals is fully implemented within the EU through the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, that a high regard is given to true protection measures, and to advocate for a ban on the commercial sale of wild animals.  


Aubrey C

Aubrey Collins

Wild Animal Policy Coordinator


Avenue de la Renaissance 19/11
1000 Brussels

FOUR PAWS - European Policy Office

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