By Anna Klaverkamp and Sophie Berstermann, GIZ

The world’s biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate. Currently, up to one million of the estimated eight million species are at risk of extinction. Climate change further intensifies biodiversity loss, and degraded ecosystems can adapt less effectively to the impacts of climate change. And these are just some of the findings of the latest global assessment report, published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2019. IPBES provides scientific advice to policymakers on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Biodiversity and IPBES 10

Every one to two years, the IPBES plenary, which is the Platform’s governing body, takes fundamental and strategic decisions. In addition to the global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services, IPBES regularly works on various methodological assessments such as on diverse values and valuation of nature (completed in 2022), and thematic assessments, for example, on the sustainable use of wild species (completed in 2022), on land degradation and restoration (completed in 2018), and on pollinators, pollination, and food production (completed in 2016). At the tenth session of the Plenary (IPBES 10), which was held from 28 August to 2 September 2023, the current thematic assessment on invasive alien species (IAS) and their control was presented and the development of further assessments was discussed.

IPBES also has a special role to play in informing the development and implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) by making the best available data and traditional knowledge accessible to decision makers and the public.

Photo exhibition on the 23 targets of the GBF

With the adoption of the GBF in December 2022, the world agreed upon ambitious yet comprehensive targets to guide the path for biodiversity recovery. The GBF, which was negotiated within the scope of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), sets out four long-term goals and 23 targets with the aim of halting or reversing the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems by 2030. The GBF requires that at least 30% of global terrestrial and marine areas be effectively conserved and managed by 2030 (Target 3), the impacts of IAS on biodiversity and ecosystem services be reduced or eliminated (Target 6), and incentives harmful for biodiversity be reduced by USD 500 billion a year (Target 18). Synergies between climate change mitigation, adaptation, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and biodiversity conservation should be better utilized (Target 8), while vulnerable groups, such as Indigenous populations and women and girls, should be better integrated in GBF implementation (Targets 22 and 23).

To inspire discussions on the implementation of the GBF and to make people aware of how beautiful and worth protecting the world’s biodiversity is, the photo exhibition themed, ‘Biodiversity – Protected, Utilized, and Globally Promoted’, was featured at IPBES-10. The exhibition showcased how projects from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) are already contributing to the implementation of the 23 targets of the GBF, thereby shedding light on the opportunities for the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The BioFrame project team selected one photo from different IKI projects for each of the GBF’s 23 targets. Examples feature integrated coastal zone management in Brazil’s coastal areas, IAS management in community forests in Nepal, and measures to foster synergies for joint climate and biodiversity protection in the Mesoamerican Reef, illustrating opportunities that arise when biodiversity is protected and sustainably used.

Zooming in: Projects on the forefront of GBF implementation

A project in Brazil addresses spatial planning (Target 1) through the protection and management of marine and coastal zones. It supports an integrated approach to environmental planning in the Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos regions, while focusing on developing capacities, concepts, and strategies for the sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity.

In Nepal, the negative impact of IAS on the environment (Target 6) affects community forests by compromising ecosystem services and affecting people’s access to forest resources. A project in Padampur combines community-led management of invasive alien plant species and forest restoration with sustainable agriculture.

The impact of climate change (Target 8) in the Mesoamerican Reef threatens the reef’s ecological functions and the livelihoods of people depending on the reef system and connected ecosystems such as mangroves. To strengthen adaptive capacities of coastal communities in the region, another project identified and integrated adaptation strategies into coastal development and management plans for marine protected areas.

It has become clear that much is already being done to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity. However, we are still falling behind, and biodiversity continues to decline further every day. We must rachet up our actions to ensure implementation of the GBF that involves all sectors and all of society, leaving no one behind. Only then can we achieve its vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050.