2 December 2020
Biodiversity Convention Adopts Budget, Looks Toward 2021
Photo Credit: Debora Tingley on Unsplash
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Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity engaged in a virtual decision making process to ensure operations can continue in 2021.

Governments adopted an interim budget for 2021 via silence procedure, providing financial certainty for the new year.

Parties to three biodiversity agreements held extraordinary meetings to ensure operations can continue in 2021, and concluded with the adoption of an interim budget for 2021. This decision provides “financial certainty for a new year that will still be marked by the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Earth Negotiations Bulletin reported.

The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was postponed from October 2020 until 2021 due to the pandemic. In addition to the adoption of a much anticipated post-2020 global biodiversity framework, this meeting would have also adopted the budget that would continue to fund the Secretariat after 31 December 2020, among other decisions. In order to keep the lights on, so to speak, delegations undertook a virtual decision making process in November for:

  • The second extraordinary meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties (ExCOP 2);
  • The first extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CP ExCOP/MOP 1); and
  • The first extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) (NP ExCOP/MOP 1).

The draft budget was agreed via silence procedure on 27 November 2020. The interim budget for 2021 consists of “old” and “new” monies. The old monies involve the extension of the validity of funds allocated in the 2019-2020 budget associated with the costs of the meetings of the COP and its subsidiary bodies that were postponed due to the pandemic. The new monies include the approval, on an exceptional basis, a core 2021 programme budget. 

When COP 15 convenes in 2021, parties will have an ambitious agenda: to “do for biodiversity what Paris did for climate change in 2015,” in the words of UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir. As the ENB reports, “all of the 2010-2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been missed, making it even more important to ramp up collective ambition and willingness to do better in defining and implementing goals and targets for the next decade.” 

The ENB notes that regardless of whether negotiations must continue taking place virtually, or in-person meetings are able to resume, a legitimate and effective post-2020 framework will require equitable representation by parties, organizations, and other stakeholders. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin meeting coverage]

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