The Goals and Targets of the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF)

 

What do they mean for the design and implementation of Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy?

The table below presents the four goals and 23 targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, with a brief analysis of each goal and target and its significance for Canada. These goals and targets are purposively (and appropriately) designed to work as an integrated whole, reflecting the same principle of indivisibility embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They require actions to be integrated across the whole of government and society.

It is important to note Section C of the framework, as part of preambulatory text (“Considerations for the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework”) includes a set of umbrella themes that are relevant for understanding purpose, implementation, monitoring and reporting of all goals and targets. As described by IISD in their summary of the December conference, Section C “makes the GBF a more inclusive and holistic system than its predecessor. It first reiterates the important roles and contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities… as custodians of biodiversity and partners in conservation, and their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international instruments. It refers to different value systems including the concept of living in harmony with Mother Earth, which played an important role during the negotiations. It also places the GBF under a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, which includes gender equality, a human rights-based approach, intergenerational equity, and interlinkages between biodiversity and health. It also acknowledges that each party will contribute in accordance with national circumstances, priorities, and capabilities.”

The CBD Secretariat has a dedicated website on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, including explanations of each of the goals and targets and interlinkages between them.

Schematic of the KMGBF goals and targets from Toward a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada: Halting and Reversing Nature Loss (Environment and Climate Change Canada, May, 2023). Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy will be a National Biodiversity and Action Plan (NBSAP), the policy document indicating the strategic directions and priority actions for implementing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework for Parties (including Canada) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Thanks to A. Woodley (CPAWS) and D. Kraus (WCS Canada) for reviewing this summary table.

 

The mission of the framework for the period up to 2030, towards the 2050 vision is: To take urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to put nature on a path to recovery for the benefit of people and planet by conserving and sustainably using biodiversity and ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources, while providing the necessary means of implementation.

Analysis

The mission statement sets the goal of “halting and reversing” biodiversity loss in the next 10 years, setting the stage for a broader effort toward the 2050 vision of putting nature on a path to recovery. This is for all CBD parties (member countries) to achieve by 2030, as a key “stepping stone” to the 2050 Vision, where “biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”

Significance for Canada

“Halt and reverse biodiversity loss” has been a central element of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s mandate since a year before the Montreal agreement.  But this mission is not currently reflected in Canadian federal, provincial and territorial policies and laws. The mission reflects the need for actions taken in the next eight years to not only halt but also reverse biodiversity loss so that recovery can occur after 2030.

GOALS A-D

Goal A: The integrity, connectivity and resilience of all ecosystems are maintained, enhanced, or restored, substantially increasing the area of natural ecosystems by 2050; </p> <p>Human induced extinction of known threatened species is halted, and, by 2050, the extinction rate and risk of all species are reduced tenfold and the abundance of native wild species is increased to healthy and resilient levels;<br /> The genetic diversity within populations of wild and domesticated species, is maintained, safeguarding their adaptive potential.<br />

Goal A embraces all three elements of biodiversity: Ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity. Ecosystems and genetic diversity receive considerably stronger emphasis in the GBF than they did in the Aichi targets.

For ecosystems, an emphasis on connectivity, integrity and resilience of ecosystems was an important outcome and represented a shift from simpler focus in the previous agreement (Aichi targets). Integrity and connectivity are foundations for resilience. The wording of this goal implies that significant net increases in both area, connectivity, and integrity of natural ecosystems is needed to reach the 2050 vision. Furthermore, this goal recognizes the critical roles of existing natural ecosystems. While ecosystem restoration will be essential due to the loss that has occurred, priority should be given to retaining existing natural ecosystems because prevention will reduce significant costs from loss.

Species: By emphasizing both “extinction” and “extinction risk” the agreement creates an incentive to avoid species loss by taking action while species recovery is still possible.  A critical concept is to set a goal of ensuring species populations are maintained at healthy and resilient levels rather than simply being satisfied with avoiding extinction.

Genetic diversity:  The previous agreement focused narrowly on the value of maintaining genetic diversity to serve human needs, such as diversity in food crops or livestock. The KMGBF is much broader and recognizes the importance of maintaining genetic diversity for wild species to enhance reproduction and survival rates of individual organisms, reduce vulnerability to climate change, and lower risk of species’ extinctions.

Significance for Canada

Canada’s efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss similarly need to focus on all three elements of biodiversity and will require different approaches for different areas of Canada. 

Ecosystems: There is high ecosystem diversity in Canada, including many that are unique and/or highly threatened. The condition of ecosystems across Canada ranges from highly fragmented to some of the most intact in the world. Framing a Canadian ecosystem goal in terms of connectivity, integrity and resilience is highly appropriate Achieving this goal will require better information on the classification and conservation status of ecosystems in all parts of Canada, although this need should not hold up any action.

Species: Canada needs to apply this lens to its own efforts to sustain species to ensure we stop the growth in the number of species at risk of extinction while ensuring other species do not fall into the “at risk” category (e.g., Special Concern).

Genetic diversity: Genetic diversity was not even mentioned in the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada and should certainly receive attention this time.

Goal B: Biodiversity is sustainably used and managed and nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services, are valued, maintained and enhanced, with those currently in decline being restored, supporting the achievement of sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations by 2050.
Goal B addresses sustainable use and management of nature’s contributions to people. Our ability to achieve this goal will depend a great deal on achieving Goal A and ensuring healthy wild species and ecosystems. And it will require a significant effort to use resources sustainability and to distribute them equitably, including between generations. 

Significance for Canada

As a natural resource driven economy and agricultural powerhouse, pursuing Goal B actions must be central to any Canadian biodiversity strategy. Reconciling this goal with goal A will require a whole of government approach. 

Goal C: The monetary and non-monetary benefits from the utilization of genetic resources, and digital sequence information on genetic resources, and of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, as applicable, are shared fairly and equitably, including, as appropriate with indigenous peoples and local communities, and substantially increased by 2050, while ensuring traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources is appropriately protected, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, in accordance with internationally agreed access and benefit-sharing instruments

Goal C addresses the idea of how wealth created from genetic information is shared and provides a framework for improving fair and equitable sharing of this wealth and information. Genetic sequencing has revolutionized the biological sciences, enabling major breakthroughs in health, food and agriculture and environmental sustainability, but benefits have been unequally shared particularly with Indigenous peoples. 

Significance for Canada

Canada should develop an Aboriginal Sensitive Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) policy that would protect both biodiversity and Indigenous knowledge.  As a first step, it should join the Nagoya Protocol of the CBD, which addresses these issues. 

Goal D: Adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation, and access to and transfer of technology to fully implement the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework are secured and equitably accessible to all Parties, especially developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, progressively closing the biodiversity finance gap of 700 billion dollars per year, and aligning financial flows with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.

Goal D acknowledges that to successfully implement this global agreement, we need to close the gap between the capacity of wealthy nations and those with many fewer resources. We all benefit from protecting and restoring global biodiversity, but “resource mobilization” was one of the most contentious elements of the KMGBF negotiations. It is therefore important that countries agree on the need to supply support for implementation. 

Significance for Canada

Canada needs to recognize and address both the resources needed for implementation within Canada and the need to provide Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to Global-South countries. 

TARGETS 1-8: REDUCING THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY
Target 1: Ensure that all areas are under participatory integrated biodiversity inclusive spatial planning and/or effective management processes addressing land and sea use change, to bring the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity, close to zero by 2030, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

Target 1 recognizes how land-use and sea-use change (including deforestation and the loss and/or fragmentation of wetlands, savannahs, grasslands, and other ecosystems) are major drivers of biodiversity loss. 

The target calls for integrated spatial planning to understand and manage competing demands for land and sea areas and potential trade-offs. Making progress on this target will require a focus on both developed/degraded ecosystems and the conservation of intact (i.e., with high ecological integrity) ecosystems. This target also recognizes that successful management of biodiversity cannot be adequately addressed in piecemeal fashion and requires proactive planning at appropriate scales, while respecting rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities. 

To illustrate the inter-relationship between targets, actions related to this target would need to be complemented by restoration (T2), protection of specific areas with high biodiversity value (T3), and by measures to reduce the other direct (T 4-8) and indirect drivers (T 13-20) of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

Significance for Canada 

Many areas in Canada are not subject to spatial planning currently. Even where formal land-use planning is taking place, many such processes may not qualify as “biodiversity-inclusive addressing land use and sea use change” or adequately respect the rights of Indigenous peoples. The best examples of spatial planning are in northern Canada, where they are co-led with Indigenous peoples, as mandated by modern land claims. These can serve as a model for participatory, integrated spatial planning focused on Indigenous-led or co-led processes. 

For Canada this target is particularly relevant to where cumulative effects are becoming increasingly evident, e.g., through human settlement in southern areas or resource extraction in the north (where piecemeal project-level decision-making is prevalent). Proper and proactive assessments of how to enhance protection, connectivity and development opportunities require a regional-scale focus. 

Given the disproportionate share within Canada of high-integrity ecosystems remaining in a world, much more will have to be done to achieve the target of reducing loss of ecosystems with high ecological integrity to near zero by 2030. 

Implementation of Target 1 in Canada must emphasize Indigenous-led conservation and land-use planning. Equitable planning processes go beyond respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples to ensuring the meaningful, sustained, and visible inclusion of Indigenous peoples as beneficiaries of planning processes.

Target 2: Ensure that by 2030 at least 30 per cent of areas of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine ecosystems are under effective restoration, in order to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, ecological integrity and connectivity.
Target 2, which focuses on restoration, represents increased ambition compared to the earlier agreement. It is positive to see the focus on ensuring that restoration efforts should contribute to enhancing ecological integrity and connectivity within and among ecosystems, both of which are important for sustaining healthy and diverse ecosystems. 

Significance for Canada 

Canada should identify an explicit baseline in order to devise a tailored target for restoration that fits the Canadian context. The target should be geographically based as a percentage of areas of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine ecosystems (instead of number of trees, for example). 

It will be important to define “effective restoration,” given the wide use of terminology in Canada (e.g., reclamation, rehabilitation, etc.) that has much lower bars for success than the type of ecological restoration embraced by the wording of this target. Equally important will be to  come up with appropriate measures of progress and success. 

Target 3: Ensure and enable that by 2030 at least 30 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative, well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories, where applicable, and integrated into wider landscapes, seascapes and the ocean, while ensuring that any sustainable use, where appropriate in such areas, is fully consistent with conservation outcomes, recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories.
Target 3: Ensure and enable that by 2030 at least 30 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative, well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories, where applicable, and integrated into wider landscapes, seascapes and the ocean, while ensuring that any sustainable use, where appropriate in such areas, is fully consistent with conservation outcomes, recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories.

Target 3 represents increased ambition compared to the earlier agreement targets (increasing from 17% to 30%) and is the most well recognized of the 23 targets (often referred to as “30×30”). The target affirms protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECM), which are already well-defined internationally and in Canada, as the tools for achieving the 30% target. 

In addition, the new agreement provides a much stronger recognition of the critical role that Indigenous Peoples play in conserving biodiversity, both through safeguards and by recognizing Indigenous and traditional territories as a pathway that contributes to biodiversity conservation. 

And finally, the language on sustainable use – a concession during negotiations of the KMGBF – strikes a careful balance, ensuring that any sustainable use must be consistent with biodiversity conservation outcomes and what is appropriate within protected areas and OECMs.

Significance for Canada 

The federal government already committed to the 30×30 objective, but it needs to ensure that the focus is on the quality of areas protected. This means attention to high integrity or rare ecosystems, Key Biodiversity Areas, culturally important ecosystems, and factors like ecosystem functions and services (e.g., carbon and water), along with connectivity. Meeting agreed-to standard and effective management of protected areas and OECMs will also be important and must include the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples. 

This could provide an opportunity for Canada to commit to a reinvigorated Pathway 2 table with full-as-possible participation of province and territories (P/T) to guide delivery of the 30×30 commitment with adherence to quality measures (as above) and agreed-upon protection standards. Completing publicly available nature funding agreements with P/Ts that include commitments to Target 3 and P/T support for specific Indigenous Conservation Protected Areas that make measurable contributions to the target should also be part of Canada’s response. 

Protected area selection and planning should ideally occur within the context of regional-scale spatial planning (Target 1). 

There is no need to include reference to “sustainable use” in a Canadian target, and we should maintain focus on the objective of Target 3 to conserve biodiversity. Other targets (e.g., T 9-13) already address sustainable use. 

Target 4: Ensure urgent management actions to halt human induced extinction of known threatened species and for the recovery and conservation of species, in particular threatened species, to significantly reduce extinction risk, as well as to maintain and restore the genetic diversity within and between populations of native, wild and domesticated species to maintain their adaptive potential, including through in situ and ex situ conservation and sustainable management practices, and effectively manage human-wildlife interactions to minimize human-wildlife conflict for coexistence.

Target 4 builds on the ambition of Goal A by setting the stage for action to halt human-induced extinction (especially for threatened species) restore genetic diversity, maintain species’ adaptive potential, and minimize human-wildlife conflict, all essential for halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and putting nature on a path to recovery.

This target recognizes the importance of reducing threats to wildlife, both intentional (e.g., reprisals against large land mammals that may damage crops or threaten human life or livestock) and unintentional (e.g., competing demands for the use of ecosystems and other resources, roadkill and marine by-catch). 

Genetic diversity is the foundation of species’ ability to adapt and a key component of ecosystem function and resilience. Expected genetic diversity loss due to decreased population sizes and lost habitat are also severe threats to biodiversity. 

Significance for Canada 

Although species will benefit from actions associated with many other targets (e.g., that focus on area-based protection and restoration), Target 4 addresses those that require targeted species-specific actions to recover, including genetic management or genetic rescue, population supplementation, breeding programs, etc. It is highly relevant for Canada’s efforts to recover species at risk. 

Action on this target will need to include species beyond those listed under the federal Species at Risk Act to be effective, including those assessed (and not yet listed) as at risk by COSEWIC and species on COSEWIC candidate lists for assessment for each of the major taxon groups. 

Human-wildlife conflict is a serious issue in many parts of Canada, including within and around protected areas and urban areas. 

Target 5: Ensure that the use, harvesting and trade of wild species is sustainable, safe and legal, preventing overexploitation, minimizing impacts on non-target species and ecosystems, and reducing the risk of pathogen spill-over, applying the ecosystem approach, while respecting and protecting customary sustainable use by indigenous peoples and local communities.

Target 5 addresses direct exploitation of wild populations of species. This is the largest direct driver of biodiversity loss in marine ecosystems and the second largest in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems globally. Overexploitation is commonly defined as deliberate and/or unintentional harvesting of biological resources (flora and fauna) at unsustainable levels through activities such as logging, fishing and hunting. 

In addition to the threat of overexploitation, this target now addresses the risk of impacts on non-target species and ecosystems and the risk of pathogen spillover associated with wildlife trade. 

Minimizing impacts on non-target species helps to address the issue of bycatch, the predominant driver of the decline of a significant number of marine and freshwater fauna. The inclusion of wildlife trade, which can be unsustainable in many respects, has been growing as a threat on a global scale and has been implicated in pathogen spillover risk. 

Significance for Canada 

In Canada, overexploitation through both direct and indirect (bycatch) means is very important as a threat. For marine species, overexploitation is the most significant threat. 

Canada does play a role in global wildlife trade through the import and export of animals. Unsustainable trade can and does lead to wildlife declines, and while Canada is a small player relative to other countries at a global scale, its participation does need to be addressed in the broader sustainability context. This includes, for example, the elephant ivory trade. 

Pathogen spillover associated with wildlife trade is not likely to occur within Canada, but as we have seen with COVID-19, Canada will bear the consequences of outbreaks in other places and should therefore support efforts (e.g., the development of an international pandemic instrument) that focus on prevention of pandemics at source.

Target 6: Eliminate, minimize, reduce and or mitigate the impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity and ecosystem services by identifying and managing pathways of the introduction of alien species, preventing the introduction and establishment of priority invasive alien species, reducing the rates of introduction and establishment of other known or potential invasive alien species by at least 50 per cent by 2030, and eradicating or controlling invasive alien species especially in priority sites, such as islands.

Target 6 addresses Invasive alien species, which are one of the main direct drivers of biodiversity loss at the global level.

This target focuses on identifying and managing pathways for the introduction of alien species and taking steps to avoid their establishment in new areas. It sets a target of reducing the introduction of “known or potential” invasive species by 50% by 2030. 

Some invasive alien species are also agents of infectious disease for wildlife, e.g., Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the causal agent of chytrid fungal disease and spread mainly through trade in amphibians, and Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus causing white-nose syndrome in North American bats. A changing climate will exacerbate this threat in many circumstances. 

Significance for Canada 

Invasive species are certainly a major threat in Canada for terrestrial and aquatic species and ecosystems and coordinated attention is required across all areas of Canada. Most provinces have initiatives (e.g., Invasive Species Councils or inter-ministerial working groups) devoted to invasive species management, but only Ontario and BC have legislation or regulation focused on invasive species with the primary objective of biodiversity conservation (as opposed to protecting agriculture or forestry, e.g., weed control acts). 

Implementation of Target 6 in Canada would provide an opportunity to re-examine and coordinate the approach taken across Canada and improve accountability for managing and addressing this pervasive threat. There are many effective local programs occurring across Canada—the challenge is to scale these up. This will involve strengthening how we identify invasive species and prioritize action to address environmentally harmful invasive species by, for example, developing a national priority list. Preventing the introduction of invasive alien species in the first place is more cost-effective than attempting to eradicate alien species once they become established. 

Target 7: Reduce pollution risks and the negative impact of pollution from all sources, by 2030, to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, considering cumulative effects, including: reducing excess nutrients lost to the environment by at least half including through more efficient nutrient cycling and use; reducing the overall risk from pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals by at least half including through integrated pest management, based on science, taking into account food security and livelihoods; and also preventing, reducing, and working towards eliminating plastic pollution.

Target 7 is intended to focus on all sources of pollution, which is a win for biodiversity action. However, the reality is that each pollution source will likely require its own indicator for action to be effective. 

It is notable that in a last-minute change, the target focuses on risk reduction rather than usage reduction (which appeared in most previous drafts). The agreement’s language focuses on reducing risks from things like pesticides and chemicals rather than reducing their use. 

This target has wide-ranging implications for food security, links with climate mitigation and fertilizer use, and ongoing discussions towards a developing Global Plastics Treaty. 

Significance for Canada 

Pollution is a large umbrella for a variety of impacts, including many “emerging” pollutants, such as noise, light and plastics. 

Most efforts in Canada, including the revised Canadian Environmental Protection Act, are focused on the human impacts of pollutants, whereas impacts on biodiversity are dealt with through more piecemeal efforts. The partial plastics ban will be helpful to biodiversity and should be integrated into an emerging Canadian NBSAP. 

A focus on language emphasizing usage reduction, as was included in previous drafts of the GBF, rather than risk reduction would serve as a more effective foundation for Canada’s biodiversity plan. 

Attention is growing on noise pollution control, mostly focused in marine areas, and on light pollution, and these efforts need to be accelerated in Canada. 

The issue of excess nutrients entering waterbodies is well known in places like Lake Erie, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe and points to the need to expand and scale-up nutrient management programs. 

Target 8: Minimize the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity and increase its resilience through mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction actions, including through nature-based solution and/or ecosystem-based approaches, while minimizing negative and fostering positive impacts of climate action on biodiversity.

Target 8 focuses on climate change as a driver of biodiversity loss, which is increasing in importance. This target works together with Target 11 (nature’s contributions to people, which includes climate regulation). 

The inclusion of “Nature-based solutions” should allow for better coordination of international efforts to address climate change and biodiversity loss together.  However, developing countries were not successful in embedding the concept of “common but differentiated responsibility” that reflects different levels of contribution to a global problem and has been integral to implementing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

The call to minimize negative, and foster positive, impacts for biodiversity when pursuing climate action acknowledges that we must consider impacts to nature from climate action, (e.g., understanding both the synergies and the trade-offs).

One shortcoming of the GBF is the lack of explicit recognition of the outsized impacts of climate change on particular ecosystems, such as such as coral reefs, mountains and ice-related habitats. 

Significance for Canada 

This target can be made stronger and tailored to Canada by prioritizing conservation action in high-carbon ecosystems, particularly those with irrecoverable carbon (e.g., peatlands, for which Canada has 25% global responsibility) that we cannot afford to lose if we want to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

We also need to ensure that all climate mitigation and adaptation efforts avoid negative impacts on biodiversity and instead, wherever possible, optimize biodiversity co-benefits. 

As well, we need to embrace nature-based climate solutions in climate plans and policies in a consistent and well-defined way and be intentional about safeguarding species and ecosystems that are particularly vulnerable to climate change in Canada. 

TARGETS 9-13: MEETING HUMAN REQUIREMENTS THROUGH SUSTAINABLE USE
Target 9: Ensure that the management and use of wild species are sustainable, thereby providing social, economic, and environmental benefits for people, especially those in vulnerable situations and those most dependent on biodiversity, including through sustainable biodiversity-based activities, products and services that enhance biodiversity, and protecting and encouraging customary sustainable use by indigenous peoples and local communities.
This is the first of the targets that focus on benefits to people from biodiversity, namely the direct human use of species and ecosystems. The main actions related to this target will centre around the sustainable management of wild species. This will require management that accounts for various uses of biodiversity (both consumptive and non-consumptive), while at the same time managing the demand for these. The target also addresses conservation of biodiversity in domesticated species and improving agricultural and aquaculture productivity and sustainability. 

Significance for Canada 

The use of wild species in Canada is much more prevalent than most people realize. Many Canadians rely on wild species for food, livelihoods and products like medicines, cosmetics and recreation. Forestry, aquaculture and fisheries industries in Canada all use and consume wild species. Only through effectively conserving wild species and keeping ecosystems healthy can we continue to meet these demands. 

One area not well addressed in the agreement that can be enhanced in Canada’s NBSAP is the importance of cultural keystone species, such as salmon and sturgeon. 

Target 10: Ensure that areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry are managed sustainably, in particular through the sustainable use of biodiversity, including through a substantial increase of the application of biodiversity friendly practices, such as sustainable intensification, agroecological and other innovative approaches contributing to the resilience and long-term efficiency and productivity of these production systems and to food security, conserving and restoring biodiversity and maintaining nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services.

Target 10 reflects the fact that globally, land-use change driven by the expansion of agriculture is the largest driver of terrestrial biodiversity loss. Therefore, sustainable management and use of terrestrial and aquatic food production systems is key to reducing pressures on biodiversity and for ensuring food security. 

The inclusion of “sustainable intensification” was a concession made during negotiations. 

Significance for Canada 

Previous Canada biodiversity strategies have not included targets that address production systems as a threat to biodiversity. 

Generally, it is assumed in Canada that current laws and regulations are successfully minimizing damage to biodiversity from agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries, but cumulative threats in particular are increasing and are poorly addressed. A stronger focus on directly addressing the biodiversity threats posed by production systems in Canada is needed, along with strategies for better supporting biodiversity within agriculture and managed ecosystems, within the context of efforts to sustain food production in a changing climate and amid shifting land pressures. 

Target 11: Restore, maintain and enhance nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services, such as regulation of air, water, and climate, soil health, pollination and reduction of disease risk, as well as protection from natural hazards and disasters, through nature-based solutions and/or ecosystem-based approaches for the benefit of all people and nature.
Target 11 focuses on nature’s contributions to people, including services provided by ecosystems, such as regulating water flow, preventing erosion or filtering pollutants, and climate regulation. It recognizes the importance of nature-based solutions. 

Significance for Canada 

Implementation of this target in Canada should prioritize action in places that provide high level of ecosystem services, allowing for the most efficient use of resources and capacity to ensure that these important services are maintained and/or restored. 

Actions to reach this target include reducing the direct pressures on the ecosystems that provide services related to the regulation of air quality, hazards and extreme events and quality and quantity of water (T 1, 4-6), proactive measures to conserve and restore key ecosystems (T2-3), and to create or re-create green and blue spaces in urban areas (T11). Further actions towards this target could also help to addressed proposed targets related to climate change mitigation adaption and disaster risk reduction (T8), ensuring benefits for people (T9) and the productivity, sustainability and resilience of biodiversity in agricultural and other managed ecosystems (T10). 

Target 12: Significantly increase the area and quality and connectivity of, access to, and benefits from green and blue spaces in urban and densely populated areas sustainably, by mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and ensure biodiversity-inclusive urban planning, enhancing native biodiversity, ecological connectivity and integrity, and improving human health and well-being and connection to nature and contributing to inclusive and sustainable urbanization and the provision of ecosystem functions and services.

Target 12 recognizes that green and blue spaces (i.e., areas of vegetation, inland and coastal waters generally in or near urban areas) have a range of positive effects on human physical and mental wellbeing and deserve particular attention in the face of growing land scarcity and competing land usages. 

The focus on urban areas is a new element in the agreement and was not a component of the Aichi Targets. 

Significance for Canada 

Canada is a highly urbanized country. Many municipalities in Canada are increasingly concerned about the state of nature and creating urban protected areas is in the federal mandate for ECCC. 

The critical importance of urban nature has been demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which access to green spaces in cities and the countryside has been an important factor in supporting health and wellbeing. 

Some cities (e.g., Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver) have already prepared biodiversity strategies. Particular attention to this target as part of Canada’s NBSAP could promote the need for urban planning and design to intentionally consider the value of nature. 

Target 13: Take effective legal, policy, administrative and capacity-building measures at all levels, as appropriate, to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits that arise from the utilization of genetic resources and from digital sequence information on genetic resources, as well as traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and facilitating appropriate access to genetic resources, and by 2030 facilitating a significant increase of the benefits shared, in accordance with applicable international access and benefit-sharing instruments.
Target 13 is closely tied with Goal C on increasing the benefits shared from the utilization of genetic resources. The target focuses on developing effective legal, policy, administrative and capacity-building measures to support that goal. 

Significance for Canada 

Currently, Canada is not a Party to the Nagoya Protocol, the main instrument for addressing this issue globally. 

As well, there is currently no single, comprehensive access and benefit-sharing (ABS) system in place in Canada to govern access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge or to facilitate the sharing of benefits arising from their use. 

TARGETS 14-23: TOOLS AND SOLUTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND MAINSTREAMING
Target 14: Ensure the full integration of biodiversity and its multiple values into policies, regulations, planning and development processes, poverty eradication strategies, strategic environmental assessments, environmental impact assessments and, as appropriate, national accounting, within and across all levels of government and across all sectors, in particular those with significant impacts on biodiversity, progressively aligning all relevant public and private activities, fiscal and financial flows with the goals and targets of this framework.

Target 14 envisions full integration of biodiversity and its values into policies, regulations, planning and development processes, as well as environmental assessments across all levels of government and across all sectors. 

Importantly, the final text includes no mention of the mitigation hierarchy or infrastructure impacts, which both appeared in previous drafts. For example, Infrastructure development (e.g., roads) acts as a catalyst for ecosystem degradation in many areas and the mitigation hierarchy is the most widely used tool for managing impacts to biodiversity at the project level. 

There are two key components to this target: on-the-ground development and supply chains that drive on-the ground development. 

The actions in Target 1 (spatial planning) will be important to support the implementation of this target. 

Significance for Canada 

This target should increase the consideration and coverage of biodiversity in various policies, laws and regulations, planning processes, etc.  But it also needs to spur an effort to make these policies stronger – in order to better reflect the needed transformative change – by including budgets, frameworks, and metrics, as well as effective enforcement measures. 

Implementation of Target 14 in Canada could provide an opportunity for development of a whole-of-government policy for mainstreaming biodiversity and addressing project-level biodiversity impacts that centre on a strong application of the mitigation hierarchy, in keeping with the federal government’s commitment to develop and implement a “climate lens.”

A broader focus on achieving biodiversity targets at geographic or sectoral levels would also improve on the current focus on mitigating individual project impacts. Tools like Regional and Strategic Assessments and spatial planning should be more fully embraced. 

Finally, for countries like Canada that have large global supply chain footprints or global trade volume, there will be a need to pay attention to both domestic trade/development and trade impact/value chain impact along its global supply chain. 

Your Title GoTarget 15: Take legal, administrative or policy measures to encourage and enable business, and in particular to ensure that large and transnational companies and financial institutions: (a) Regularly monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, including with requirements for all large as well as transnational companies and financial institutions along their operations, supply and value chains and portfolios; (b) Provide information needed to consumers to promote sustainable consumption patterns; (c) Report on compliance with access and benefit-sharing regulations and measures, as applicable; in order to progressively reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, increase positive impacts, reduce biodiversity-related risks to business and financial institutions, and promote actions to ensure sustainable patterns of production.es Here

Target 15 is particularly aimed at the development sector and the entry point is “biodiversity disclosure”. It increases the onus on large and transnational companies and financial institutions to track and manage their global biodiversity impact footprint.

Similar to how companies are being asked to disclose climate risk, Target 15 envisions governments requiring companies to disclose biodiversity risks, such as the impact of their activities on species or their vulnerability to biodiversity decline or impairment.  Unfortunately, a requirement to make this disclosure mandatory was dropped from the final agreement text, as was a requirement for mandatory monitoring of impacts.

A big challenge for disclosure is the lack of clear and simple indicator system available to businesses, which leads to each company developing disclosure protocols to fit their own needs and business type. The actions in Target 1, 2, 3 addressing baseline development and measurement development can support this target a lot.

We expect that government action in pursuit of this target will increase pressure on business to act on biodiversity protection and better monitor and report on progress. 

Significance for Canada 

recent analysis discovered that only one-third of Canadian companies report on biodiversity loss. Implementation of this target in Canada could not only hasten the trend of large multinational companies and financial institutions improving their own disclosure performance, but it could also give Indigenous peoples and communities, and civil society, better insight into corporate activities and impacts. 

Transparency is fundamental for understanding the footprint and dependencies of development. Disclosure, no matter how preliminary it can be at the beginning, is an excellent start to improving transparency. The global Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures has Canadian member companies and organizations and is increasingly being used as a framework to shift financial flows to nature-positive outcomes. Formalizing this at a national level and tailoring to a Canadian context would strengthen implementation, as Canada has committed as a signatory to the G7 2030 Nature Compact. 

Target 16: Ensure that people are encouraged and enabled to make sustainable consumption choices including by establishing supportive policy, legislative or regulatory frameworks, improving education and access to relevant and accurate information and alternatives, and by 2030, reduce the global footprint of consumption in an equitable manner, including through halving global food waste, significantly reducing overconsumption, and substantially reducing waste generation, in order for all people to live well in harmony with Mother Earth.

Target 16 addresses the fact that overconsumption at the root of the biodiversity and climate crises. Current food systems are major drivers of biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change. 

This Target recognizes the importance of going beyond direct conservation and restoration of nature to include an effort to transition to more sustainable consumption and production paradigms. However, the term “circular economy” was lost from this target in the final version of the text. 

This GBF target corresponds with Goal 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Responsible Consumption and Production. 

Significance for Canada 

Currently just about all laws in Canada that have safeguards for biodiversity are focused on mitigation of impacts rather than avoidance and have nothing to say about setting limits on consumption. 

Efforts to develop more circular economic practices are highly siloed and not far advanced in Canada compared to Europe and countries like Japan and China. 

Canada’s “ambition” for SDG Goal 12 (sustainable consumption and production) is currently limited to “the purchase of zero-emission vehicles” and “extending the lifespan of products through repair and refurbishment.” 

Target 17: Establish, strengthen capacity for, and implement in all countries in biosafety measures as set out in Article 8(g) of the Convention on Biological Diversity and measures for the handling of biotechnology and distribution of its benefits as set out in Article 19 of the Convention.

Target 17 addresses the use of synthetic biology – technologies that allow humans to make precise alterations to the genes of organisms. 

Synthetic biology applications have important positive and negative implications for biodiversity conservation depending on how they are used. Potential benefits range from protecting threatened species to providing synthetic alternatives to wildlife products. Potential detrimental effects include changes to ecological roles played by target organisms, and negative impacts on the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities that depend on biodiversity.

Significance for Canada

There is already a rich community of practice of synthetic biology in place in Canada, but strategic integration of such efforts into biodiversity conservation actions is largely absent today.  Inclusion of target 17 into Canada’s NBSAP would better ensure that synthetic biology applications can be harnessed for their benefits while limiting the negative impacts on species and ecosystems in Canada, with an eye toward net benefits. 

Target 18: Identify by 2025, and eliminate, phase out or reform incentives, including subsidies, harmful for biodiversity, in a proportionate, just, fair, effective and equitable way, while substantially and progressively reducing them by at least 500 billion United States dollars per year by 2030, starting with the most harmful incentives, and scale up positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Target 18 recognizes that inadequate finance was undoubtedly a key reason for the failure to achieve the Aichi Targets by 2020. A substantial gap for funding biodiversity persists. The KMGBF seeks to address this not only by emphasizing larger financial commitments by countries (T19), but by ending subsidies harmful to biodiversity by 2030. Repurposing, or eliminating subsidies across the economy (including agriculture, construction, forestry, fossil fuels, marine capture fisheries, transport and water sectors) could help unlock the financing needed to promote positive actions to safeguard biodiversity. 

Addressing this target will require attention to resolve policy incoherence within domestic laws and policies to prevent harmful net biodiversity outcomes. 

The text includes mention of positive incentives “for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity” that should be increased. 

Significance for Canada 

More attention in Canada has been paid to fossil fuel subsidies than harmful incentives that affect biodiversity (although there is a great deal of overlap between the two). Subsidies that can be harmful to biodiversity include those for roads and transmission lines, mineral exploration, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, etc.  Subsidies meant to drive the transition away from fossil fuels will need to intentionally consider impacts on biodiversity (e.g., building roads to access natural resources, thereby inducing growth in ecologically intact areas).

Canada has already committed in the G7 2030 Nature Compact to review and better align federal financial flows and policies to meaningfully consider biodiversity outcomes, which should certainly be reflected in its NBSAP. 

Target 19: Substantially and progressively increase the level of financial resources from all sources, in an effective, timely and easily accessible manner, including domestic, international, public and private resources, in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention, to implement national biodiversity strategies and action plans, by 2030 mobilizing at least 200 billion United States dollars per year.
Target 19: Substantially and progressively increase the level of financial resources from all sources, in an effective, timely and easily accessible manner, including domestic, international, public and private resources, in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention, to implement national biodiversity strategies and action plans, by 2030 mobilizing at least 200 billion United States dollars per year.

Target 19 reflects the reality that significant financial resources for implementation and capacity-building from both government and the private sector are going to be required to reach the KMGBF targets. Financial commitments from Global North countries comprise both funding needed for domestic implementation and overseas development assistance (ODA). This target works together with T18 (eliminating harmful subsidies). 

These efforts need to be better coordinated internationally to ensure a more equitable and fairer sharing of the costs of addressing biodiversity loss. 

Significance for Canada 

Canada’s NBSAP should include both financial mobilization for domestic implementation of nature conservation and funding for international assistance. 

With respect to domestic funding, continued and increased funding levels aligned with the agreement’s ambition along with implementing a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach will be necessary (see Green Budget Coalition). The commitment to complete publicly available funding agreements with provinces and territories that include commitments to the GBF targets and P/T support for specific Indigenous-led conservation initiatives (IPCAs and Guardians) that make measurable contributions to GBF targets and commit to agreed-to protection standards should also be included. 

With respect to the international assistance, Canada has pledged increasing levels of funding. An NBSAP can solidify this commitment for future years and provide details for how funds will be distributed. 

Target 20: Strengthen capacity-building and development, access to and transfer of technology, and promote development of and access to innovation and technical and scientific cooperation, including through South-South, North-South and triangular cooperation, to meet the needs for effective implementation, particularly in developing countries, fostering joint technology development and joint scientific research programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and strengthening scientific research and monitoring capacities, commensurate with the ambition of the goals and targets of the framework.
Target 20 is devoted to capacity building, which will be necessary to bolster, particularly in Global South countries, implementation of the targets. This includes not only enhanced expertise, but institutional capacity, as well as tools and technology. They key elements are (1) improving the knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes of individuals (2) strengthening the organizational capacity of Parties, including enhancing biodiversity governance, and (3) strengthening the enabling environment (e.g., policy and regulatory frameworks, resource mobilization, and even political support). 

Significance for Canada

While the orientation of the GBF is mostly on Global South countries, the relatively small population of Canada distributed over an enormous landbase with distributed governance means there are clear capacity limitations in this country that must be addressed in order to achieve the biodiversity targets.

For example, there are differing capacity levels among P/T governments, local communities, civil society and Indigenous communities – entities that will carry significant responsibilities for implementation.  It is evident that the scaled-up ambition of the targets will require corresponding scaled up capacity for implementation across governments and society that will require deliberate attention in Canada’s NBSAP. 

Target 21: Ensure that the best available data, information and knowledge, are accessible to decision makers, practitioners and the public to guide effective and equitable governance, integrated and participatory management of biodiversity, and to strengthen communication, awareness-raising, education, monitoring, research and knowledge management and, also in this context, traditional knowledge, innovations, practices and technologies of indigenous peoples and local communities should only be accessed with their free, prior and informed consent, in accordance with national legislation.

Target 21 recognizes that data, information and knowledge need to be collected and made accessible for managers to create policy and track the effectiveness of actions. 

This target has several components:

1) Improved accessibility to relevant biodiversity data, information and knowledge,

2) communication, awareness-raising, education,

3) knowledge management,

4) monitoring,

5) research, and

6) knowledge, innovations, practices and technologies of Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Significance for Canada 

The large geographic extent of this federation and separation of responsibilities for natural resources and other relevant elements of biodiversity in the hands of the provinces and territories mean that biodiversity-related information is scattered in Canada. 

Implementation of this target in a Canadian context could include a commitment to establish a national inventory for biodiversity information. This could be loosely modelled on the National Pollutant Release Inventoryestablished under the Canadian Environment Protection Act. The goal of the Inventory would be to dramatically expand public and governmental evaluation and monitoring of trends in biodiversity, to drive science-based decision making and to support ongoing biodiversity research across the country. 

Attention to this target will encourage better integration of biodiversity priorities into decision-making, particularly in planning and in investment, as well as for monitoring effectiveness of other actions, including (but not limited to) deployment of offsets. 

Target 22: Ensure the full, equitable, inclusive, effective and gender-responsive representation and participation in decision-making, and access to justice and information related to biodiversity by indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultures and their rights over lands, territories, resources, and traditional knowledge, as well as by women and girls, children and youth, and persons with disabilities and ensure the full protection of environmental human rights defenders.

Target 22 follows on the preamble to the Convention text, which recognizes the “close and traditional dependence of many indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles on biological resources, and the desirability of sharing equitably benefits arising from the use of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices relevant to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components”. 

In the KMGBF, the rights of Indigenous peoples are included among umbrella considerations and in one-third of the targets (goal C and targets 1, 3, 5, 9, 13, 19, and 20). Target 22 has a more singular focus on Indigenous peoples and local communities, driven by the important reality that a significant proportion of the global land area is traditionally owned, managed, used or occupied by Indigenous peoples, who depend on nature for subsistence, livelihoods and health, and whose traditional lands are facing escalating development pressures. 

The target also recognizes the importance of meaningful participation of women and girls, the inclusion of children, youth and persons with disabilities, and the need to protect environmental human rights defenders. 

Significance for Canada 

The development and implementation of Canada’s NBSAP provides an opportunity to display global leadership in recognizing and strengthening the essential role and equitable participation of Indigenous peoples. This will be essential for enabling the transformative change that will be necessary to halt and reverse biodiversity decline in this country. Implementation of this target in Canada can build on the critical foundation laid by the Indigenous Circle of Experts and their landmark 2018 report on Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas “in the spirit and practice of reconciliation” and ongoing Indigenous-led conservation, Guardian, and stewardship efforts across the country. 

At the same time, as noted in a 2022 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples it is equally important that ambitious conservation targets not come at the expense of Indigenous peoples. 

Target 23: Ensure gender equality in the implementation of the framework through a gender-responsive approach where all women and girls have equal opportunity and capacity to contribute to the three objectives of the Convention, including by recognizing their equal rights and access to land and natural resources and their full, equitable, meaningful, and informed participation and leadership at all levels of action, engagement, policy and decision-making related to biodiversity.

Target 23 recognizes that there is increasing evidence about not only the important role of women and girls in biodiversity conservation and resource development, but their relative lack of participation in decision making despite the disproportionate negative impacts they often suffer from biodiversity loss and climate change. 

This target builds on Target 22, which mentions women and girls as a group that have equal rights to participate effectively in biodiversity action and policy. Target 23 is a gender-specific target that not only further affirms women and girls’ equal rights, including access to land and natural resources, but commits Parties to monitoring and reporting on progress made towards gender equality under all aspects of the CBD, including uses and benefits. 

This marks the first time an international environmental agreement recognizes gender-specific access to natural resources, addressing important issues such as the protection of women defenders and gender violence in an environmental context. 

In December, Parties also adopted the Gender Plan of Action, the purpose of which is to “support and promote the gender-responsive implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework” and its associated mechanisms. 

Significance for Canada 

The development and implementation of Canada’s NBSAP represents an opportunity to build on Canada’s efforts related to Women and Climate Change and extend this to biodiversity conservation.

Health and Climate Change represent two themes that represent how different targets work together and must be integrated in actions:

GBF and Health

  • The opening sentence of the GBF: “Biodiversity is fundamental to human well-being” and the acknowledgement of “the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”
  • “Biodiversity and Health” is a consideration in section C, i.e., interlinkages between biodiversity and health and “implemented with consideration of the One Health Approach”
  • Target 5: reducing the risk of pathogen spillover with wildlife trade.
  • Target 12: improving human health and well-being and connection to nature in urban environments.
  • Indirect link in targets that speak to ecological integrity (e.g., Targets 1 and 2).
  • Biodiversity and Health draft decision (CBD/COP/15/L.17), which, among other things indicates that the Quadripartite for One Health, the One Health High‐Level Expert Panel and other relevant expert groups and initiatives will be engaged with One Health dimensions of the convention.

GBF and Climate Change

  • Climate is primarily considered as a direct driver of biodiversity loss (Target 8) but recognition that regulation of carbon is among nature’s contributions to people (Target 11).
  • Nature-based solutions are mentioned in both-targets, but always with ecosystem-based approaches (CBD language).
  • Regarding biodiversity financing, calls for “optimizing co-benefits and synergies of finance targeting the biodiversity and climate crises” (Target 19).
  • Many targets interact with climate, but climate is not mentioned:
    • Targets that focus on spatial planning (Target 1) and land/sea protection (Target 3) will be beneficial for addressing climate change. In Canada, high ecosystem integrity corresponds with carbon-rich ecosystems.
    • Restoration of ecosystems (Target 2) will have climate benefits.
    • Increasing the integration of biodiversity considerations in production systems, through management practices that reinforce biodiversity, can greatly improve the ability of these ecosystems and people to adapt to climate change (Target 10).