Biodiversity is an indispensable asset for Earth that provides both basic necessities as well as essential resources and services to all human beings. Over 4.3 billion people, more than half the world’s population, depend on biodiversity for their livelihoods and 70% of the world’s poor and vulnerable live in rural areas that depend directly on it. Today, however, 60% of the world's ecosystems are degraded or unsustainably used. Nevertheless one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction and biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050.
A new post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) is being negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This framework will define targets and pathways for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for the next decade and beyond. Since early 2019, consultation workshops and meetings involving all stakeholders have been organized at the national, regional, and global levels before its adoption at the resumed session of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) which is scheduled for 2022 in Kunming, China.
As the United Nations agency focusing on supporting developing countries to access the benefits of globalized more fairly and effectively, UNCTAD is steering, engaging and consulting with BioTrade partners and key stakeholders to contribute to the global biodiversity framework. In the fifteenth session of UNCTAD’s ministerial conference (UNCTAD15), held in Barbados in October 2021, member States agreed in the Bridgetown Covenant, on the importance to work together towards the adoption of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework during the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. For the past 25 years UNCTAD’s BioTrade Initiative and its partners have been promoting sustainable trade of goods and services derived from biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability criteria. Moreover, UNCTAD’s role in promoting trade in biodiversity products and services has been reaffirmed for over a decade by its 195 Member States.
Incorporating legal and sustainable trade into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework could prompt countries, including CBD Parties, to adopt laws and policies that tackle biodiversity loss and foster the fair and equitable sharing of benefits. Moreover, it could foster the interest of global financing facilities in promoting sustainable trade as a driver for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Legal and sustainable trade, including BioTrade, can be part of the solution. For this reason, UNCTAD and its partners are prepared to continue supporting the global biodiversity framework process with technical and substantive inputs on sustainable use, sustainable trade, private sector engagement and incentive measures.
BioTrade’s contribution to the Framework
For the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, the UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative and its partners are advocating the following:
The Importance of Sustainable Use
Approximately 40% of the world’s economy is derived from direct use of biodiversity. As such, the private sector can play a significant role in curbing biodiversity loss and they already recognize biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as a significant operational risk. Moreover, meeting the three objectives of the CBD will require a transformational change in consumption and production patterns, in which the private sector will play a necessary central role. This creates a strong incentive for Parties to facilitate private sector involvement in the implementation and formulation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Sustainable Trade and its Contribution to CBD Objectives and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
The global economy is shaped by global patterns of consumption and production which are largely driven by trade. Trade is an indispensable component of national economies which affects businesses, societies, and biodiversity. Sustainable trade, including BioTrade, can help orient global trade patterns in a direction that contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the CBD by providing positive incentives for - and promoting private sector engagement in - the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the sharing of benefits. It could also foster the interest of global financing facilities, investors, and businesses sourcing biological resources in developing and implementing biodiversity-friendly practices and in allocating resources to conservation and sustainable use.
The Potential Contribution of BioTrade to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
Discussions on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework have revolved around the need for bold action and ambitious commitments. The concept of sustainable trade, including approaches and models such as BioTrade, can assist in mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies, as called for by CBD Article 6(b). It can also be a tool through which Parties can encourage cooperation between governmental authorities and the private sector in developing methods for sustainable use, as called for by CBD Article 10(e). Furthermore, it can be used as an effective economically and socially sound measure that acts as an incentive for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as called for by CBD Article 11.
BioTrade can also be strongly linked to Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). With the increased implementation of BioTrade in alignment with the Nagoya Protocol, ABS will strengthen the post-2020 framework as a major contribution to Agenda 2030 and key SDGs. As such, incorporating sustainable trade into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework could help Parties orient their laws and policies toward furthering the implementation of their existing CBD obligations.
On 24 March 2021, UNCTAD organized an online workshop in cooperation with the CBD Secretariat with the goal to provide an opportunity to explore the role sustainable trade could take within the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and its implementation. The workshop aimed to convene negotiators, but also business representatives and other stakeholders who are actively involved or interested in the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Discussions focused on how trade, particularly legal and sustainable trade, can support the new framework.
Download: Report of the workshop
On 22 September 2022, UNCTAD organized an online workshop, in cooperation with the ISEAL Alliance and the UN Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS), with the goal to emphasize and strengthen the importance of sustainable trade for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and how voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) can be used as effective tools for achieving biodiversity targets.
Download: Report of the workshop + News article
UNCTAD has been acting as a neutral forum, facilitating engagement among its partners and other organizations under the SECO-funded Global BioTrade Programme: linking trade, biodiversity and sustainable development. UNCTAD, under this programme, has been coordinating and steering discussions on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. It has also been coordinating the production and dissemination of joint contributions with partners and other stakeholders in the form of submissions to the post-2020 process.
So far, the following submissions have been made:
- Contribution Submission: “Initial views on the discussion paper “Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (CBD/POST2020/PREP/1/1)” in April 2019 (In collaboration with: CITES Secretariat, CAF, PromPerú, UEBT and FLEDGE).
- Information note: “Contribution of BioTrade Partners to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework” to the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in August 2019 (In collaboration with: PromPerú, CAF, ITC, UEBT, ABS Initiative, FLEDGE, PhytoTrade Africa, UTPL BioEmprende (Ecuador).
- Information note: “Contributions from the 5th BioTrade Congress on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework” to the OEWG Co-Chairs in December 2019.
- Information note: "Contribution of BioTrade Partners to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework“ in February 2020 (In collaboration with: CITES Secretariat, UNU-IAS, ITC, CAF, PromPerú, UEBT, ABS Capacity Development Initiative and FLEDGE).
- August 2020: ”Review comments on the draft monitoring framework for the GBF” and ”Contribution to the indicators for monitoring elements of the draft goals and targets” by UNCTAD, ITC; United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS); Ministry of Environment and Water (MAAE) of Ecuador; Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) from Lao People’s Democratic Republic; PromPerú; CAF; UEBT; ABS I, and FLEDGE.
- Submission on the “Review of the document on scientific and technical information to support the review of the proposed goals and targets in the updated zero draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework” by UNCTAD.
The collaboration of the UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative, UNCTADstat and partners on biodiversity-based statistics will keep providing valuable inputs to the overall post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Participation in CBD consultations, workshops, and conferences
UNCTAD and several partners have been participating in a series of consultations, workshops, conferences, and meetings relevant to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework since late 2018. These workshops provide an opportunity to share key messages and takeaways to core partners. Moreover, it allows UNCTAD and partners to be active in the discussions and an opportunity to contribute our voice to the exchange of ideas, especially with other stakeholders. UNCTAD and its partners have so far participated in the following:
- December 2018 (Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt): 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 14)
- January 2019 (Nagoya, Japan): Regional Consultation Workshop on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework for Asia and the Pacific
- June 2019 (Bern, Switzerland): Consultation Workshop of Biodiversity-related Conventions on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
- July 2019 (Trondheim, Norway): Trondheim Conferences on Biodiversity
- August 2019 (Nairobi, Kenya): First meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (OEWG1)
- November 2019 (Montreal, Canada): Twenty-third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-23)
- February 2020 (Rome, Italy): Thematic Consultation on Transparent Implementation, Monitoring, Reporting and Review for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework; and Second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (OEWG2)
- March 2020 (Rome, Italy): Thematic Consultation on Capacity-building and Technical and Scientific Cooperation for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
- March 2020 (online): Online Briefing Session on the 2nd Consultation Workshop among the Biodiversity-related Conventions on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
- August – September 2020 (online): Thematic consultation on the sustainable use of biological diversity for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
- January – February 2021 (online): Follow-up workshop of Biodiversity related Conventions on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (Bern II)
- February 2021 (online): Informal virtual session in preparation for SBSTTA 24
- March 2021: Online workshop on trade and biodiversity for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework organized by UNCTAD
- May - June 2021: Resumed sessions of the Twenty-fourth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24) And Third Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3) 6 June 2021: Business and Biodiversity Forum as preparation for CBD COP15
- October 2021, Kunming, China: CBD COP-15 (part one)
UNCTAD has also contributed to the UN Environmental Management Group (EMG) Consultative Process on Biodiversity to the second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG2) on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The submission note Overview of UN System Inputs to the Development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework was circulated by the OEWG co-chairs in January 2020.
Communication and knowledge management
UNCTAD has been supporting the development of strategic knowledge tools, disseminating and communicating through a variety of channels, and being a neutral platform for stakeholders to discuss and exchange ideas. UNCTAD is/has been working on the following activities:
- The 5th BioTrade Congress was held on 12-13 September 2019 during the first UN Trade Forum organized by UNCTAD in Geneva, Switzerland. The Congress focused on the question of how to involve governments, businesses and trade actors in generating the transformational change needed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss. It provided a platform for substantive discussion among trade and biodiversity stakeholders including decision-makers, experts and practitioners, where they could share lessons learned and best practices, as well as propose innovative models and recommendations on how to achieve the 2030 Agenda, its SDGs, and the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity. Six panels were held over the course of two days, featuring over 40 trade and biodiversity practitioners hailing from over 20 countries.
- The 6th BioTrade Congress was held on 09 December 2021 in an online format due to COVID-19-related restrictions. The Congress addressed the role of trade in nature’s contribution to people. Policy recommendations as well as business and civil society actions to seize trade and biodiversity opportunities emerged from the Congress, with the goal to contribute to reducing biodiversity loss and building resilient livelihoods and economies. The Congress was structured with a High-Level panel setting the scene for the event, followed by five parallel sessions on a variety of themes of relevance for biodiversity, with a total of 30 speakers. The post-2020 global biodiversity framework was a central aspect in several of the discussions, such as, evolving tools and approaches for biodiversity and BioTrade, and on standards and certification schemes in the context of BioTrade sustainability.
- Work on statistics: The BioTrade Initiative is working with UNCTAD’s Development Statistics and Information Branch (DSIB) and partners on biodiversity-based statistics to be displayed in UNCTAD’s statistics portal UNCTADstat.
- Discussion on social media and knowledge management: The BioTrade Initiative has been active in disseminating relevant information and news, as well as engaging in discussions on social media.
Future Activities Planned in 2022 :
- 13 – 29 March 2022: Resumed sessions of the Twenty-fourth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24), Third Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3) and the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (OEWG-3
- 2022, Kunming, China: CBD COP-15 (part two) (tbd)
See: Additional information
There may be unexpected changes in the timeline due to the difficulties arising from COVID-19 since the last update in February 2022.
How to get involved in our movement
 2.6 billion people draw their livelihoods either partially or fully from agriculture, 1.6 billion from forests, and 250 million from fisheries, with a total of approximately 4.3 billion.
 An international UN treaty in which its goals are conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits