The ‘30x30’ target to conserve at least 30 percent of lands and oceans by 2030 is historic and it’s time to work together on implementation

Montréal, Dec. 19, 2022 – Wildlife Conservation Society scientists and policy experts say the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework has key commitments for nature, but governments will need to treat it as a floor, not a ceiling, for global action to halt the ongoing crisis of biodiversity loss.

Early this morning, 196 governments who are Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which will affect how countries protect and conserve biodiversity for generations to come. This framework replaces the UN Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which included the Aichi Targets, which was adopted in Nagoya, Japan in 2010. As is required by the Convention, the decision to adopt the framework was taken by consensus.

Progress in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework include: enhancing the ecological integrity of our natural ecosystems; conserving at least 30 percent of the world’s land and ocean areas by 2030, also known as 30x30; reducing the risk of pathogen spillover; recognizing the importance of governments adopting a One Health approach to prevent future pandemics of zoonotic origins like Covid-19; including gains in recognizing the key roles, contributions, and human rights of Indigenous Peoples in line with the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and of Local Communities in accordance with international human rights law; and tripling the amount of biodiversity financing needed to meet the ambition in the framework.

Some of the areas where more ambition is needed includes: the document calls for achieving the agenda in 2050, way too late to address the biodiversity collapse crisis. In addition, pathogen spillover is referenced but weakened, as “eliminate” would have been far preferable to just “reducing” the risk of pathogen spillover; and there is a lack of reference to vulnerable or threatened ecosystems.

Joe Walston, executive vice president of global conservation for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said: “The Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework is a step forward for nature, though the dearth of clear targets in many areas means that everything depends on continued political commitment, appropriate financing and, of course, implementation. To the question of whether we should be pleased or disappointed with the outcome of CoP15, it might be apt to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald in agreeing that it is possible to be both delighted at what we have achieved and yet be frustrated at what we have not, and still retain the ability to be effective.”  

Said Susan Lieberman, vice president of international policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society:  “The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework is a compromise and although it has several very good and hard-fought elements, it could have gone further to truly transform our destructive relationship with nature. WCS experts have engaged witth the negotiating process leading up to today for almost 4 years, and we are leaving Montreal with much work to do to ensure governments at a minimum implement the goals and targets of the new framework.”

Said Alfred DeGemmis, associate director of international policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society: “Governments will need to treat the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework as a floor, not a ceiling, for global action to halt the ongoing crisis of biodiversity. If fully implemented, this will make an important contribution to biodiversity conservation. The framework sets out key actions that we will need to take, including enhancing ecological integrity, reducing the risk of pathogen spillover, and conserving at least 30% of our lands and oceans, but it remains vague on the outcomes we need to achieve by 2030 -- with a focus on 2050 deadlines for key conservation goals on ecosystems and species. That will be far too late for us to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and address related challenges such as climate change.”