• The EPI Foundation

Clock ticking for Biodiversity


Elephants in Botswana.

Late night wrangling, bleary-eyed delegates, acres of text in brackets, and fraying tempers. By all accounts, the negotiations in Nairobi in June on a draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework were not plain sailing. The Framework - a globally agreed plan to stop the loss of biodiversity - is intended to include a wide array of universally agreed targets, such as protecting 30% of land and sea by 2030 (’30 by 30’), restoring 20% of degraded ecosystems and increasing financial resources. Unfortunately, delegates struggled to find a consensus. The clock is ticking; the UN Biodiversity Summit, due to adopt this Framework, will take place in December in Montreal.

June negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya.

The EPI Foundation attended the Nairobi talks, as well as the talks that preceded them in Geneva, and has made written submissions for the draft Framework. Our ‘Vision 2030’ addresses the challenges African nations face as a result of wildlife and people coming into increasing proximity. We will continue to encourage delegates to include more ambitious and precise language on avoiding and reducing this conflict, for example by prioritising the preservation of biodiversity in long-term spatial planning.

Ministers from the 21 EPI African member states will be holding their own meeting on the sidelines of the summit in Montreal. This EPI meeting will be chaired by Angola’s Secretary of State for the Environment, Paula Coelho. In preparation, the EPI Foundation is working on a shared declaration on Human-Elephant Conflict, (HEC), which will be a powerful statement of the common concern of African range states at this growing threat to human welfare and elephant conservation.

Honourable Paula Francisco Coelho Chairing the EPI Pre-Council of Ministers Meeting.

In November, meanwhile, governments will be gathering in Panama for the 19th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Some Southern African countries are arguing for a resumption in international trade in elephant ivory, as a means of funding conservation. Most African elephant range states worry, however, that this will lead to an upsurge in poaching. Instead, the EPI Foundation believes governments should take a more holistic approach to elephant conservation. Elephants play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and in mitigating climate change. We think there is an opportunity for wildlife conservationists to tap into the financial resources that are now flowing to address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.

We hope those who negotiated so hard in Nairobi can find both the ambition and ability to compromise in the coming months. The loss of biodiversity, collapse of entire ecosystems, and climate change are all inter-related. If we treat them as such, and use our resources in a coordinated way, we stand a better chance of managing them.