June 22, 2024

On 20 February 2024, the President of the Republic of Colombia announced that Cali will be the host city for the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 16 CBD) to be held from 21 October – 1 November 2024.

“We bow to the most biodiverse region of Colombia,” said H.E. Gustavo Petro, President of the Republic of Colombia, who mentioned the cultural and biodiverse nature of the city and its region. 
Speaking at the announcement event, H.E. Susana Muhamad, who led Colombia’s bid to host the world’s foremost multilateral meeting dedicated to biodiversity, described COP 16 as an opportunity to consider the people who live on biodiversity and to achieve peace with nature. “Now begins the journey to COP 16,” Ms. Muhammad said.“I recently visited Colombia and met with ministers, officials and leaders of indigenous organizations. I was very impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of all and the preparations underway,” said David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity.

Here are three areas where the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will be expected to accelerate the momentum of action:     

1.    Translate the Biodiversity Plan into resolute national action

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – the Biodiversity Plan –  contains a level and scope of ambition that are unprecedented. It supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds on the Convention’s previous Strategic Plans, and charts a pathway to living in harmony with nature by 2050. 
As Cali beckons, now is the time to accelerate action and show progress towards turning the 4 goals and 23 targets of the Biodiversity Plan into nationally driven action. 
In Cali, Parties to the Convention are expected to demonstrate the alignment of their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) with the Biodiversity Plan. To be effective, NBSAPs will have to embody a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, as the Plan itself does. Monitoring, reporting and reviewing of implementation will be key to driving evidence-based progress. 
The fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI), which will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21-29 May will provide an opportunity to review progress five months before COP 16 gets underway in Cali. 

2.    Mobilize and bolster the means of implementation

Adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation, and access to and transfer of technology constitute essential means to fully implement the Biodiversity Plan. 
Goal D of the Biodiversity Plan pertains to securing the means of implementation and making them accessible to all Parties, especially developing countries, the least developed countries, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and countries with economies in transition.
In the lead-up to COP 16, Parties are expected to move towards closing the biodiversity finance gap of 700 billion dollars per year, and work towards aligning financial flows with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. 
Since Parties have only a few years to achieve the 2030 targets of the Biodiversity Plan, the GEF-8 resources for biodiversity will provide vital support. However, additional and adequate financial resources are needed and should flow through other mechanisms, including the recently established Global Biodiversity Framework Fund.  

3.    Accelerate progress on access and benefit-sharing 

Article 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity sets out rules governing access and benefit-sharing—referred to as ABS—with the aim of ensuring that the way in which genetic resources are accessed and used maximizes the benefits for users, providers, and the ecology and communities where they are found. In some cases, access to genetic resources may depend on using the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs). 
The Nagoya Protocol represents the major way that this is spelled out under the Convention. 140 Parties have already ratified or acceded to the Nagoya Protocol. More countries are expected to become Party to the Protocol ahead of COP 16 in Cali. 
Access and benefit sharing (ABS) lies at the core of the Biodiversity Plan. This is a crucial issue in the negotiations under the CBD. At COP 16 Parties are expected to agree on operationalizing the multilateral mechanism for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from Digital Sequence Information on genetic resources, including a global fund.  Negotiations in preparation for this will be held in Montreal in August of this year.