The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was opened for signature in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and entered into force in December 1993. The CBD is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources.


With 196 Parties, the CBD has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The ‘Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety’ and the ‘Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing’ are supplementary agreements to the CBD.


The Cartagena Protocol, which entered into force on 11 September 2003, seeks to protect biodiversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 173 Parties have ratified the Cartagena Protocol.


The Nagoya Protocol aims to share the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies. Entering into force on 12 October 2014, it has been ratified by 135 Parties.


Nearing the conclusion of a sometimes fractious two-week meeting, nations of the world agreed on a historic package of measures deemed critical to addressing the dangerous loss of biodiversity and restoring natural ecosystems.


Convened under UN auspices, chaired by China, and hosted by Canada, the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF), including four goals and 23 targets for achievement by 2030.” (Official CBD Press Release – 19 December 2022, Montreal  

[see link here: PDF version – 469 Kb].


One’s immediate and cynical reaction is that any agreement with this number of ‘goals’ and ‘targets’ is nothing more than words on paper and that we should not hold our collective breath to see whether these lofty ambitions can be achieved:

“By 2030: Protect 30% of Earth’s lands, oceans, coastal areas, inland waters; Reduce by $500 billion annual harmful government subsidies; Cut food waste in half.”

Held at Montreal’s Palais des Congrès from 7 to 19 December 2022, representatives of 188 governments on site (95% of all 196 Parties to the UN CBD, as well as two non-Parties – the United States and The Vatican), finalized and approved measures to arrest the ongoing loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and set humanity in the direction of a sustainable relationship with nature, with clear indicators to measure progress.


In addition to the GBF, the meeting approved a series of related agreements on its implementation, including planning, monitoring, reporting, and reviewing; resource mobilization; helping nations to build their capacity to meet the obligations; and digital sequence information on genetic resources.


For example, The Global Environment Facility was requested to establish, as soon as possible, a Special Trust Fund to support the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework (“GBF Fund”). The fund would complement existing support and scale up financing to ensure the timely implementation of the GBF with an adequate, predictable, and timely flow of funds.


Digital sequence information on genetic resources – a dominant topic at COP15 – has many commercial and non-commercial applications, including pharmaceutical product development, improved crop breeding, taxonomy, and the monitoring of invasive species.


COP15 delegates agreed to establish within the GBF a multilateral fund for the equitable sharing of benefits between providers and users of DSI, to be finalized at COP16 in Türkiye in 2024.


The agreement also obligates countries to monitor and report every five years or less on a large set of “headline” and other indicators related to progress against the GBF’s goals and targets.


Headline indicators include the percentage of land and seas effectively conserved, the number of companies disclosing their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity, and many others.


The CBD will combine national information submitted by late February 2026 and late June 2029 into global trend and progress reports.


The agreement also embodies the now-compulsory global platitudes about ‘climate change’, the ‘needs to foster the full and effective contributions of women, persons of diverse gender identities, youth, indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society organizations, the private and financial sectors, and stakeholders from all other sectors.’ Also emphasized is the need for a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach” to implementing the GBF.

Coral reef. © WiseOceans

The framework’s four overarching global goals



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


  • 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.


  • The monetary and non-monetary benefits from the utilization of genetic resources, digital sequence information on genetic resources, and 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, following internationally agreed access and benefit-sharing instruments.


  • 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 per year, and aligning financial flows with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.


Among the global targets for 2030: 

  • Effective conservation and management of at least 30% of the world’s lands, inland waters, coastal areas, and oceans, with emphasis on areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services. The GBF prioritizes ecologically-representative, well-connected, and equitably-governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories and practices. Currently, 17% and 10% of the world’s terrestrial and marine areas respectively are under protection.
  • Have restoration completed or underway on at least 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland waters, and coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • Reduce to near zero the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity.
  • Cut global food waste in half and significantly reduce overconsumption and waste generation.
  • Reduce by half both excess nutrients and the overall risk posed by pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals.
  • Progressively phase out or reform subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least $500 billion per year, while scaling up positive incentives for biodiversity’s conservation and sustainable use.
  • Mobilize at least $200 billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from all sources – public and private.
  • Raise international financial flows from developed to developing countries, in particular least the developed countries, small island developing States, and countries with economies in transition, to at least US$ 20 billion per year by 2025, and to at least US$ 30 billion per year by 2030
  • Prevent the introduction of priority invasive alien species, reduce by at least half the introduction and establishment of other known or potential invasive alien species, and eradicate or control invasive alien species on islands and other priority sites.
  • Require large and transnational companies and financial institutions to monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity through their operations, supply and value chains, and portfolios


Warns the GBF: “Without such action, there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.”


While I am sure that everyone in the hunting community would agree with the need to protect biodiversity, and many indeed do so in a practical way (by making wildlife valuable to communities that in turn look after their animals), I am equally sure that most readers will share my view that this much-lauded GBF is simply another impractical ‘wish list’ that will be impossible to implement.

Dr John Ledger is a past Director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, now a consultant, writer and teacher on the environment, energy and wildlife; he is a columnist for the African Hunting Gazette. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.