It’s been a year since 196 countries at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Biodiversity Council(COP15) has approved the Kunming-Montréal Biodiversity Framework Agreement (GBF). This agreement is a comprehensive plan of action for nature and people to protect, restore, sustainably use, manage and finance. The full implementation of these goals, combined with the Paris Agreement, is expected to lead to the implementation of a sustainable economy and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The European Union has marked its key role in the process by making significant progress in implementing the agreement’s objectives.
EU commitments and actions under the GBF agreement
The EU has introduced a number of new regulations that include:
- The Non-Deforestation Products Act: this law aims to ensure that consumption in Europe does not contribute to deforestation in other regions of the world. It will take effect at the end of 2024.
- Temporary agreement on the Nature Restoration Act: it aims to restore degraded ecosystems in Europe. This law, once implemented in EU member states, will become a key element in the drive to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. and increasing Europe’s resilience to climate change. It will also support the Union and its member states in implementing their nature restoration commitments under the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework.
- Enhanced monitoring and measurement: the EU has proposed legislation on soil monitoring to help protect and restore and ensure sustainable use. The proposal for a monitoring framework for resilient European forests aims to fill gaps in information on European forests and create a comprehensive knowledge base on them.
- New rules for corporate responsibility in global value chains: the proposal for a sustainability due diligence directive obliges companies to identify and minimize the negative impact of their activities on human rights and the environment, including pollution and biodiversity.
- High seas treaty: allows the creation of large, protected areas in the open sea. This is a step that supports the goal of effectively protecting and managing 30 percent of the land and seas by 2030. The European Union has pledged support for the ratification and speedy implementation of this treaty through the World Ocean Program, which has a budget of 40 million euros. The EU is currently working to speed up the process of its own ratification of the agreement.
- Cooperation with UNEP – World Wildlife Monitoring Center: working together to establish a Global Biodiversity Knowledge Support Service to help countries oversee the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
- Implementation of the New Biodiversity Knowledge Management System: includes an advanced monitoring system using indicators. The tool will be used to observe the progress of the EU and individual member states in achieving global goals, facilitating the exchange of information necessary to fill knowledge gaps in the most efficient way.
- continued cooperation: The EU will continue to work with various partners, including the Team Europe initiative established at COP28 , which promotes supply chains that do not lead to deforestation, as well as NaturAfrica projects and sustainable cocoa production initiatives.
Kunming-Montréal global biodiversity framework – EU funding for action
The EU and its member states play a key role in the international financing of biodiversity efforts, continuing to mobilize resources to support the implementation of the Kunming-Montréal agreement. The Commission announced a doubling of the funds allocated for this purpose, bringing it to €7 billion over the 2021-2027 period. The European initiative aims to redirect funds to investments that support biodiversity. According to the new EU budget, from 2026, 10 percent of. funds will be allocated to biodiversity conservation activities.
The European Commission is currently funding and offering technical support to at least 74 projects that focus on nature-based solutions, with a total financial contribution of €654 million. The inclusion of cities, local governments, and diverse stakeholder groups (from industries such as agriculture, finance and insurance, and water management) promotes the integration of nature-based solutions across all sectors.
Next steps and challenges
The European Union, one year after the adoption of the Kunming-Montréal Biodiversity Framework Convention, has seen significant progress in its protection. However, despite these successes, it still faces a number of challenges that require further action and commitment. One of the main ones is the state of biodiversity in agricultural areas. This requires not only a continuation of existing activities, but also increased involvement and cooperation between different sectors. The Union is actively analyzing whether additional measures or strengthened strategies are needed to effectively implement the Framework Convention. The EU’s action reflects the realization that action on biodiversity is integral to a broader strategy to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.
Reversing the loss of biodiversity and restoring nature is fundamental to our well-being and socio-economic development. Our prosperity, comprising half of the world’s GDP, depends on nature and the services it provides. In addition, protecting and restoring nature is key to success in the fight against climate change, as world leaders just reiterated at COP28. We remain fully committed to implementing the Kunming-Montreal agreement, which, more than ever, is important in our efforts to benefit people and the planet – Maroš Šefčovič, executive vice president of the European Green Deal, inter-institutional relations and forecasts.