Phase one of the 15th UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15) took place in Kunming, Yunnan Province, from Oct 11 to 15. The conference has set the stage for adopting an effective global biodiversity framework after 2020, with discussions set to resume for the second phase in spring 2022.
A total of 5,396 delegates from around the world participated in the event, which featured both in-person and online meetings. The audience joining the conference through social media platforms in China, according to the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), included 164,994 people on Oct 11 and 109,976 people on Oct 12.
In addition to the first day’s events, meetings with government leaders all over the world and high-level officials took place on the second and third day. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech via video and promised that China would invest 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Foundation to help other developing countries establish biodiversity protection programmes.
Other heads of government also joined the conference virtually including the presidents of Russia, Egypt, Turkey, France, Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, and Papua New Guinea. The UK’s Prince Charles and Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations also addressed the conference virtually.
The last day of the conference witnessed the signing of the Kunming Declaration, also named the Declaration from the High-Level Segment of the UN Biodiversity Conference 2020.The document highlights the key elements required to achieve the ambitious post-2020 framework, including providing necessary means of implementation and appropriate mechanisms to reverse the current loss of biodiversity and ensure recovery; promoting the integration of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the decision-making process; enhancing the national and global environmental legal framework and strengthening its enforcement; and increasing the financial, technological and capacity building support for developing countries.