New global biodiversity framework unfit for purpose, Friends of the Earth declares

By Edu Abade

The new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) announced today fails to lay the groundwork for the transformational change needed to address the biodiversity crisis. The Chinese presidency adopted the text despite clear opposition from the Democratic Republic of Congo, ignoring a process the Conference of the Parties (COP15) president had laid out.

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) has expressed deep concerns about the way in which the GBF was adopted, just as the environmental federation warns that the corporate capture of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) blocked the pathways that lead to the system change needed to protect biodiversity.

“The text does not stipulate any regulation on corporations and instead promotes greenwashing measures such as “Nature-Based Solutions,” which allow for offsetting for environmental destruction,” says Nele Marien, Forests & Biodiversity Coordinator.

The new GBF does not stop the destructive advance of agribusiness, the main driver of biodiversity loss. Rather, it promotes agribusiness through concepts such as ‘sustainable intensification and innovation.’

Friends of the Earth International Chair, Hemantha Withanage said: “We welcome that the new framework to protect biodiversity does not mention ‘Nature Positive,’ one of the proposed green washing measures that opened up new possibilities for offsetting biodiversity destruction, rather than halting it. However, the same ideas are still there implicitly. There are also problematic references to biodiversity offsets and credits.”

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“Fortunately, the text recognises environmental defenders, and there is recognition of indigenous and traditional territories. However, it is a pity that the document does not recognise them as a specific category for the fulfilment of the objective on protected areas.”

Deputy Director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Mariann Bassey-Orovwuje, said: “Proper oversight of biotechnology developments is becoming harder because of the rising influence of biotechnology/agribusiness lobbies and specifically Gates money.

“While the CBD had agreed on the need for a regular and broad mechanism for horizon scanning, assessment and monitoring, those interests successfully cut down to only agreement on a one-time initial round, narrowed what was supposed to be broad and gutted the references to biotechnology in the GBF to the point of meaninglessness-even to the extent of cutting out references to precaution. The underlying problem is private money buying influence over this convention-just as it has done in the UNFCCC and elsewhere.” She added that to that extent, Friends of the Earth International will continue to work alongside local communities around the world and indigenous peoples, who are building the system change needed to protect biodiversity.

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