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39. The global biodiversity targets (Alice Hughes)

December 2023


Many conservation managers and scientists may not be aware that there is a single, common set of global biodiversity targets that inform national conservation strategy in almost every country in the world. These 23 targets are the main part of the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework”, or GBF. The GBF was agreed on by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in late 2022, and the targets are meant to be achieved by 2030. This is a monumental task, considering that the multi-year strategy that preceded the GBF, which concluded in 2020, unfortunately failed to fully achieve any of its targets. The GBF is also accompanied by a monitoring framework of indictors for countries to measure their success toward achieving the GBF’s targets. That monitoring framework is still being compiled, and an “ad hoc technical expert group” has been tasked to guide its development and completion by late 2024. The GBF and its monitoring framework might seem distant and disconnected from on-the-ground conservation but they can be hugely influential on prioritization of conservation worldwide. Conservationists of any kind would probably benefit from a better understanding of what’s behind them, and what’s inside them.

Alice Hughes is a conservation scientist, prolific author of peer-reviewed articles, and Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong, who has published two recent peer-reviewed papers that analyze the GBF. She joins me to discuss the challenges behind the GBF and its monitoring framework, and she is open about her concerns over the setting and measuring of the GBF targets. We also explore how the GBF and its monitoring framework might be improved, or might have been improved.

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