The UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 15, officially started in Montreal, Canada, this week where between 16,000-17,000 people are expected to attend over the coming days.

The evening of 6th December saw the opening ceremony (you can listen here) with some powerful speeches that included Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who supported the need to protect 30% of land by 2030 (30x30) and halt biodiversity loss by 2030. The UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres called for bold action plans and for businesses to be the ally of nature and for finance to invest in nature.


All eyes are on the 22+ Targets being negotiated in the new Global Biodiversity Framework. Key issues include: Target 14 – the integration of biodiversity into government policy, planning, and regulation; the phasing out of subsidies that are harmful to nature which spans a few of the Targets; and Target 15 around mandatory requirements to be set for business (such as should the Target only be for large business, should it include the supply chain, and should there be quantifiable and temporal targets attached).

Each Target has (sometimes few and sometimes substantial) square brackets that are still to be agreed and the national representatives are working their way through these. If you’re interested in finding out more, background documents can be found here.

But important work is also being done in the corridors, side events, hubs, and external events where businesses, negotiators, NGOs, community representatives, and others, are coming together and having conversations, sometimes over a coffee, and talking through what they consider the key points that need to be agreed and what actions should be taken and how quickly.

There is a larger business and finance presence than usual which suggests a shift in interest for these sectors but also a shift in focus as to who might be delivering reductions to impacts on nature. Many businesses seem to be willing to take on the challenge.

Overall, there appears to be a positive momentum at the conference so let’s hope that this translates into robust, nature positive outcomes in the negotiations.

Next week

What next - the Target negotiations continue and should be finished before 17th December. Next week IEMA is supporting two side events; a Canada-UK business event on 14th December that will include an opening speech by Baroness Penn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury; and on 16th December a hub event ‘Pledge to Action’ with RSPB and WSP.

IEMA has been working with the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum to create a series of four ‘live’ webinar updates from the events in Montreal. You can take part in these if you’re a member of IEMA’s Biodiversity and Natural Capital Network and the next updates are on the 13th and 16th of December at 1 pm.

Find out more

If you want to find out more about COP 15 and the Global Biodiversity Framework being negotiated, read IEMA’s ‘Will This Year’s UN Biodiversity Conference be the Paris Agreement for Nature?’ or watch the supporting webinar.

Photo of Lesley
Lesley Wilson

Policy and Engagement Lead

Lesley is Policy and Engagement Lead at IEMA with a focus on biodiversity and natural capital. Lesley also supports IEMA’s role as Secretariat to the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum, working with businesses to raise the profile of, mainstream, and share good practice in, biodiversity. Lesley joined IEMA in December 2021 after 11 years delivering projects, programmes and solutions for business in the field of environmental sustainability for the British Standards Institution (BSI), including ground breaking standards in biodiversity net gain and natural capital. Lesley has a qualification in business management (MBA) and climate change management, and mentors environmental students at the University of Westminster.


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