IEMA's Digital Journalist Tom Pashby attended today's (20th June) Environment and Climate Change Committee and Environmental Audit Committee meeting in Parliament, discussing progress around COP15 and protecting biodiversity, among other topics.

The environment and sustainability calendar is more often seen as being dominated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COPs), rather than its biodiversity twin - the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COPs. This year, with growing recognition of the interconnectedness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies, the much delayed biodiversity COP (COP15) has seen its location change from Kunming, China, to Montreal, Canada.

Closer to home in the UK, today (20 June), two parliamentary committees came together to hear from government about progress made on protecting biodiversity, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework text, and the role of business in the Framework, among other topics.

Baroness Parminter, chair of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee opened the session by calling out the “glacial progress” being made at the CBD meetings which have been taking place in Geneva. Lord Goldsmith conceded that ambition had fallen “significantly short” of where the world needs. He went on to say he has hopes for more positive outcomes, citing a number of “activist” countries taking the lead on biodiversity.

The environment secretary also said, “It’s likely that myself or the PM will play a role. It’s an agenda that the PM has always been passionate about.”

In an exchange which highlighted the difficulties faced by the CBD process in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the conference’s location, Baroness Parminter, referring to reports in media outlets asked the environment secretary for confirmation about whether COP 15 has moved from China to Montreal. He said he couldn’t confirm. Lord Goldsmith said he would be able to confirm tomorrow (21 June).

Sarah Mukherjee MBE, chief executive officer of IEMA, said: “IEMA has been leading the way on linking business, and its supply chains, with the new Framework being written by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and raising ambition on action to tackle the biodiversity crisis. We have been working closely with the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum to connect business and government and to drive forward a more joined up approach to biodiversity goals.”

UKBBF, with the support of IEMA, has been holding a series of roundtables in the run up to COP 15 with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and with businesses. The UKBBF held a round table on 8 June which included the latest information on the conference and a discussion regarding the creation of a nature positive pledge for COP 15.


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