Synergies and Trade-Offs in the effort to save our natural world: the Global Biodiversity Framework, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Action Goals
Namita Vanmali and Ian Little
The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF – 2022) provides a comprehensive roadmap for biodiversity conservation for the coming decade, outlining actions to halt biodiversity loss and promote sustainable ecosystem management. Comprising 23 action-oriented global targets to be achieved by 2030, it serves as a critical milestone on the journey toward overarching biodiversity conservation goals. Targets 1-8 focus on reducing threats to biodiversity, 9-13 emphasise meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit sharing, and targets 14-23 focus on providing tools and solutions necessary to implement the GBF effectively. By addressing threats to biodiversity and boosting ecosystem resilience, GBF Targets 1-8 strongly align with goals for climate change adaptation, with target eight specifically focussed on minimising the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. There is an emphasis on expanding protected areas, halting species losses and managing invasive species impacts using holistic climate strategies. GBF Targets 2, 10, 11, 15 and 16 all align with climate change adaptation goals by emphasising sustainable resource use, ecosystem restoration and improving ecosystem service provision. While GBF Targets 13-23 emphasise the integration of biodiversity considerations into various sectors, policies, and resource mobilisation efforts, which aligns with climate change mitigation and adaptation goals.
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While GBF Targets 14-23 theoretically align with implementation methods for climate change adaptation, challenges arise in practice where socio-economic pressures and needs conflict with conservation priorities and resource allocations. These challenges include potential competition for resource allocation, funding, land use and opposing interests within various sectors. Balancing short-term economic gains with long-term environmental benefits remains a complex and nuanced task. Integrated strategies that control possible conflicts are required to navigate these trade-offs successfully. The GBF targets and climate action goals both seek a just transition towards sustainability. However, misalignment between the GBF targets, climate adaptation, and SDGs often stems from divergent priorities between emission reduction, environmental preservation and broader development objectives.
Globally the financial cost of the transition to renewable energy dwarfs the funding required for biodiversity conservation. While it is imperative that the world prioritises a move away from reliance on fossil fuels, it is equally important that we recognise the parallel importance of conserving our biodiversity assets. The global narrative around the protection of our environment and commonly used terms like “Nature-based Solutions” should not allow the energy transition agenda to overshadow the biodiversity conservation crisis in terms of financial resource allocation and ongoing global dialogue