The Indigenous World 2022: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty under the United Nations (UN), adopted in 1992. The Convention has three objectives: to conserve biodiversity, to promote its sustainable use, and to ensure the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from its utilisation (Art. 1).[1]

The Convention has developed programmes of work on thematic issues such as marine, agricultural and forest biodiversity, and on cross-cutting issues such as traditional knowledge, access to genetic resources and protected areas. All the programmes of work have a direct impact on Indigenous Peoples’ rights and territories. The Convention recognises the importance of traditional knowledge (Art. 8j) and customary sustainable use of biological resources (Art. 10c) for the achievement of its objectives.

In 2010, the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (also referred to as COP 10) adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 thus commenced.

The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) was established in 1996, during COP 3, as the Indigenous Peoples’ caucus in the Convention processes. Since then, the IIFB has worked as a coordination mechanism to facilitate Indigenous participation in, and advocacy at, the Convention through preparatory meetings, capacity-building activities and other activities. The IIFB has managed to get many of the Convention’s programmes of work to consider the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, their customary use of biodiversity and their effective participation. The IIFB has also been active in the negotiations regarding access to genetic resources in order to defend the fundamental rights of Indigenous Peoples that should be included therein.

Continuing concerns around the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 caused a further delay in the much-anticipated 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15) to be held in Kunming, China. A formal High-Level Opening Session took place virtually in October 2021 but the in-person meeting for the adoption of a new biodiversity strategy up to 2050 is now scheduled to take place during the first half of 2022. Instead, a round of online meetings of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24) and its Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3) took place, as well as a series of consultations and preparatory workshops on the many thematic issues covered in the First Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).[2] This document was released in July 2021 by the Co-Chairs of the Open-Ended Working Group charged with facilitating this process: Basile van Havre (Canada) and Francis Ogwal (Uganda).

Highly informative thematic consultations and workshops were also organised around the themes of monitoring, reporting and indicators; resource mobilisations; human rights and biodiversity; and non-State actors.

First Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)

The Post-2020 GBF theory of change covers a 2050 vision with goals and milestones towards meeting this vision, as well as a 2030 mission with 21 action targets.


Source: UN Environment Programme. Convention on Biological Diversity. First Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. CBD/WG2020/3/3. July 5, 2021.

The vision of the framework is a world “Living in harmony with nature” where “By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.” The framework has four long-term goals with corresponding milestones to assess, in 2030, progress towards the 2050 vision:

GOAL A – The integrity of all ecosystems is enhanced, with an increase of at least 15 per cent in the area, connectivity and integrity of natural ecosystems, supporting healthy and resilient populations of all species, the rate of extinctions has been reduced at least tenfold, and the risk of species extinctions across all taxonomic and functional groups, is halved, and genetic diversity of wild and domesticated species is safeguarded, with at least 90 per cent of genetic diversity within all species maintained.

GOAL B – Nature’s contributions to people are valued, maintained or enhanced through conservation and sustainable use supporting the global development agenda for the benefit of all.

GOAL C - The benefits from the utilization of genetic resources are shared fairly and equitably, with a substantial increase in both monetary and non-monetary benefits shared, including for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

GOAL D - The gap between available financial and other means of implementation, and those necessary to achieve the 2050 Vision, is closed.

The mission of the post-2020 GBF for the period up to 2030 towards the 2050 vision is: “To take urgent action across society to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetics resources, to put biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 for the benefit of planet and people”.

The following 21 action targets have been identified:

1. Reducing threats to biodiversity

Target 1. Ensure that all land and sea areas globally are under integrated biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning addressing land- and sea-use change, retaining existing intact and wilderness areas.

Target 2. Ensure that at least 20 per cent of degraded freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems are under restoration, ensuring connectivity among them and focusing on priority ecosystems.

Target 3. Ensure that at least 30 per cent globally of land areas and of sea areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and its contributions to people, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

Target 4. Ensure active management actions to enable the recovery and conservation of species and the genetic diversity of wild and domesticated species, including through ex situ conservation, and effectively manage human-wildlife interactions to avoid or reduce human-wildlife conflict.

Target 5. Ensure that the harvesting, trade and use of wild species is sustainable, legal, and safe for human health.

Target 6. Manage pathways for the introduction of invasive alien species, preventing, or reducing their rate of introduction and establishment by at least 50 per cent, and control or eradicate invasive alien species to eliminate or reduce their impacts, focusing on priority species and priority sites.

Target 7. Reduce pollution from all sources to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions and human health, including by reducing nutrients lost to the environment by at least half, and pesticides by at least two thirds and eliminating the discharge of plastic waste.

Target 8. Minimize the impact of climate change on biodiversity, contribute to mitigation and adaptation through ecosystem-based approaches, contributing at least 10 Gt CO2e per year to global mitigation efforts, and ensure that all mitigation and adaptation efforts avoid negative impacts on biodiversity.

2. Meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing

Target 9. Ensure benefits, including nutrition, food security, medicines, and livelihoods for people especially for the most vulnerable through sustainable management of wild terrestrial, freshwater and marine species and protecting customary sustainable use by indigenous peoples and local communities.

Target 10. Ensure all areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, in particular through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, increasing the productivity and resilience of these production systems.

Target 11. Maintain and enhance nature’s contributions to regulation of air quality, quality and quantity of water, and protection from hazards and extreme events for all people.

Target 12. Increase the area of, access to, and benefits from green and blue spaces, for human health and well-being in urban areas and other densely populated areas.

Target 13. Implement measures at global level and in all countries to facilitate access to genetic resources and to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources, and as relevant, of associated traditional knowledge, including through mutually agreed terms and prior and informed consent.

3. Tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming

Target 14. Fully integrate biodiversity values into policies, regulations, planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies, accounts, and assessments of environmental impacts at all levels of government and across all sectors of the economy, ensuring that all activities and financial flows are aligned with biodiversity values.

Target 15. All businesses (public and private, large, medium and small) assess and report on their dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, from local to global, and progressively reduce negative impacts, by at least half and increase positive impacts, reducing biodiversity-related risks to businesses and moving towards the full sustainability of extraction and production practices, sourcing and supply chains, and use and disposal.

Target 16. Ensure that people are encouraged and enabled to make responsible choices and have access to relevant information and alternatives, taking into account cultural preferences, to reduce by at least half the waste and, where relevant the overconsumption, of food and other materials.

Target 17. Establish, strengthen capacity for, and implement measures in all countries to prevent, manage or control potential adverse impacts of biotechnology on biodiversity and human health, reducing the risk of these impacts.

Target 18. Redirect, repurpose, reform or eliminate incentives harmful for biodiversity, in a just and equitable way, reducing them by at least US$ 500 billion per year, including all of the most harmful subsidies, and ensure that incentives, including public and private economic and regulatory incentives, are either positive or neutral for biodiversity.

Target 19. Increase financial resources from all sources to at least US$ 200 billion per year, including new, additional and effective financial resources, increasing by at least US$ 10 billion per year international financial flows to developing countries, leveraging private finance, and increasing domestic resource mobilization, taking into account national biodiversity finance planning, and strengthen capacity-building and technology transfer and scientific cooperation, to meet the needs for implementation, commensurate with the ambition of the goals and targets of the framework.

Target 20. Ensure that relevant knowledge, including the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities with their free, prior, and informed consent, guides decision-making for the effective management of biodiversity, enabling monitoring, and by promoting awareness, education and research.

Target 21. Ensure equitable and effective participation in decision-making related to biodiversity by indigenous peoples and local communities, and respect their rights over lands, territories and resources, as well as by women and girls, and youth.

Indigenous Peoples respond to the First Draft of the Post-2020 GBF

A Global Thematic Dialogue  for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework was organised by the Secretariat of the CBD, jointly with the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), to provide an opportunity for representatives of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, CBD Parties and other governments to exchange views on the First Draft, with a focus on the following matters:

  • Identifying and discussing key legal, policy, and institutional issues related to traditional knowledge, customary sustainable use, and matters affecting Indigenous Peoples and local communities;
  • Enabling the development of concrete and constructive inputs for the consideration of the Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at its third meeting;
  • Promoting dialogue and building bridges among Indigenous Peoples and local communities, Party representatives, and the Co-Chairs of the Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Dialogue was the third of its kind and was held online in two parts. The first part, held on 2 and 3 August 2021, was open only to Indigenous Peoples and local communities and provided an opportunity to develop their key messages and proposals. The second part, held on 5 and 6 August 2021, was open to Indigenous Peoples and local communities as well as to Parties and government representatives and observer organisations, and was aimed at enabling participants to discuss these messages and proposals from Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The Dialogue had over 275 registered participants, representing 27 organisations of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, 13 non-governmental organisations, 21 governments, 10 United Nations organisations, and observers.

 A report[3] on the consultation constitutes an information document for the 3rd meeting of the Working Group on the post-2020 GBF, including text proposals made by IIFB on priority targets.

Targets 1-8 on reducing threats to biodiversity

Targets 1-3 focusing on conservation of biological diversity are of critical importance for Indigenous Peoples and local communities because most of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found on ancestral lands and waters managed by them. “Fortress conservation” continues to be the norm in many countries with a lasting legacy of dispossession and gross human rights violations in protected areas managed by States and large conservation organisations.

Spatial planning should include demarcation of Indigenous Peoples’ territories and legal recognition of customary tenure and governance systems, including respect for community conserved areas. Indigenous Peoples and local communities are central actors in any decision-making with respect to expansion and management of conservation areas. Their free, prior and informed consent on matters affecting their lands, waters, traditional knowledge, rights and well-being must be ensured.

The restoration initiatives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, including in situ conservation of species (Target 4), have been underlined as important local priorities, as has respecting customary law in the harvesting and trade of wildlife (Target 5).

The IIFB highlighted inter-linkages between climate change and biodiversity on a local to global scale, and the need for equitable sharing of benefits and burdens with respect to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts (Target 8).

Targets 9-13 on meeting peoples’ needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing

Target 9 is closely related to CBD Article 10c on customary sustainable use. IIFB proposed strengthening the text by explicitly mentioning implementation of the Global Plan of Action on Customary Sustainable Use adopted at COP 12, thus ensuring benefits for those most dependent on biodiversity. “Status and trends in the practice of traditional occupations” was previously adopted as an indicator to monitor progress on traditional knowledge under the Convention.

Target 13 pertaining to access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing from its utilisation, already covers associated traditional knowledge under the Nagoya Protocol. However, traditional knowledge is also useful in relation to biological resources and bio-trade, payment for ecosystem services, derivatives, and emerging areas such digital sequence information (DSI). The scope of this target needs to be broadened to deliver additional benefits to Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Targets 14-21 on tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming

Target 20 recognises traditional knowledge alongside science and other knowledge systems in decision-making and management of biodiversity, applying the principle of free, prior and informed consent. This target should enable community-based monitoring and information systems (CBMIS) and reporting by Indigenous Peoples and local communities such as Local Biodiversity Outlooks.

Target 21 calls for an assurance of equitable and effective participation in decision-making related to biodiversity on the part of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, including women, girls and youth, and respecting their rights over lands, territories and resources.

Both are cross-cutting targets, highly relevant for all action targets under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. To overcome the weaknesses of a siloed approach to traditional knowledge under previous biodiversity strategies, it is important that explicit language on Indigenous Peoples and local communities is also included in the other priority targets mentioned above, in keeping with a “whole society” approach in the implementation of the new framework.

These messages on the First Draft of the post-2020 GBF were presented through IIFB statements during the 3rd meeting of the Working Group held from August – September 2021, and have been captured in the reports of the virtual meeting.[4] In November, the Co-Chairs released their reflections on the positions offered by Parties, governments, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and other observers during the 2021 meetings, with a view to moving to face-to-face negotiations in 2022.

The adoption of the new framework – the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity strategy – in 2022, could well prove to be an important milestone in the advancement of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, considering the heightened global awareness of their vital contributions in rebalancing human-nature relationships that are at the core of biodiversity loss, climate change and socio-ecological crises. Indigenous Peoples are offering culture-based solutions as central to transformational change in the coming decade.

Joji Cariño (Ibaloi-Igorot, from the Cordillera region of the Philippines) is an active advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ human rights at the community, national and international levels. She is currently a Senior Policy Adviser with the Forest Peoples Programme (UK). She is co-lead author of Local Biodiversity Outlooks: Contributions of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) and to Renewing Nature and Cultures. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


This article is part of the 36th edition of The Indigenous World, a yearly overview produced by IWGIA that serves to document and report on the developments Indigenous Peoples have experienced. Find The Indigenous World 2022 in full here


Notes and references 

[1] United Nations. “Convention on Biological Diversity.” 1992.

[2] UN Environment Programme. “CBD/WG2020/3/3. First Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.” 5 July 2021.

[3] UN Environment Programme. CBD//CONFERENCES//POST2020//WG2020-03//DOCUMENTS. . 

4  UN Environment Programme. “Meeting Documents. Third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. 14 - 29 March 2022 - Geneva, Switzerland.”

Tags: Global governance, Climate, Biodiversity



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