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2020 High-Level Political Forum-- Biodiversity Highlights

Nature was high on the agenda at the 2020 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, held virtually from 7 July to 16 July. The annual Forum is an occasion for political leaders to discuss progress on the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and ways to accelerate action on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the Forum, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and partners emphasized that post-pandemic recovery plans offer an opportunity for communities to integrate the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity into policies to strengthen resilience and human development. 

Here are four key moments for nature at HLPF.

High-Level Political Forum


1.    Building back better after COVID-19 

With COVID-19 gripping the world’s attention, many HLPF discussions focused on the recovery and how to reduce the risk of future pandemics. The UN Economic and Social Council held a discussion on how to build back better and protect people and planet, with a focus on action in areas that will have the greatest impact on the SDGs.

Along with ministers and diplomats from Colombia, Suriname and Sweden, the Executive Secretary discussed engaging public and private sector partners to halt nature degradation, reverse biodiversity loss and build community resilience.  Panellists highlighted emerging opportunities and innovative nature-based solutions to help eradicate poverty, ensure food security, promote gender equality and secure livelihoods for all.

"Conserving and sustainably using biodiversity must be at the core of our COVID-19 recovery and future sustainable development pathways."- Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary

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2.    The post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the SDGs

Attended by government ministers, heads of international organizations and civil society groups, this CBD Secretariat side event underscored the need for urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development. 

The Co-Chairs of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, Basile van Havre and Francis Ogwal, briefed participants on the progress made towards the development of the framework. Speakers shared new thinking on biodiversity in the context of sustainable development and discussed how the framework can contribute to a more resilient post-COVID world. 

"Only by working together, can the concept of green development be deeply rooted in the hearts of people, the journey towards the building of a global ecological civilization be smooth and productive, and people’s aspiration for green development be turned into reality." – Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China

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3.    Nature-based solutions for people and planet

The event ‘Accelerating Transformation to Achieve the 2030 Agenda’ focused on practical examples of how nature-based solutions contribute to the delivery of the SDGs. CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema joined diplomats, heads of UN agencies and other international organizations and civil society groups in a discussion about how conservation and sustainable use of natural resources strengthens human wellbeing.

The event ended with a call to action for countries to scale up investment in nature.  
“The awareness has never been greater. The science has never been clearer. The political commitment has never been a greater... So next year is the year where we can actually crystallize the vision, crystallize our targets and begin to take action with more ambition than ever before.” - Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.

"Nature-based solutions are key to choices people, communities and economies face in COVID-19 recovery and will affect the trajectory of the coming decade."- Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

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4.    Societies in harmony with nature

A virtual event on the Satoyama Initiative brought together experts from government, academia and civil society to share insights on sustainable management of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes. Panellists discussed lessons learned from Satoyama Initiative projects on community development and sustainable use of biodiversity that may be applied to advance the SDGs and a green recovery from COVID-19.

High-Level Political Forum


"What we have with the COVID-19 crisis is a basic conflict between humans and nature. Satoyama Initiative for me is the cure for COVID-19."- Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica

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High-Level Political Forum

The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development placed nature and biodiversity at the core of the UN’s "build back better" vision in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions showed the high level of political momentum around nature-based solutions to confront the challenges the world faces. Maintaining and building on this momentum will be critical to delivering a transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP 15 next year in Kunming, China. 
Road to Kunming