Image A view of the hybrid press briefing on the UN Summit on Biodiversity (to start on 30 September). Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, briefs correspondents. ( UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

2020: The Year That Was

Despite the ongoing crisis, much was achieved. Biodiversity gained significant traction as a global mainstream issue and received enhanced media coverage throughout the world.

The year 2020 did not go quite as planned. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to re-examine its relationship with nature, as more people come to the realization that we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy.

Biodiversity is now increasingly recognized as a global asset of tremendous value to current and future generations. The Convention on Biological Diversity is working to ensure the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources.

Here are some key moments for biodiversity in 2020


Second Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group

The second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework saw governments and stakeholders complete the first round of negotiations on the Zero Draft of a global framework on nature and people that seeks to bend the curve on biodiversity loss by 2030, with the goal of building a future of life in harmony with nature by 2050.

See highlights from the meeting:


International Day for Biological Diversity 2020

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The International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May and its theme “Our solutions are in nature” was preceded by a week of daily themes and events, highlighting the crucial role nature plays in addressing climate change, food security and health.

The 2020 World Environment Day and its theme “Time for nature” served to focus global attention on the critical role biodiversity plays in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development.

Learn more:


Global Biodiversity Outlook 5

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The fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook, the CBD’s flagship report and the leading UN report on biodiversity, provided a status report on action we need to take, where we stand, where we need to go, and how to get there, and outlined eight major transitions needed to slow, then halt nature’s accelerating decline.

While the report found that none of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets had been fully achieved, with only six targets being partially met, it also highlighted progress in several areas. In fact, where policy measures were in place, and where actions have been implemented, they delivered results. Bright spots include extinctions prevented by conservation, more lands and oceans protected, and fish-stocks bouncing back in well-managed fisheries. Policy measures do work. But we must do more. 

See the full report:


UN Summit on Biodiversity

Secretary-General António Guterres prepares to address the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity. Source: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
Secretary-General António Guterres prepares to address the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity.
Source: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Leaders from 80 countries and the European Union signed on to the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, launched in support of the first UN Summit on Biodiversity. The Pledge outlines ten actions that will help the world achieve the vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050.

The UN Summit on Biodiversity, held in September, provided an indication of how important an issue biodiversity has now become globally. A record number of nations addressed the summit - nearly 150 countries delivered statements, including 72 heads of state and government.

Learn more about the Summit:
Watch the Summit:


Looking Ahead

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Source: UN Photo/Mark Garten

That world leaders are showing willingness to tackle these issues head-on is a step forward towards ensuring a sustainable future for us all. This political momentum is critical if we are to develop an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework that sets the world on the path to a sustainable future.

We now have a unique opportunity before us, to protect and restore our ecosystems and biodiversity and build back better to increase our resilience to future crises and to ensure human well-being for generations to come. Let’s seize it!