2020 UN Biodiversity Conference will be held in Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition

UN Conference in Kunming in 2020 – Negotiations on biodiversity targets for 2030

2020 is “super year” for nature, as new global biodiversity targets will be set for 2030. The aim of the targets is to safeguard biodiversity and halt its decline. The new targets will be prepared as the current ones, known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, end in 2020.

The Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity will decide on the targets at the Conference of Parties (COP15) to be held in October in Kunming, China. The Convention is the most important international agreement on the protection of biodiversity.

There is a lot at stake, since biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate around the world. It is important to reverse the trend quickly, because once the rich diversity of nature has been lost, it may never recover. We are completely dependent on the ecosystem services provided by diverse nature, such as the nutrient cycle, pollination and carbon sinks that mitigate climate change. Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of biodiversity and the reasons for its decline.

Preparations for the meeting in Kunming will take place throughout 2020. The negotiations have already begun. The targets are being prepared by an open-ended working group consisting of Finland and other parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity together with organisations, companies and researchers. As the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland has coordinated the EU’s positions together with the Commission.

Follow the preparation of the targets and participate in the discussion using the hashtag #Biodiversity2020 and #luonto2020 for posts in Finnish.

Key issues to be discussed in the negotiations:

  • Biodiversity and Sustainable Use Goals for 2030 for different habitats.
  • Measuring changes in biodiversity.
  • Monitoring the targets by sector.
  • The legally binding nature of the targets and a new evaluation mechanism.
  • The possibility for organisations, municipalities and companies to make their own commitments.
  • Financing and resourcing for actions on behalf of biodiversity.
  • The relationship between the objectives of the Convention and other international agreements, such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • Long-term milestones needed to achieve the vision of the Convention on Biological Diversity for 2050: living in harmony with nature.

Finland calls for ambitious, measurable and clear objectives in the negotiations

As part of the EU, Finland is working to promote ambitious and measurable objectives in order to halt biodiversity loss by 2030. In addition to states, companies, municipalities and organisations are encouraged to make commitments and to step up their efforts on behalf of nature.

At its meeting on 19 December 2019, the Environment Council, under the leadership of Finland, adopted its conclusions on the international negotiations to be held in 2020. In its conclusions, the Council of the EU highlights the critical state of biodiversity and stresses that halting biodiversity loss calls for setting ambitious international targets.

Finland has joined a group of ambitious countries working to safeguard and restore biodiversity and to adopt nature-based solutions both on land and at sea.

Finland is also setting an example through actions: the Government has highlighted the protection of biodiversity as one of its main priorities. The budget for nature conservation has been increased by EUR 100 million at the annual level, and the legal protection of biodiversity will be improved through a reform of nature conservation legislation.

Protected marsh in Northern Finland.

Protected marsh in Northern Finland. © Markus Sirkka

Additional appropriations will be used to protect forests and marshes with the highest value for biodiversity and to rehabilitate and manage degraded habitats to restore their viability, among other measures. Finland supports nature through cooperation with organisations, companies and private individuals.

EU to ramp up negotiations by preparing an ambitious biodiversity strategy

The Parties to the Convention implement the targets of the Convention through legislation, plans and national biodiversity strategies and action programmes (NBSAP).

The European Commission has started to prepare a new biodiversity strategy for the European Union, running until 2030. The strategy is the EU’s contribution to the latest global biodiversity goals. It is intended to set the course for the EU’s commitment to ambitious measures on behalf of biodiversity and to strengthen international efforts to halt its decline.

Dwarf gentian.

Dwarf gentian is an endangered plant species living in semi-natural grasslands in Finland. © Markus Sirkka

The new Commission has pledged to present the strategy within its first 100 days in office as part of the new European Green Deal. The Council conclusions will feed into the preparation process.

The strategy defines the EU’s biodiversity targets until 2030 and will be finalised once the international targets have been set in Kunming.

Finland will begin preparing its national strategy in 2020 once the overall assessment of the current biodiversity strategy and action plan is complete. The EU strategy is an important roadmap for Finland’s national strategy.

The Road to Kunming: important dates

27–30 August 2019/First meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG)

19 December 2019/Environment Council, led by Finland, adopts its conclusions on biodiversity

24–28 February 2020/Second meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG)

18–22 May 2020/Biodiversity Week and meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-25)

27–30 July 2020/Last meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) before CBD COP15

21 September 2020/UN Biodiversity Leaders’ Summit in New York

15–29 October 2020/UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 in Kunming, China

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The objectives of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are the conservation of ecosystems and plant and animal species, the sustainable use of natural resources and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources. Biodiversity is safeguarded through measures that increase the protection and sustainable use of the natural environment, species and their genetic resources.

Picture of misty forest.

© Maire Peuraniemi

The Convention has been ratified by 196 countries, including the European Union. It entered into force in 1993.

The Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP), held every two years, is the highest decision-making body of the Convention. The fifteenth UN Conference on Biological Diversity, known as COP15, will be held in Kunming, China in 2020.

More information on the preparation of the targets

The preparation of the targets is referred to as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, because the targets are being prepared for the period after 2020. In some contexts, the targets are also referred to as the New Deal for Nature and People.

  • Preparation of the post-2020 framework on theConvention on Biological Diversity website (cbd.int)


Marina von Weissenberg, Senior Ministerial Adviser, marina.weissenberg@ym.fi, tel. +358 295 250 321

Kristiina Niikkonen, Environment Councellor, kristiina.niikkonen@ym.fi, tel. +358 295 250 198

The Environment Council conclusions: need for urgent measures to protect and restore biodiversity 2019-12-19

EU environment ministers agreed on Council conclusions on tacklig biodiversity loss from 2020 onwards in the Council meeting on 19 December 2019. The conclusions emphasise the need for urgent measures to protect and restore biodiversity and to promote nature-based solutions. They also underline the importance of ensuring adequate funding to achieve the objectives. The conclusions were prepared under the Finnish Presidency of the EU. 
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