This week marks the start of the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), taking place in Montreal, Canada. While the United States remains one of the only countries that has not formally joined the convention, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is looking toward the US government to play an influential role in catalyzing the conference’s overall success. WWF released the following statement from Will Gartshore, senior director for government affairs and advocacy:
“The United States has a long record of bipartisan support for international conservation. The US played a significant role in the negotiations around the Convention when it was being drafted during the first Bush Administration and subsequently signed it under President Clinton. But as with any treaty, officially joining the Convention would require 67 votes in the US Senate. The initial attempt to ratify the treaty in the 1990s was blocked and, since then, the Senate has yet to muster the necessary votes to get to that two-thirds threshold. WWF will continue advocating for the virtues of the US joining the Convention. But in the meantime, there is much that the US can do to align itself with the goals of the agreement and ensure the success of the COP15 negotiations and the 2030 Global Biodiversity Framework that will result.
“The Biden Administration has sent important signals about its commitment to halting and reversing nature loss by proposing to conserve 30 percent of US lands and waters by 2030 and by launching new initiatives to protect global forests, account for nature’s economic value, and mobilize nature-based solutions to climate change. And by appointing the first ever US Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources, the President has elevated the issue and put nature firmly on America’s diplomatic agenda, alongside climate change. All of these moves signal to other countries that the US is in the game even if it is not directly at the negotiating table, and that they should strive for ambitious outcomes knowing the US is taking commensurate actions of its own.
“The other critical role the US can play to further positive outcomes at COP15 and beyond is by mobilizing increased resources for the implementation of a Global Biodiversity Framework and influencing other countries to do the same. As Congress works to finalize a US government funding bill by the end of the year, WWF is making the case that it should include significant new resources to support the conservation of nature, particularly in developing countries that house much of our planet’s remaining biodiversity.”