UAE environment minister Mariam at COP15 in Canada in Dec 2022
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, also lent support to the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity at the conference Image Credit: Supplied

Montreal: The UAE’ commitment to biodiversity protection has been recognised at COP15 (15th UN Biodiversity Conference) in Montreal, Canada, as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) named the coastal and marine ecosystem preservation and rehabilitation programmes of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) among its top 10 global initiatives for restoring and rehabilitating coastal marine ecosystems.

This came as Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, recently participated in the High-Level Segment (HLS) COP15.

Under the theme ‘Ecological Civilisation-Building, a Shared Future for All Life on Earth,’ the HLS took place in Montreal, Canada from December 15 to 17.

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri-1671775622250
The UAE minister addressing the gathering Image Credit: Supplied

It aimed to enable participating ministers to support the final stages of the negotiations on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and related decisions, with a view to ensuring a successful outcome of the Conference.

The Minister said: “The world is experiencing rapid socioeconomic and environmental changes that are fundamentally impacting our ecosystems. Our success in tackling the growing environmental challenges largely depends on our ability to boost cooperation and join forces to protect our planet and safeguard its biodiversity.”

Almheiri urged other ministers to work together towards achieving the meeting’s objective of adopting the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and raising international ambitions to reverse biodiversity loss and realise the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity of a world living in harmony with nature.

The Minister noted that in line with the vision of its wise leadership, the UAE has consistently worked towards preserving its biodiversity through developing an integrated legislative framework, rolling out related projects and initiatives, and engaging the community in environmental efforts.

She added: “As the host of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), the UAE seeks to present a clear vision and practical processes that scale up ecosystem conservation and harness nature-based solutions in the face of environmental challenges.”

In addition, she attended multiple meetings as part of her participation at COP15, including the Ministerial Dialogue on Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change, the Ministerial International Steering Committee Meeting of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC2.0), the second Ministerial Meeting of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, a side event on ‘Halving the global footprint by 2030: A Leaders dialogue sustainable production and consumption and circular economy’, and a panel discussion on how to ensure the rapid implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

She also participated in two high-level roundtables organised by the COP28 Committee – one that drew on the connection between food systems and climate change, and the other between biodiversity and climate change.

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Post-2020 framework

Moreover, the Minister’s agenda featured bilateral meetings with several ministers concerned with the environment, climate, or food and high-level officials from international organisations to explore new avenues for collaboration aimed at spurring concerted action for environmental protection and biodiversity sustainability.

The main objective of COP15 was to adopt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Draft One of the framework, released in July 2021, builds on lessons learnt from the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. It recognises that urgent policy action globally, regionally, and nationally is required to transform economic, social, and financial models so the trends that have exacerbated biodiversity loss will stabilise by 2030 and allow for the recovery of natural ecosystems, with net improvements by 2050.

After four years of negotiations, a landmark agreement was reached at COP15 to guide global action on nature through to 2030. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) aims to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems, and protect indigenous rights. The plan includes concrete measures to halt and reverse nature loss, including putting 30 per cent of the planet under protection by 2030 and raising international financial flows from developed to developing countries to at least $30 billion per year by 2030.