UN biodiversity conference 2024 to feature first-ever ‘Trade Day’

UN biodiversity conference 2024 to feature first-ever ‘Trade Day’

With one million species currently at risk of extinction, the state of global biodiversity loss spells trouble for nature and economies.

That’s why back in 2022, world leaders at a UN conference agreed on a global biodiversity plan aimed at protecting and repairing Earth’s biological wealth.

“Be part of the plan” is the theme of this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, marked on 22 May, urging collective efforts across countries and sectors.

To address the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, trade remains a crucial part of the plan, Deputy Secretary-General Pedro Manuel Moreno reaffirms at an event gathering international organisations in Geneva.

“It requires integrating environmental and biodiversity-friendly considerations into our trade and development policies, promoting sustainable practices, reducing waste and pollution, and protecting natural habitats,” says Deputy Secretary-General Moreno in his statement.

Trade, development, and biodiversity going hand in hand

In 2022, trade in biodiversity-based products generated some US$3.4 trillion, accounting for about 17 per cent of global export value. For low-income economies, that share even surpassed 40 per cent over the past decade.

Since launching the BioTrade Initiative in 1996, UN Trade and Development has supported more than 80 countries to promote trade in line with environmental, social and economic sustainability criteria.

The initiative, supported by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, provides a set of guidelines to bolster sustainability across the entire value chain, highlighting core elements such as conservation, sustainable use, the fair and equitable sharing of benefits, and community empowerment.

With the right policy and governance approach – including criteria and principles such as BioTrade − sustainable trade can flourish and, in turn, nourish the very biodiversity on which it relies, while providing livelihood for communities, especially the most marginalised.

Additionally, UN Trade and Development runs the BioTrade Congress series, which has hosted seven editions since in 2012, providing a platform for collaboration and rallying support to mainstream biodiversity into global trade discussions.

“We need joint coordination and accelerated action from all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and civil society, to implement the biodiversity plan and achieve our goals,” Deputy Secretary-General Moreno adds.

UN biodiversity conference to debut ‘Trade Day’

The 2024 Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity is set to shine a bigger spotlight on trade as a catalyst for biodiversity conservation.

The conference, also known as COP16, will take place between 21 October and 1 November in Cali, Colombia.

COP16 will inaugurate a ‘Trade Day’, jointly organised by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the World Trade Organization and other organisations.

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