COP15, to be held online this October and then in China’s Yunnan province in 2022, is potentially the most important discussion on biodiversity this decade. As 2020 opened the world’s eyes to the impact that a significant decrease in human activity can have on biodiversity, those formulating recovery efforts have vowed to make climate change a priority. Unfortunately, habitat loss and environmental degradation have not captured governmental and commercial attention in the same way emissions figures have – despite the innate connection between the two. Southeast Asia alone hosts nearly 20 percent of global plant and animal species, and includes four of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. Of the region’s three ‘megadiverse’ countries, two have experienced massive biodiversity and habitat loss due to human activity and voracious industries, with almost three million hectares of Indonesian forest lost over 15 years. COP15 offers an opportunity for many Asian countries and businesses, particularly in ASEAN, to take a leadership role and work together in the fight to save biodiversity.
On 28 October, we will examine the outcomes of the first part of the discussions, and look ahead to what Europe and Asia can do together as they look to protect and promote global biodiversity.
The discussion forms part of our Europe-China Dialogue, aimed at promoting greater Europe-Asia engagement and cooperation through a frank and open discussion of areas of convergence and divergence.
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- Ahead of the second half of the talks, will COP15 be known as the COP21 of biodiversity, and produce its own ‘Yunnan Agreement’ that aims to reverse the collapse of biodiversity we are witnessing?
- How can Europe and China best work to protect biodiversity and promote sustainable economic development?
- What can be done to ensure that the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has an impact beyond the talks, and is materially adopted by having its targets enshrined policy?
Member of the European Parliament Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union
Co-Chair of the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Director of the United Nations Environment Programme - International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP)
Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson
Ville Niinistö is a Member of the European Parliament. He coordinates the work of the Greens/EFA Group in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and is a member of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). In Finland, he also serves as a member of the City Council of Turku. Niinistö was Finland’s Minister of the Environment from 2011 to 2014 and has also been the leader of the Green Party of Finland. Before his election to the Finnish Parliament, Niinistö worked as a doctoral student in political history at the University of Turku.
Zhang Ming has had a long and distinguished career in the diplomatic service, specialising in West Asian and North African affairs. Starting his career by working in Chinese embassies in Yemen, Oman and Israel, he later became Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kenya, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat. Prior to his appointment to Ambassador of the Chinese Mission to the EU, Zhang served as Vice-Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Marie Stenseke is a Professor in Human Geography and the Deputy Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. Her research concerns biodiversity, nature conservation and landscape management from a social science perspective. Stenseke’s academic work has predominantly been carried out in an interdisciplinary context and often in collaboration with governmental bodies and other stakeholders. She has been involved in a large number of national and international research projects and programmes and regularly participates in knowledge communication through various special commissions. Stenseke is also a Fellow of The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.
As Director of UNEP-IEMP, established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and UNEP, Linxiu Zhang leads the implementation of a UNEP flagship programme focused on the nexus of climate change, ecosystem services and sustainable livelihoods through South-South cooperation. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources and a Fellow at The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Her research is centered on policy studies related to rural development with a focus on poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods, climate change adaptation and gender. Zhang previously served as the director and deputy director of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy of CAS.
Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.
- By Jamie Shea
- By Jamie Shea
- Area of Expertise
- Eye on the Geopolitical Ball
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence