A Peek into the Global Conservation Conversation

January 25, 2023 Jennifer Ramp Neale, Ph.D. , Director of Research & Conservation

In December I had the opportunity to participate in the United Nations Biodiversity Conference of the Parties COP15 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Having engaged in the global conversation on plant conservation for several years, I was excited about the opportunity to attend the Biodiversity COP. At the meeting, dignitaries from across the globe gathered to finalize and adopt the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Negotiations focused on refining goals and targets as well as defining indicators to measure and monitor progress toward global biodiversity conservation. 

I traveled with Director of Horticulture Phillip Douglas and we attended in the 7th summit on subnational governments and cities. The summit took place in parallel to the primary negotiations and while national delegates had much of the focus, mayors, governors and city governments across the globe shared the good progress they are making toward protecting biodiversity in their areas. 

As representatives of the Gardens, we spent three days at COP15 listening and observing how the negotiations on the GBF proceeded and gathered ideas on how to enhance the impact and influence of the Gardens on a larger scale. 

We connected with others from across the United States also in attendance representing their cities and organizations as well as met participants from around the world. We listened to talks on science and policy and immersed ourselves in the meeting. The National Geographic Society sponsored an immersive video exhibition highlighting the plight of biodiversity and inspiring visitors to take action. A large robotic plant created by Thijs Biersteker of Woven Studio grew or wilted with the progress of negotiations each day, a fascinating visual representation of the challenges of such complicated negotiations.

The formal adoption of the GBF is a huge step toward slowing biodiversity loss on a global scale. There is now much work to do to implement its ambitious goals and targets. We returned home full of ideas for how to expand our reach both locally and globally. Hopefully our attendance is a step toward furthering collaborative ideas for the conservation of biodiversity in Denver. 


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