Photo by UNEP/ Duncan Moore
19 Dec 2022 Speech Nature Action

A Milestone for Nature: From Kunming to Montreal

Photo by UNEP/ Duncan Moore
Speech delivered by: Inger Andersen
Event: Closing plenary of CBD COP 15
Location: Montreal, Canada

It is a great honour to speak here. While this has been a complex journey with surprising twists and turns, we have arrived at a critical milestone and destination. Despite this complexity, we must all pause and take in the vision of the achievements you have made for nature.

Allow me to begin by expressing my deep gratitude to you Minister Huang Runqiu for your leadership as COP president. This has been a complex and long journey, and the steadfast determination of the Chinese Presidency has brought us here – to what the UN Secretary-General called this morning – the beginnings of a “peace pact with nature”. And my deep thanks to Minister Steven Guilbeault of Canada which hosts the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity – Minister your government and the city of Montreal has welcomed us with open arms – and I am truly grateful. And my deep thanks to the delegates. You have carried resolutely, your commitment to environmental multilateralism over the last four years – navigating a global pandemic, navigating virtual negotiating spaces, navigating differences in opinions and so much more – as you have sought to find common ground for nature. And today I salute you for what you have achieved.

And of course, the outstanding leadership of my friend and Executive Secretary of the CBD Elizabeth Maruma Mrema and her terrific team. Elizabeth and team CBD – you have travelled this journey with the Presidency and the Host with unrelenting determination to demonstrate that multilateralism for nature is critical to tackling the challenges that humanity faces. You have my deep gratitude. To civil society. To indigenous peoples and local communities. To the many young people here and beyond. To private sector partners. As 2030 draws nearer, this deal will form a critical and essential underpinning as we embark on the final stretch to reach the sustainable development goals. So let it be said that from Sharm el- Sheikh in 2014, to Kunming in 2021, to Montreal in 2022 - you have kept the pressure up to deliver a truly transformational deal for people and the planet.

And as we end our deliberations here today. We are committed to a whole of society approach to lift the nature and biodiversity agendas, I reassure you that the United Nations stands ready to support you in the rapid implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. But we all know this is the first step – let us pause for but one second to embrace the history we have made here in Montreal – and now let us get down to the business of delivering the Framework – for people and for planet.