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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

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There is increasing recognition that biodiversity and nature must be considered together with climate. Our societies, economies and food systems depend on the health of nature, but biodiversity is in alarming decline.  

Human action is the cause of this crisis. It is also the only solution. This will require nature positive action from business, government and finance with the inclusion and support of people and communities. The 16th ‘biodiversity COP’ will be an important opportunity to check on progress made to implement the Biodiversity Plan agreed at COP15, and the level of alignment of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) with it. 

What is COP16? 

The 16th meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which includes all UN member states with the notable exception of the United States. The COP is being hosted by the Government of Colombia in the city of Cali, which is located in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. This series of COPs is completely separate from the UNFCCC COPs (such as COP29, being held in Azerbaijan in 2024, or COP28 in Dubai last year) as it focuses on biodiversity rather than climate – although we know that climate and nature are inextricably linked, and the connections between these COP processes are increasing.

At the last COP (COP15 – held in December 2022 in Montreal) the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF – also known as The Biodiversity Plan) was agreed. This was a highly significant milestone as it brought a degree of international consensus and urgency on the need for protecting and restoring biodiversity, building upon previous efforts like the Rio Convention. The agreement included a number of targets, with perhaps the best known being the commitment to protect and restore 30% of land and oceans by 2030 (the so-called ‘30x30’ target).

COP16 is the first meeting convened since this agreement was reached and will be an important opportunity to assess countries’ progress in implementing the GBF. Countries are expected to have published updated National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) by this point (although only a handful have so far). 

The negotiations in Cali are likely to focus on: 

  • The operationalisation of the monitoring framework that includes the indicators for each of the 23 targets that will enable governments to report on progress
  • The mobilisation of the financial resources needed for successful implementation, in particular how to implement Target 18 on the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies and Target 19 that commits governments to mobilise 200 billion USD per year, by 2030
  • Finalise the multilateral mechanism on fair and equitable Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) from the use of digital sequence information on genetic resources.  

What is the relevance of COP16 for business and financial institutions? 

CISL partner Business for Nature’s ‘Make it Mandatory’ campaign at COP15 saw more than 400 business and financial institutions from 52 countries with combined revenues of more than $2 trillion help convince governments to adopt Target 15 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which requires all large businesses and financial institutions to assess and disclose their risks, impacts and dependencies on biodiversity by 2030. This demonstrates the impact that a strong, unified voice can have on the negotiations, and a firm signal to governments that business and finance must be part of the solution is needed at COP16. 

We know that many businesses and financial institutions are taking a leading position by beginning to assess, transform, commit and disclose their impacts and dependencies on nature as they seek to develop nature strategies, set science-based nature targets and begin TNFD disclosures. Demonstrating to the national negotiating teams in Cali that there is strong, ongoing support for high levels of ambition at the COP is crucial to securing outcomes that build positive momentum for people, nature and climate. 

CISL at COP16 

CISL will be sending a small delegation to Cali with representation from our Policy, Business and Nature, Centre for Sustainable Finance and Media teams. Our goal is to convene members of our extensive network of businesses, financial institutions and government contacts to facilitate critical, high-level conversations that positively influence negotiating outcomes. 

Check back here to stay up to date on our plans for COP16. 

Express an interest in attending COP16

If you are a member of the University of Cambridge (student/staff) and wish to be considered for a place in the University’s delegation to COP16, please complete this form.

If you are a business or financial institution interested in attending COP16, we invite you to fill out this form which we have created in collaboration with the partner organisations listed below.

We will do our best to ensure businesses that complete the form can attend COP16. However, this expression of interest does not guarantee you will receive a badge to participate in the event, or that the organisations mentioned will be able to register you as part of their delegations to attend COP16. Participation will depend on the total badge allocation allowed by the UN CBD. If you are affiliated with multiple organisations, you need only fill this in once.  

Business for Nature, Business for Social Responsibility, The B Team, Capitals Coalition, The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, One Planet Business for Biodiversity, The Science Based Targets Network, The Sustainable Markets Initiative, The Union for Ethical Biotrade, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, We Mean Business Coalition and The World Economic Forum. 

Complete the form to express your interest

More information about COP16

Please contact edmund.dickens@cisl.cam.ac.uk for questions about CISL’s involvement in COP16. 


Some of our nature-related publications 

Browse all CISL publications