Biodiversity is an indispensable asset for Earth that provides both basic necessities as well as essential resources and services to all human beings. Over 4.3 billion people, more than half the world’s population, depend on biodiversity for their livelihoods.1 Nearly 40% of the world’s economy is derived from the direct use of biodiversity,2 and 70% of the world’s poor and vulnerable live in rural areas that depend directly on it. Today, however, 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or unsustainably used.3 Nevertheless one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction and biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050.

Currently a new Global Biodiversity Framework is being negotiated under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).4 This framework will define targets and pathways for the conservation and management of biodiversity for the next decade and beyond. Since early 2019, consultation workshops and meetings involving all stakeholders have been organized at the national, regional, and global levels before its adoption at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Kunming, China in autumn 2021.

BioTrade’s Involvement

As the United Nations agency focusing on trade, UNCTAD is steering, engaging and consulting with BioTrade partners and key stakeholders to contribute to the global biodiversity framework. UNCTAD’s BioTrade Initiative and its partners have been promoting sustainable trade of goods and services derived from native biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Moreover, UNCTAD’s role in promoting trade in biodiversity products and services have been reaffirmed for over a decade by its 195 Member States.

Incorporating sustainable use and sustainable trade into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework could prompt countries, including CBD Parties, to adopt laws and policies as well as fair and equitable benefit-sharing. Moreover, it could foster interest of global financing facilities in promoting ethical trade as a driver for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Sustainable trade, including BioTrade, can be part of the solution. For this reason, UNCTAD and partners remain ready to continue supporting the global biodiversity framework process with technical and substantive inputs on sustainable use, sustainable trade, private sector engagement and incentive measures.

BioTrade’s contribution to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

For the post-2020 UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative and its partners are advocating for the following points:

The Importance of Sustainable Use
Approximately 40% of the world’s economy is derived from direct use of biodiversity.5 As such, the private sector can play a significant role in curbing biodiversity loss. In fact, the private sector already recognizes biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as a significant operational risk.6 Moreover, meeting the three objectives of the CBD will require a transformational change in consumption and production patterns, in which the private sector will necessarily play a central role. This creates a strong incentive for Parties to facilitate private sector involvement in the implementation of the Post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Sustainable Trade and its Contribution to CBD Objectives and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
The global economy is shaped by global patterns of consumption and production which are largely driven by trade. Trade is an indispensable component of national economies which affects businesses, societies, and biodiversity. Sustainable trade, including BioTrade, can help orient global trade patterns in a direction that contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the CBD by providing positive incentives for – and promoting private sector engagement in – the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Moreover, it could foster the interest of global financing facilities, investors, and businesses sourcing biological resources in developing and implementing biodiversity-friendly practices and in allocating resources to conservation and sustainable use.

The Potential Contribution of BioTrade to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
Discussions on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework have revolved around the need for bold action and ambitious commitments. The concept of sustainable trade, including approaches such as BioTrade, can assist in mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies, as called for by CBD Article 6(b). It can also be a tool through which Parties can encourage cooperation between governmental authorities and the private sector in developing methods for sustainable use, as called for by CBD Article 10(e). Furthermore, it can be used as an effective economically and socially sound measure that acts as an incentive for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as called for by CBD Article 11.

BioTrade can also be strongly linked to Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). With the increased implementation of BioTrade in alignment with the Nagoya Protocol, ABS will strengthen the post-2020 framework as a major contribution to Agenda 2030 and key SDGs. As such, incorporating sustainable trade into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework could help Parties orient their laws and policies toward furthering the implementation of their existing CBD obligations.


Joint submissions
UNCTAD has been acting as a neutral forum, facilitating engagement among its core partners under the SECO-funded Global BioTrade Programme: linking trade, biodiversity and sustainable development. UNCTAD, under this programme, has been coordinating and steering discussions on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. It has been coordinating the production and dissemination of joint contributions with partners and other stakeholders in the form of submissions to the post-2020 process.

So far five submissions have been made:

  1. Contribution Submission: “Initial views on the discussion paper “Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (CBD/POST2020/PREP/1/1)” in April 2019 (In collaboration with: CITES Secretariat, CAFPromPerúUEBT and FLEDGE).
  2. Information note: “Contribution of BioTrade Partners to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework” to the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in August 2019 (In collaboration with: PromPerúCAFITCUEBTABS Initiative, FLEDGE, PhytoTrade Africa, UTPL BioEmprende (Ecuador).
  3. Information note: “Contributions from the 5th BioTrade Congress on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework” to the OEWG Co-Chairs in December 2019.
  4. Information note: “Contribution of BioTrade Partners to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in February 2020 (In collaboration with: CITES SecretariatUNU-IASITCCAFPromPerúUEBT, ABS Capacity Development Initiative and FLEDGE).
  5. August 2020: ”Review comments on the draft monitoring framework for the GBF” and ”Contribution to the indicators for monitoring elements of the draft goals and targets” by UNCTAD, ITC; United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS); Ministry of Environment and Water (MAAE) of Ecuador; Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) from Lao People’s Democratic Republic; PromPerú; CAF; UEBT; ABS I, and FLEDGE.

The collaboration of the UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative, UNCTADstat and partners on biodiversity-based statistics will keep providing valuable inputs to the overall post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Participation in CBD consultations, workshops, and conferences
UNCTAD and relevant partners have been participating in a series of consultations, workshops, conferences, and meetings relevant to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework since late 2018. These workshops provide an opportunity to share key messages and takeaways to core partners. Moreover, it allows UNCTAD and partners to be active in the discussions and an opportunity to contribute our voice to the exchange of ideas, especially with other stakeholders. UNCTAD and its partners have so far participated in the following:

UNCTAD has also contributed to the UN Environmental Management Group (EMG) Consultative Process on Biodiversity to the second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG2) on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The submission note Overview of UN System Inputs to the Development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework was circulated by the OEWG co-chairs in January 2020.

Communication and knowledge management

UNCTAD has been supporting the development of strategic knowledge tools, disseminating and communicating through a variety of channels, and being a neutral platform for stakeholders to discuss and exchange ideas. UNCTAD is/has been working on the following activities:

  • BioTrade Congress: The 5th BioTrade Congress was held on 12-13 September 2019 during the first UN Trade Forum organized by UNCTAD in Geneva, Switzerland. The Congress focused on the question of how to involve governments, businesses and trade actors in generating the transformational change needed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss. It provided a platform for substantive discussion among trade and biodiversity stakeholders including decision-makers, experts and practitioners, where they could share lessons learned and best practices, as well as propose innovative models and recommendations on how to achieve the 2030 Agenda, its SDGs, and the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity. Six panels were held over the course of two days, featuring over 40 trade and biodiversity practitioners hailing from over 20 countries.
  • Work in statistics: The BioTrade Initiative is working with colleagues in the Statistics Division (UNCTADstat) and partners on biodiversity-based statistics.
  • Discussion on social media and knowledge management: The BioTrade Initiative has been active in disseminating relevant information and news, as well as engaging in discussions on social media.
  • Publications

Future Activities Planned in 2020 and 2021:

There may be unexpected changes in the timeline due to the difficulties arising from COVID-19 since the last time of update (October 2020).

Source: UNCTAD (