The Kunming Declaration: Ecological Civilization

The Kunming Declaration: Ecological Civilization – Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth



China currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). This is the first time China has overseen a major UN intergovernmental negotiation on the environment.

The first meeting in the current round of Conference of Parties (COP15) of the CBD was officially opened by China in Kunming in October 2021, largely as an online event due to Covid-19, at which parties to the CBD adopted the Kunming Declaration. In December 5–17, 2022, the next phase of COP15 will take place in Toronto, Canada. China’s minister of ecology and environment, Huang Runqiu, will preside over the next round of negotiations in Montreal.

Under the theme of “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”, the Kunming Declaration addresses key elements needed for a successful post-2020 framework: the mainstreaming of biodiversity across all decision-making; phasing out and redirection of harmful subsidies; enhancing the rule of law; and increasing financial, technological, and capacity-building support to developing countries, among others.

The post-2020 global biodiversity framework is due to be finalized and adopted at the second part of the COP15 in December 2022, after more formal negotiations.


The Kunming Declaration outlines general targets for the restoration and protection of biodiversity. The document lists 17 commitments for member countries, urging both international collaboration on a number of issues and increased efforts at a domestic level.

Below are some of the commitments outlined in the document.

  • Developing and implementing a global biodiversity framework to reverse the course of biodiversity degradation and be on a “path of recovery” by 2030.
  • Develop and implement an “Implementation Plan and Capacity Building Action Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety” – an international agreement signed in 2003 that aims to protect biodiversity from the risks posed by biotechnology, such as genetically modified organisms (GMO).
  • Adopting the ecosystem approach to increase resilience and help humans adapt to the adverse effects of biodiversity loss and climate change.
  • Reduce negative effects of human activity on marine and coastal biodiversity.
  • Integrate conservation and biodiversity into government decision-making for matters, such as poverty alleviation, economic policies, regulations, and other government policies.
  • Increase effectiveness of
  • Increase coverage of area-based conservation and management to protect species and genetic diversity.
  • Enhance both international and national environmental laws and strengthen enforcement of laws.
  • Strengthen measures for developing and regulating biotechnology to ensure equitable distribution of its benefits while minimizing their environmental impact.
  • Reform, eliminate, or phase out financial incentives that are harmful to biodiversity.
  • Provide financial tools to developing countries to help them fulfill the commitments of the Convention.
  • Enable participation of indigenous and local communities, as well as all relevant stakeholders, in the development and implementation of a biodiversity framework.
  • Develop educational tools to improve communication and public awareness.

Source: Extract from China Briefing, October 14, 2021.…/what-is-the-kunming…/

See also: ‘Biodiversity commitment builds hope for ‘living in harmony with nature’, 13 October 2021.