Seeking consensus on biodiversity priorities


The issue

In 2020, governments will agree on a new global biodiversity framework to replace the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. This post-2020 global biodiversity framework aims to provide both the context and the level of ambition for action to address concerns about biodiversity and ecosystem services until at least 2030.

Governments have given themselves two years to develop the new framework. They propose to engage a broad range of stakeholders, draw on evidence from multiple sources, and seek to place biodiversity and ecosystem services in the context of other global agendas relating to development, climate change, land degradation and disaster risk reduction.

One of the most powerful ways that the biodiversity community can boost positive conservation outcomes lies in agreeing on spatial conservation priorities. Which spaces set aside for nature can contribute most significantly to improved biodiversity outcomes globally? The act of setting aside more land for nature and biodiversity requires current research, thoughtful planning and implementation. Moreover, achieving consensus can be challenging because any biodiversity prioritisation approach depends on the objectives and values of the individuals and organisations involved in forming them. However, coming together with one voice on conservation priorities and using a clear framework to reach agreement would enable the conservation community to engage more coherently with governments and other decision makers. In turn, decision makers would be able to better focus resources on spatially-explicit priorities.

Project goals

In order to develop a clear framework for agreement, the Luc Hoffmann Institute is working alongside the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and other world-leading organisations to find an agreed approach and standard for deciding on biodiversity priorities, share guidance on mapping biodiversity priorities for use at the local and global levers, and agree on a global map of biodiversity priorities as a basis for development planning. The aim is also to clarify the importance of biodiversity prioritisation so that it resonates with decision makers across different sectors.

Towards this effort, two major stakeholder convenings have taken place so far. The latest convening around ‘Gaining Consensus on spatial and temporal biodiversity metrics for informed decision-making’, took place in May 2019 and built on a 2017 workshop held on ‘Mapping our conservation futures’. The 2019 convening was a collaborative effort between the Luc Hoffmann Institute (LHI), the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), National Geographic Society (NGS), the NatureMap consortium, and the biodiversity hub of the Science-Based Targets Network. It allowed for an exploration of concepts and frameworks, and raised several important issues around the robustness of biodiversity data, and the multiple dimensions of biodiversity including how humans value nature and what it means to live in harmony.

Insights gathered for global decision- and policy-making

To contribute to relevant global decisions and policy-making, the convening workshop findings are summarised in two separate reports, available on the UNEP-WCMC post-2020 page. The findings will notably support the upcoming November 2019 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, a cradle for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

For more information please contact: Jon Hutton, Director, Luc Hoffmann Institute at


Photo credit: © Jürgen Freund / WWF

Related reading:

UNEP-WCMC post-2020 page

Luc Hoffmann InstituteSeeking consensus on biodiversity priorities