Countries all over the world seek means to halt loss of biodiversity – UN biodiversity conference starts in Egypt

Press release 2018-11-13 at 7:58
Kokouksen tunnus

Delegations from more than 190 countries will convene in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on 17–29 November at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Preparations for the meeting have taken place at a time when alarming messages have come from the scientific community concerning the state of biodiversity in the world. At about the same time, many countries have reported observations regarding e.g. decline in the numbers of insects and birds. Factors behind the loss of biodiversity include the disappearance of habitats, overconsumption of natural resources, and climate change.

In light of this knowledge, the key objective of the meeting in Egypt is to speed up and strengthen measures and commitments that protect the natural environment. In 2010 the countries agreed in Japan on the so-called Aichi targets to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2020. Since then the area designated for nature conservation on the global scale has increased significantly, but the loss of biodiversity continues.

“We know already that all targets will not be reached. However, we must not give up but, quite the opposite, we should take even more action. There is still a lot to be achieved in two years. At the same time we should also determine the path towards the post-2020 agreement on natural environments”, says Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen.

Minister Tiilikainen heads the Finnish delegation in Egypt during the High-Level Ministerial Segment to be held on 14–15 November, before the actual COP meeting.

“In Egypt we have the opportunity to decide about actions by which biodiversity can be integrated into all sectors of society. Loss of biodiversity has not been as high on the agenda as climate change, but the problems are closely interlinked. In the end it is a question of how we use our shared natural resources and keep Earth viable for us all”, Minister Tiilikainen says.

For Finland the key themes at the COP meeting include ecologically and biologically significant marine areas, preventing loss of pollinators, linkages between conservation areas in the changing climate, and questions relating to fair and equitable use of genetic resources. Efforts to boost action are also made through increased cooperation between different environmental agreements, which has been high on the Finnish agenda for a long time.

Parallel to the CBD meeting, in Egypt COP meetings will be held for the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Finland is also a Party to these Protocols.

Besides the negotiations and meetings in Sharm El-Sheikh, Finland will be involved as an organiser or participant in nine side-events concerning e.g. the sustainable use of forests, traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, and environmental protection in the Arctic. About 400 companies and, from Finland, also the corporate responsibility network FIBS and Ministry of the Environment will participate in the Business and Biodiversity Forum on 14–15 November.

During the COP meeting Minister Tiilikainen will have several bilateral meetings with ministers from different countries. He will also chair the discussions on the relationship between health, biodiversity and processing industries.

Follow the meeting:


Conference of the Parties to CBD
Marina von Weissenberg, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 321,
Ilkka Heikkinen, Nature Conservation Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 079,

High-level Ministerial Segment
Tita Korvenoja, Head of International Affairs, tel. +358 295 250 138,

Business and Biodiversity Forum
Kristiina Niikkonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 198,

Requests for interviews
Taru Savolainen, Special Adviser to Minister Tiilikainen, tel. +358 40 535 8622,
Jussi Palmén, Communications Specialist, tel. +358 295 250 219,