In 2020, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat released the zero draft (the draft used to begin negotiations) of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, an international treaty negotiated and ratified by 196 nations, which included text recognizing the rights of nature. In a later draft, language recognizing the rights of nature was replaced with more vague language about “employing rights-based approaches.” In 2022, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) was held in two parts, one in Kunming, China, in October and the second in Montreal, Canada, in December. The final framework agreement was released on December 18, 2022. It adopts 23 conservation targets as well as guidance for implementation. The framework highlights rights-based protections for Nature in several sections.
For example, the framework “recognizes and considers … diverse value systems and concepts, including, for those countries that recognize them, rights of nature and rights of Mother Earth, as being an integral part of its successful implementation” (Section C(9)). Additionally, the framework calls for at least $200 billion by 2030 to implement national biodiversity strategies and action plans, including “Mother Earth centric actions” that are defined to include ecocentric and rights based approaches that promote the continuity of all living beings and their communities (Target 19).
Delegates from Bolivia championed the inclusion of Rights of Nature and Rights of Mother Earth (terms that are roughly synonymous) with support from Ecuador and New Zealand, while negotiating with countries who originally opposed the text (Argentina, Japan, the EU, and Australia, among others). Opposition largely derived from countries stating that their legal systems do not have similar laws, but ultimately negotiators reached consensus on the final text.
In addition to support for the Rights of Nature, one of the major outcomes of the framework is support for 30×30, a commitment to preserve 30 percent of all land and seas by the year 2030. This is backed with strong language to ensure protection of Indigenous rights, a concern of many for implementing protected areas without infringing on traditional territories.