Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Place-Based Conservation Under CBD


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Target 30x30

Mains level: Target 30x30, CBD and conservation challenges



  • At the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), member countries adopted the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF) that includes four goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030.

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What is target 30×30 among 23 targets?

  • Conservation through ecological representative: Among the 23 targets, Target 3, colloquially known as “30×30,” requires that “at least 30 percent of terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative.
  • Area-based conservation measures: Such area should be well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

Assessment of protected areas

  • Protected area: Place-based conservation has usually taken the form of Protected Areas wherein human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited. The definition provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its categorisation guidelines for protected areas has been widely accepted across regional and global frameworks.
  • Different level of protection: There are several kinds of protected areas that vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international organisations involved.
  • Currently only 17% is protected: Currently, about 17 percent of terrestrial and 8 percent of marine areas are within documented protected and conserved areas.
  • Less than desirable quality: The quality of these areas has fallen far short of the commitments; less than 8 percent of land is both protected and connected. In the face of such a lacuna, the 30×30 target represents a significant commitment.

What are the challenges towards conservation of biodiversity areas?

  • Improving the quality: One of the main challenges will be to improve the quality of both existing and new areas, as biodiversity continues to decline, even within many Protected Areas. Protected and conserved areas will need to be better connected to each other for movement of species, and for ecological processes to function.
  • Large countries have to take big steps: Demographically large, high population density countries, and the very high density small and city-states are unlikely be able to bring significant additional terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine areas under Protected Area management.
  • Addressing animal and human settlement: Moreover, species range shifts due to the effects of impacts of climate change will have to be taken into account. Challenges faced by Protected Areas that are experiencing coastal squeeze due to rising sea level on one side, and hard human settlements on the other will also have to be addressed.
  • Investment for management: All of these measures will require significant investments for effective management and community involvement, particularly those areas that harbour megafauna. The track record of the Global North, thus far, has been poor in meeting its commitments on financial support for climate and biodiversity initiatives.

What should be the way forward?

  • Better connectivity: Innovative area-based conservation measures will have to be considered for better connectivity for movement of species megafauna in particular between protected and conserved areas. Areas adjoining and or connecting Protected Areas that are not formally managed for conservation will have to be considered for protection; agricultural lands.
  • Conservation development mechanism: Akin to the Clean Development Mechanism under the climate convention, UNFCCC, a carbon offset scheme allowing countries to fund greenhouse gas emissions-reducing projects in other countries and claim the saved emissions as part of their own efforts to meet international emissions targets.
  • Mobile protected areas: Innovative management will be required for Protected Areas that are experiencing coastal squeeze due to rising sea level on one side, and hard human settlements on the other. In high altitude and coastal areas, Protected Areas will have to be conceived as mobile rather than static, confined to a set of geographical coordinates. Mangrove and alpine ecosystems



  • Only declaring the certain area as protected area will not improve the quality of protected area and it is mere a lip service to conservation efforts. Investment backed by effective, result oriented and time bound action plan for place-based conservation should be the path ahead.

Mains Question

Q. What is 30×30 target under CBD? What are the challenges in area-based conservation and suggest the way forward?

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