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Cali, Colombia to Host COP16 for Biodiversity


Cali, Colombia
Cali to host the UN COP16 organized by Colombia – Credit: A.P. / Colombia One

Cali will be the host of the United Nations Conference on Biological Diversity, also known as COP16, to be held in Colombia from October 21 to November 2, 2024. Since it became known, at the end of last year, that Colombia would be the country in charge of the organization, ten cities applied to host the COP16.

Of these, Bogota and Cali were the finalists that competed to host the 12,000 people expected to arrive in Colombia to participate in the event. Finally, the Colombian government has decided that Cali, the capital of the department of Valle del Cauca, will have the honor. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the region has played an important role in this decision, according to government sources.

Biodiversity capital of the world

Cali, capital of the Colombian Pacific, has been selected as the host city for the COP16 on Biodiversity, the most important international event ever held in the country.

“As a powerhouse of natural biodiversity and human diversity, with a rich history, the Pacific region gives us the opportunity for Colombia to show why it is the country of beauty. This is also an opportunity to heal wounds, to seal a social pact, to put the eyes of the world on the Pacific, on its regions and conflicts. This is the time for the protection of life, for Peace with Nature,” said Gustavo Petro, President of Colombia.

Its wealth of culture and biodiversity gave the city of Cali extra value for the decision makers. This, commonly known as the ‘Sucursal del Cielo’, represents the diversity of the Pacific, where 30% of its inhabitants recognize themselves as Afro or indigenous. In addition, 40% of the region is made up of autonomous territories of ethnic communities.

“We want this to be the COP of the people, of those who live and thrive in biodiversity, where Peace with Nature is enacted, and to be one of the pillars of the climate crisis. The UN visited the country, was in the two cities and issued a statement recognizing that both cities complied with the requirements. Bringing this event to Cali will have the greatest transformative effect, to show the world biodiversity and bring an event to the four departments of the Pacific,” said Susana Muhamad, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development.

Biodiversity of the Colombian Pacific

The Pacific region has more than 200 protected areas, 11 National Natural Parks that make up 51,388 square kilometers of biodiversity, and provide a habitat for 1297 species of fauna, as well as 14,000 species of plants.

“Never before have we had so many heads of state, foreign ministers, environment ministers, but also communities, because this will be the COP of the people, of the grassroots, but it will also be the COP that unites the country. This is a national event. We are not only sending a message to the world about what Colombia is proposing to the world, but also that the world is going to come here to make decisions. 200 delegations: it is historic”, enthused Luis Gilberto Murillo, who is acting as interim Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Cali COP16 Colombia
Humpback Whales of the Colombian Pacific – Credit: Silvana Palacios / Pexels / Public Domain

Biodiversity COP16

The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and which entered into force in 1993, with the purpose of conserving biological diversity, ensuring its sustainable use and guaranteeing the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the utilization of the genetic resources of species.

The COP on biodiversity is an international forum to establish agendas, commitments and frameworks for action in relation to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to address challenges such as the climate crisis, loss of natural habitats, overexploitation of natural resources, among others.

It is held every two years and brings together representatives from more than 190 member countries of the Convention, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society and other relevant actors.

Cali COP16 Colombia
Colombian government designated Cali as host city for COP16 – Credit: Ministry of Environment

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework

On December 19, 2022, during the COP15, held in Montreal, Canada, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was unanimously adopted. This Framework seeks to halt and reverse the loss of nature, in a context where scenarios that threaten the survival of millions of species and people are becoming increasingly common. The objective of this framework is to protect and use the services provided by biodiversity in a sustainable manner.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework sets out a transformative vision to guide and support countries on biodiversity with 4 goals and 23 targets.

Cali COP16 Colombia
Closing of COP15 in Montreal, Canada, in 2022 – Credit: CBD

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