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Torsten Krause comments on the UN conference, COP15

Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia. Photo.
Another decade of deforestation means more biodiversity lost, greenhouse gas emissions and forest degradation, fragmentation and conversion to other land-uses. Photo: Unsplash

Just a month after the UN climate summit in Egypt, the leaders of the world meet again, at COP15 in Montreal, to address another acute crisis facing humanity – the loss of biodiversity.

Torsten Krause is a senior lecturer in Sustainability Studies at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies. His research focuses on, among other things, Amazon deforestation and policy issues relating to biodiversity. He is critical about the fragmentation of policies and governmental institutions that are responsible to enforce laws. 

– We perhaps think that we can protect islands of biodiversity through an agreement at COP15, but pollution and a changing climate will inadvertently also affect these areas. Everything is connected, he says.

The setting aside of land also risks of exacerbating and causing new conflicts, he predicts, and surrounding unprotected areas will be utilised even more intensively, facing larger pressures. He would instead like the focus to be on what he considers is the “elephant in the room” – economic pressures and underlying driving forces such as our production and consumption patterns.

– The question remains, why do people cut down forests and convert natural ecosystems to other uses? It’s not because they enjoy it but because there is an economic rationale behind it and money to be made. As long as this underlying rationale is not addressed environmental degradation will continue, he says.

Torsten Krause is part of the Pufendorf IAS Advanced Study Group on Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources. The issue of fairness and equity between those who provide biodiversity and those who utilise them will be another important topic at the summit.  

Read a longer article with more comments on COP15 by researchers at Lund University. 

COP15 in Montreal and the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was created at the UN’s Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992 and began to apply in 1993.

Two protocols were subsequently added to the Convention, the Cartagena Protocol (concerning how to protect biodiversity from risks associated with genetically modified crops) and the Nagoya Protocol (concerning access to genetic resources and an equitable sharing of income and benefits arising from the use them). 

In 2010, the international community adopted a strategic plan, the Aichi Targets, regarding measures to improve the biodiversity situation during the period 2011-2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no new framework has been put in place for the period after 2020. A Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is therefore one of the goals for COP15 in Montreal, 7-19 December.

COP stands for Conference of the Parties – a meeting for the parties that signed the convention – and the figure denotes the conference’s place in the series. The parties generally meet every two years. 

The proposal for a new framework to be discussed at COP15 contains four overall goals and 22 sub-goals. 

Read more:

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) ( (in Swedish)

UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) (

Convention on Biological Diversity (

A man in a boat. Torsten Krause. Photo.

Torsten Krause

Torsten Krause is a senior lecturer at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, LUCSUS. His expertise is in:

  • Forestry and Forest Governance
  • Conservation Science
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Ethnobiology
  • Environmental Justice

Read more about Torsten Krause