09 Apr 2024 4 min read

It’s an important year for nature. As they say, good things come in threes…

By Alexander Burr , Toby MacKean

There are not one, not two, but three COPs this year. All three are multi-lateral meetings of vital importance to ensure accelerated action and coordination to tackle nature change. We’ve outlined some of our priorities below.


From Pythagoras to the ancient Egyptians, the number three has always held an important symbolic meaning. As they say, ‘omne trium perfectum’, or ‘everything that is three is perfect’. Well, when it comes to three key multilateral meetings in 2024 that could impact nature change, we hope so…  

Specifically, there are three meetings of the sister Conventions, known as the ‘Rio Conventions’.  The Rio Conventions work closely on the heavily interlinked global challenges of climate change, desertification, and biodiversity loss. There is one COP29 and – rather confusingly – two COP16’s[1].

While all three meetings are critical for ensuring accelerated action and coordination to tackle nature change, the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) COP in October is of greatest importance. It is instrumental to how we collectively deliver on the 2050 vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’ and the implementation of the historic and hard-fought agreement, the 2022 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (referred to as the ‘GBF’ or ‘The Biodiversity Plan’).

The theme for CBD COP16 is ‘Peace with Nature’. While the message being conveyed here may not be desperately clear, it is a theme that is very aligned with how we – as global investors and long-term stewards – view nature as a systemic market risk and how we are engaging corporates, policymakers, and stakeholders to tackle the IPBES direct drivers of nature change (outlined in our framework).

The aim of the message is to highlight that we overexploit the capacities of nature, that our relationship with nature needs to change, and that we must recognise that humanity could not exist without it.

An intervention that can drive this change in relationship is focusing on how we can put a value on nature’s provisioning and regulating services, not currently measured in conventional economic terms. This means highlighting that we are embedded in nature, not external to it.

To do this, however, is not easy. An important step is to improve our understanding of risk exposure from our impact, and dependencies on nature. From this we can more accurately understand the value nature provides, while also seeking to effectively manage (and disclose) nature-related risks. This is why we have focused on ‘natural capital management’ – our efforts to strengthen globally how companies assess, integrate, and disclose their interactions with nature – as one of our key Investment Stewardship themes.

In this context, we outline below the priority areas that we are looking for global policymakers to make progress on, particularly from the CBD COP16 CBD in Colombia.

  • Ambitious plans – We are looking to see the submission of ambitious National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) ahead of COP16. These plans need to be cross-governmental and demonstrate progress against the four goals and 23 targets of the GBF. These should at least include: 1) commitments to protect 30% of land and sea for nature and restore 30% of degraded ecosystems, 2) integrate nature considerations into growing volume of sustainable finance regulation and 3) outline robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms on progressing towards the GBF targets
  • Integration and disclosure – Aligned our focus on natural capital management, and building on Target 15 of the GBF, we want to see policymakers move to mandate the monitoring, assessment, and disclosure of nature-related risks, opportunities, impacts, and dependencies. The Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is instrumental in implementing this, which we encourage the IFRS ISSB to adopt in their next thematic work programme
  • Subsidy reform – Reforming subsidies that are harmful to nature and climate continues to be an important and challenging issue. We encourage policymakers to use these significant public programmes to support a just transition, aligning with the global commitments in the Paris and GBF agreements
  • Coordination – While we have noted the need to accelerate action and embed nature across the national plans across the Rio Conventions, there are several other important international treaties. For example, the ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and the High Seas Treaty, finalise a robust and legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution by the end of 2024. Clear and unified policy signals across the multilateral system, that carefully navigate potentially conflicting climate and nature ambitions, are critical for driving rapid progress


[1] Formally the ‘Conference of Parties’ for: 1) UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) - COP16 in Colombia in October; 2) UN Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC) - COP29 in Azerbaijan in November; and 3) UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) - COP16 in Saudi Arabia in December.

Alexander Burr

ESG Policy Lead

Alexander joined in 2019 and leads LGIM's ESG policy engagement across markets. Prior to this, he helped establish an impact fund that uses blended finance to invest in emerging markets. Before that, Alexander negotiated blended finance investments at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to support sustainable economic growth across Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and North Africa. He has held roles advising governments on alternative finance and established a nuclear safeguards organisation. Alexander holds a BSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Southampton, and further education at LSE, ICSA, CISL, and Birkbeck.

Alexander Burr

Toby MacKean

Global ESG Analyst

Toby is responsible for LGIM stewardship activities across a range of ESG topics with a specific focus on both climate and nature-related topics, whilst leading on the teams Natural Capital Management theme. He works closely with the Investment team to integrate Stewardship and ESG into investment processes. Toby joined LGIM in February 2022 from Ernst & Young (EY) where he was a Manager in their Climate Change and Sustainability Services team. Whilst there, he worked with a range of clients on various decarbonisation strategy, TCFD and climate target setting projects, provided non-financial assurance and corporate reporting services, as well as led the integration of climate risks into EY’s audit methodologies. Prior to that, he trained as an ICAEW (ACA) chartered accountant working in EY’s products and services department. Toby graduated from Durham University and holds a BSc (Hons) in Geography where his studies focused on climate change and environmental processes. 

Toby MacKean