A new agreement reached at the UN’s COP15 biodiversity summit will ensure that nearly a third of the world’s planet is protected by 2030.
The “last chance” conference in Canada has pledged that 30% to 30% of the world’s land and inland waters will be conserved in the next eight-years.
The pledge will pay special attention to those areas that are important for biodiversity, such as tropical rainforests.
Current protection is in place for 17% and 10% respectively of the world’s marine and terrestrial areas.
Participating countries in the UN diversity conference committed to meeting 23 targets. These included halving the global food waste and eliminating or phasing-out government subsidies that cause harm to nature of more than PS400billion per year by the end.
This follows a late objection by the Democratic Republic of Congo, where delegates raised concerns about contributions of developed nations to conservation funds in developing countries.
The delegation from an African nation suggested that developed countries should “provide resources” for developing nations in order to aid their conservation efforts.
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The deal was approved by Huang Runqiu (Chinese minister of ecology and environmental), on Monday morning.
China was the conference’s chair, but Canada is hosting it due to COVID-19 restrictions.
These are the key promises of the COP15 biodiversity summit
- By 2030, protect 30% of the earth’s lands and seas, coastlines, and inland waterways – particularly areas that are vital for biodiversity and ecosystem functions
- Global food waste must be reduced by half by 2030
- Reduce habitat loss in wildlife-rich areas to “near zero”
- Government subsidies that cause harm to nature should be reduced by 500 billion dollars per year (PS411.7 billion).
- By 2030, at least 50% of the potential impacts of invasive aliens on biodiversity and establishments of other known or possible invasive aliens species must be eliminated, minimized, reduced, or prevented.
Some have praised the deal, including Sue Lieberman, Wildlife Conservation Society’s director, who stated that it contained “really good elements”. The Green Party, however, welcomed the agreement but warned that the UK government and other countries must “step up to make these promises a reality”.
Others questioned whether it went far enough. Natural England chair Tony Juniper described the deal as too weak.
He tweeted: “End Game in Montreal, but Plans Too Weak, including 30% Target, which is now not 30% protected at sea and 30% on land, but 30% overall.
“Also, species that are too dependent on extinction and abundance.” Financial ambition must be matched with a stronger commitment to nature recovery.
Will McCallum, the Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said that governments like the UK, who fought for stronger language within the target’s 30×30 limit, must channel their frustration into following the example set by others.
“We must see ocean sanctuaries properly protected and large swathes managed for nature to show the world how restoring biodiversity unlocks job opportunities in rural and remote areas, keeps food systems resilient, and makes sure that we are better able to withstand climate change’s impacts.”
Marco Lambertini (Director General, WWF International) said: “Agreeing on a global goal that will guide collective action to halt or reverse nature loss by 2030 was an extraordinary feat for those who have been negotiating The Global Biodiversity Framework. It is a win for both people and the planet.
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“It sends out a clear message and must be the launchpad for action by governments, businesses, and society in order to transition towards a natural-positive world and support climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Although he said that the agreement was a “major milestone in the conservation of the natural world”, he warned that the agreement could be undermined by slow implementation or failure to mobilize the promised funds.
Nature gets the Biodiversity Deal just in time
Nature is more than a nice thing to have. It’s our life support. Pollinating insects are the source of our food, oxygen and plankton are our sources of oxygen, and many medicines we use come from plants.
The Montreal United Nations biodiversity summit deal was a significant achievement.
There are 23 targets, but the most striking is the 30% protection of land and oceans by 2030. Priority will be given to areas that have the greatest biodiversity.
This should be a sign that ecosystems that have been damaged by human activity begin to recover. The decline in biodiversity and life forms on the planet must stop by 2030.
This agreement was just in time. According to the latest Living Planet Index, which was released by the Zoological Society of London and WWF, wildlife populations have plummeted by nearly 70% in the past 50 years.
One million species are at risk of extinction, the largest loss of life since dinosaurs. Humans and their livestock account for 96% all mammal biomass. Only 4% of mammals by weight are wild.
The human race has trampled all over nature. However, a deal does not mean that you will take action. Countries that dither could cause the agreement to be weakened.
They will have to identify and reserve areas for conservation quickly. The pledges of rich nations to provide financial assistance to developing countries to protect biodiversity will be fulfilled.
This is a historic deal for nature. It’s only in the forests, rivers and coral reefs where it can make a difference.