World leaders have been at the event in Montreal, Canada, for the last two weeks, with the aim of agreeing and adopting a Global Biodiversity Framework (GDF) to “secure the future of our planetary life support system”.
That means preventing the over-exploitation of land, sea, and species, climate change, pollution, and invasive non-native species. And at the 11th hour, an agreement was reached. But is it any good? And what else happened at the conference? Here’s everything you need to know.
The UK pledged £29million to support developing countries
Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey said £29m will be allocated to developing countries to support them in protecting 30 per cent of land and ocean diversity by 2030.
Mayors from Athens, Austin, Barranquilla, Dhaka-South, Freetown, Kampal, Kigali, Quezon City, Melbourne, Miami-Dade, Monterrey, Montreal, Paris, and São Paulo came together to ask for more funding so that cities, where the majority of people live, would be able to better meet global biodiversity goals.
The motion was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Economic Forum, and a number of other climate-focused organisations.
Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, director of the UNEP’s Economy Division, said: “Cities must be part of the solution to the biodiversity crisis. We hope mayors’ call for increased, direct investment will not fall on deaf ears so that they can unleash the power of nature in cities.”
The UNEP and its partners have now launched a new project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, to support cities in promoting ecosystem restoration for the next three years.
Nearly 200 countries committed to protecting nature
At the conclusion of Cop15, after two weeks of hefty negotiations and delegate walk-outs, a deal was reached to halt biodiversity loss, though again it didn’t please everyone.
Nearly 200 countries, excluding the US or the Vatican, have signed a final agreement on the 30×30 goal, which refers to protecting 30 percent of Earth’s ecosystems by 2030.
Despite informal objections from some African countries on the final deal, the agreement was finalised and pushed through by Cop15 president and environment minister for China, Huang Runqiu.
In addition to the 30×30 target, the Montreal-Kunming agreement included targets to reform USD$500bn of global subsidies that could prove harmful to the environment, as well as restoring 30 percent of the planet’s ecosystems.
Richer countries have also agreed to provide at least USD$30bn in aid for biodiversity by 2030.
The agreement marks “the largest land and ocean conservation commitment in history,” Brian O’Donnell, director of Campaign for Nature, told reporters at Cop15.
But, the agreement has been criticised by green organisations, such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who say it didn’t go far enough to protect biodiversity.
An Lambrechts, head of the Greenpeace delegation at Cop15, said: “Cop15 failed to deliver the ambition, tools, or finance necessary to stop mass extinction.”
She added that though the 30×30 target made it into the final agreement, it had been “stripped down” as it does not include “essential qualifiers that exclude damaging activities from protected areas.”
“As is, [30×30] is just an empty number, with protections on paper but nowhere else,” Lambrechts explained.
Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF UK, said that there was “promise in the ambition” presented by the final agreement but said that we “must do better.”
“We’re hugely disappointed with the lukewarm attempt to address the global footprint of production and consumption – which we know, as one of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss, needs to be halved by 2030,” she explained. “We have to see stronger ambition, clearer commitment and a package that does more than paper thin promises and clever words.”
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