Results of the Biodiversity Conference COP15

The Amazon rainforest burning 

The UN’s COP15 summit, held in Montreal, just ended with the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a historic deal aimed at protecting and restoring nature. The agreement, reached by 195 countries, is the result of four years of negotiations and will guide global conservation efforts until 2030. 

Climate change and biodiversity loss go hand in hand. This new agreement is equivalent to the adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement regarding climate change to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but this one focused on biodiversity conservation and restoration.

One of the key goals of the agreement is to halt and reverse the rapid loss of biodiversity by 2030. To achieve this, the deal includes a commitment to set aside at least 30% of the world’s land, oceans, and waters for conservation by 2030, with a focus on ecologically important areas. This goal would nearly double the amount of terrestrial areas currently protected from 17%, and triple the amount of marine areas protected from 7%. The deal also includes a commitment to protect at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, a target that was not met under the previous Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

In addition to setting aside protected areas, the framework includes several other targets aimed at reversing the damage caused by decades of ecosystem destruction. These include reducing $500 billion in industry annual subsidies harmful to nature, increasing support for indigenous and local communities, bringing to nearly zero the loss of critical biodiversity areas; cutting global food waste in half; reducing pollution risks to ecosystems from all sources, including pesticides and working to eliminate plastic pollution.

To fund these efforts, the deal directs countries to allocate at least $200 billion per year for biodiversity initiatives from both public and private sectors, with developed countries providing at least $30 billion in annual funding to developing countries. The agreement also calls for increased private sector involvement in funding conservation efforts and encourages investment firms to analyze and report on the impacts of their operations on biodiversity.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework replaces the previous Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which were intended to guide conservation efforts through 2020. None of the Aichi goals were fully achieved, and no single country met all 20 targets. The Kunming-Montreal Agreement includes 23 targets in total, including more quantifiable targets that should make it easier to track and report progress. However, the agreement lacks a mandatory mechanism to hold governments accountable for increasing action if targets are not met.

The adoption of the new framework has been met with praise from conservation groups and indigenous people. However, some have expressed concern that the deal could be undermined by slow implementation and a failure to mobilize promised resources.

The agreed Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework comes at a critical time for nature, with as many as one million species at risk of extinction due to decades of ecosystem destruction. As much as 40% of the world’s land has been degraded, and wildlife populations have shrunk dramatically since 1970. The deal aims to restore natural ecosystems by 2050 and promote more sustainable resource use and greater harmony between humanity and the natural world. It is also a recognition that humankind can not survive without nature and biodiversity.

All of us, let’s pressure governments around the world to implement the framework as agreed upon and better than how the Paris Agreement has been implemented up to now. We need to protect the planet in order to protect ourselves.

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