20 Dec 2022
COP15 puts “nature” first in a historic deal
On December 19, the biggest biodiversity conference COP15 came to a historic conclusion.  In a landmark decision aimed at safeguarding biodiversity, nations have agreed to protect a third of the planet for nature by 2030. The most significant part of the agreement is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for […]

On December 19, the biggest biodiversity conference COP15 came to a historic conclusion. 

In a landmark decision aimed at safeguarding biodiversity, nations have agreed to protect a third of the planet for nature by 2030. The most significant part of the agreement is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030. Currently, 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas are protected.

There will also be targets for protecting vital ecosystems such as rainforests and wetlands and the rights of indigenous peoples.

The 12-day biodiversity conference held in Montreal, Canada, in its concluding day approved the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), a deal to protect nature and fund conservation efforts. Representatives of 188 governments have agreed upon the GBF's goals and targets.

It’s a significant move where countries have put nature first as over one million species of plants and insects could vanish by the century's end. As much as 40 percent of the world's land has been degraded, and wildlife population sizes have shrunk dramatically since 1970.

The UN Development Programme said the "historic agreement" meant people around the world could hope for real progress to halt biodiversity loss.

The COP15 agreement provides a good foundation for global action on biodiversity, complementing the Paris Agreement for Climate. Now the world has a double track of action for a sustainable global economy by 2050, said Von der Leyen, President of European Commission, in a press statement.

More than half of global GDP depends on ecosystem services. As much as 70% of the world's most vulnerable people depend directly on wild species. The Kunming-Montreal agreement will accelerate ambitious policies around the world and mobilise financing for biodiversity from all sources by 2030.

COP15 also released a list of goals and targets for ambitious action by 2030 and 2050. Besides restoring 30% degraded ecosystems globally (on land and sea) by 2030, it looks at the following key goals:

  • Conserve and manage 30% areas (terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine) by 2030.  Stop the extinction of known species, and by 2050 reduce tenfold the extinction risk and rate of all species (including unknown) 
  • Reduce risk from pesticides by at least 50% by 2030 
  • Reduce nutrients lost to the environment by at least 50% by 2030 
  • Reduce pollution risks and negative impacts of pollution from all sources by 2030 to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions 
  • Reduce global footprint of consumption by 2030, including through significantly reducing overconsumption and waste generation and halving food waste 
  • Sustainably manage areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry and substantially increase agroecology and other biodiversity-friendly practices 
  • Tackle climate change through nature-based solutions 
  • Reduce the rate of introduction and establishment of invasive alien species by at least 50% by 2030 
  • Secure the safe, legal and sustainable use and trade of wild species by 2030 Green up urban spaces.

In a major step to improve business action on biodiversity, large and transnational companies and financial institutions will be required to regularly monitor, assess and disclose risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity; and provide information to consumers to promote sustainable consumption.

The deal will significantly increase the mobilisation of finance for biodiversity from all sources, domestic, international – both public and private - mobilising at least $200 billion USD per year by 2030. It will create incentives for domestic and international sources, including from business investment. It also addresses subsidies harmful to biodiversity, with the commitment to identify by 2025 and eliminate by 2030 a total of at least $500 billion USD per year. 

As part of the agreement, the EU subscribed to an international solidarity package, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and the most biodiverse. The new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund established under the Global Environment Facility will be open to financing from all sources. 

In a major step to improve business action on biodiversity, large and transnational companies and financial institutions will be required to regularly monitor, assess and disclose risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity. Also provide information to consumers to promote sustainable consumption.

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