'Major industry lobbyists are working behind the scenes to try to water down policy ambition' of COP15, said the report - Copyright AFP CHRISTOF STACHE
The COP15 summit culminated on Monday with a global deal to protect the ecosystems that prop up half the world economy.
Close to 200 countries attended the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, which is set to end in Montreal, Canada. The room of bleary-eyed delegates erupted in applause in the wee hours after agreeing to the landmark framework.
The delegates committed to protecting 30 percent of the land and 30 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2030, fulfilling the deal’s highest-profile goal, known as 30-by-30.
Currently, only 17 percent of terrestrial and 10 percent of marine areas are protected. Indigenous and traditional territories will also count toward this goal, as many countries and campaigners pushed for during the talks.
Delegates pass by a billboard at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP WIN MCNAMEE
China, which holds the presidency at this conference, released a new draft on Sunday that gave the sometimes contentious talks much-needed momentum.
“We have in our hands a package which I think can guide us as we all work together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put biodiversity on the path to recovery for the benefit of all people in the world,” Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu told delegates before the package was adopted to rapturous applause.
The second part of the draft calls for US$200 billion per year to be channeled to conservation initiatives, from public and private sources.
As part of the financing package, the framework calls for increasing to at least $20 billion annually by 2025 the money that goes to poor countries. That number would increase to $30 billion each year by 2030.
“Many of us wanted more things in the text and more ambition but we got an ambitious package,” Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault said.
“We have 30 by 30. Six months ago, who would have thought we could have 30 by 30 in Montreal? We have an agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, to work on restoration, and to reduce the use of pesticides. This is tremendous progress.”
Christophe Bechu, France’s minister for ecological transition who headed its delegation, called it a “historical deal.”
Nations now have the next eight years to hit their targets for protecting life. With few legal mechanisms for enforcement, they will have to trust each other to protect habitats and funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into conservation.
“It’s a global goal. Every country commits what they are capable of committing,” said Masha Kalinina, a senior officer focused on biodiversity at the Pew Charitable Trusts. “Some will do more, some will do less.”