Negotiators have reached a historic deal at a UN biodiversity conference that would represent the most significant effort to protect the world’s lands and oceans.
- China’s new draft gave the sometimes contentious talks much-needed momentum
- The most significant part of the deal is a commitment to protect 30 per cent of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030
- The draft also calls for raising $US200 billion ($297 billion) by 2030 for biodiversity
The deal would provide critical financing to save biodiversity in the developing world.
The global framework comes on the day the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, is set to end in Montreal.
China, which holds the presidency at this conference, released a new draft on Sunday (local time) 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 just before dawn.
“We can be truly proud,” he said.
The most significant part of the agreement is a commitment to protect 30 per cent of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030, known as 30 by 30.
Currently, 17 per cent of terrestrial and 10 per cent of marine areas are protected.
The draft also calls for raising $US200 billion ($297 billion) by 2030 for biodiversity from a range of sources and working to phase out or reform subsidies that could provide another $US500 billion for nature.
As part of the financing package, the framework calls for increasing to at least $US20 billion annually by 2025 the money that goes to poor countries. That number would increase to $US30 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 30 by 30 in Montreal? We have an agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, to work on restoration, to reduce the use of pesticides. This is tremendous progress.”
Christophe Béchu, France’s minister for ecological transition who headed its delegation, called it a “historical deal”.
“It’s not a small deal. It’s a deal with very precise and quantified objectives on pesticides, on reduction of loss of species, on eliminating bad subsidies,” he said. “We double until 2025 and triple 2030 the finance for biodiversity.”
The ministers and government officials from about 190 countries have mostly agreed that protecting biodiversity has to be a priority, with many comparing those efforts to climate talks that wrapped up last month in Egypt.
The financing has been among the most contentious issues, with delegates from 70 African, South American and Asian countries walking out of negotiations on Wednesday. They returned several hours later.
Brazil, speaking for developing countries during the week, said in a statement that a new funding mechanism dedicated to biodiversity should be established and that developed countries provide $US100 billion annually in financial grants to emerging economies until 2030.
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