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Nations come together to save biodiversity, including rainforests, wetlands, and rights of indigenous people

Biodiversity

There was another major step taken forward to save the earth at the COP15 UN Biodiversity Summit in Montreal, Canada as nations came together to agree to protect a third of the planet for nature by 2030 in an “historic” deal aimed at safeguarding biodiversity.

As part of the agreement targets have been agreed to for protecting vital ecosystems such as rainforests and wetlands and the rights of indigenous peoples. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) contains global goals and targets aiming to protect and restore nature for current and future generations, ensure its sustainable use as well as spur investments for a green global economy. Together with the Paris Agreement on climate, it paves the way towards a climate-neutral, nature-positive and resilient world by 2050.

Chaired by China and hosted by Canada, The GBF at COP 15 aims to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems and protect indigenous rights. The plan includes concrete measures to halt and reverse nature loss, including putting 30 per cent of the planet and 30 per cent of degraded ecosystems under protection by 2030. It also contains proposals to increase finance to developing countries – a major sticking point during talks.

The agreement is a solid framework with clear, measurable goals and targets, with complete monitoring, reporting, and review arrangements to track progress complemented by a robust resource mobilisation package.

More than half of global GDP depends on ecosystem services. 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 – USD 200 billion per year by 2030. It commits the global community to actions to protect and restore nature and remove pollution – such as those that are part of the European Green Deal. This will ensure that nature continues sustaining societies, economies and communities for decades to come.

The GBF consists of four overarching global goals to protect nature, and include halting of human-induced extinction of threatened species and reducing the rate of extinction of all species tenfold by 2050; sustainable use and management of biodiversity to ensure that nature’s contributions to people are valued, maintained and enhanced; fair sharing of the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources, and digital sequence information on genetic resources; and that adequate means of implementing the GBF be accessible to all Parties, particularly Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Goals and targets for ambitious action by 2030 and 2050 include key global targets to restore 30% degraded ecosystems globally (on land and sea) by 2030, 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 space and mobilising finance and allow for business to take responsibility for biodiversity.

The deal will significantly increase the mobilisation of finance for biodiversity from all sources, domestic, international – both public and private – mobilising at least USD 200 billion per year by 2030. It will create incentives for domestic and international sources, including from business investment.

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Executive Director, Inger Andersen, emphasised that implementation is now key: “Success will be measured by our rapid and consistent progress in implementing what we have agreed to. The entire UN system is geared to support its implementation so we can truly make peace with nature.”

Finance played a key role at COP15, with discussions centring on how much money developed countries will send to developing countries to address biodiversity loss. It was requested that the Global Environment Facility set up a Special Trust Fund – the GBF Fund – to support the implementation of the GBF, in order to ensure an adequate, predictable and timely flow of funds.

GBF also addresses subsidies harmful to biodiversity, with the commitment to identify by 2025 and eliminate by 2030 a total of at least USD 500 billion per year. 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.

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