Montreal: After four years of fractious talks, nearly 200 countries, including India, approved a historic Paris-style deal on Monday to protect and reverse dangerous loss to global biodiversity following an intense final session of negotiations at the UN COP15 summit here in Canada. Amid loud applause from assembled delegates, the president of the COP15 biodiversity summit, which started on December 7, Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu, declared the Kunming-Montreal Agreement adopted. The chair maneuvered to ignore Congo’s last-minute move which had refused to back the text and demanded greater funding for developing countries as part of the accord.
The Chinese-brokered deal is aimed at saving the lands, oceans and species from pollution, degradation and climate change. Monitored wildlife populations – mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish – have seen a devastating 69 per cent drop on average since 1970, according to the Living Planet Report (LPR) 2022 of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
One of the most contentious issues in the negotiations was the finance package to support conservation efforts globally, and particularly in developing countries.
The deal commits to progressively increase the level of financial resources from all sources by 2030, mobilising at least USD 200 billion per year. This represents roughly a doubling from a 2020 baseline. A major achievement is also the commitment to USD 20 billion in international finance flows by 2025 and USD 30 billion by 2030. The 23 targets in the accord also include cutting environmentally “destructive” farming subsidies, reducing the risk from pesticides, and tackling invasive species.
Last week, India said a numerical global target for pesticide reduction in the agriculture sector is unnecessary and must be left for countries to decide.
It also said agriculture sector in India, like other developing countries, is the source of “life, livelihoods, and culture for hundreds of millions,” and support to it cannot be targeted for elimination. The deal is being compared by many to the landmark plan to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius under the Paris Agreement.
While environment groups welcomed the potentially transformative impacts the new agreement could have, many still feel that crucial details around finance and conservation are missing.
Agreeing on a shared global goal that will guide collective and immediate action to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 is an exceptional feat for those that have been negotiating the Global Biodiversity Framework, and a win for people and planet. It sends a clear signal and must be the launch pad for action from governments, business, and society to transition towards a nature-positive world, in support of climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is the equivalent to 1.5C in climate and vital to catalysing action toward a nature-positive world and holding everyone accountable, said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO, and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, said the agreement reached is a significant breakthrough for biodiversity.
It reflects never-before-seen recognition from countries at all income levels that biodiversity loss must be stopped through high-ambition changes to our society’s relationship with nature and the way our global economy operates. It also reflects a determination from political leaders around the world to make this happen, Mr. Rodriguez said.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) welcomed the agreement reached at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to agree on a new plan to preserve and protect nature with the new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
This agreement means people around the world can hope for real progress to halt biodiversity loss and protect and restore our lands and seas in a way that safeguards our planet and respects the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, UN Development Programme Administrator Achim Steiner.
Lin Li, Senior Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at WWF International, noted that although the agreement’s mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 has the right level of ambition, yet if the goals and targets are added up they alone are not enough to achieve this.
For example, it lacks a numerical target to reduce the unsustainable footprint of production and consumption. This is disappointing and will require governments to take action at the national level,”\ adds Mr. Li.
The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is the first such framework on biodiversity adopted since the Aichi Biodiversity Targets at COP10 in Nagoya, Japan in 2010. Negotiations for the deal started four years ago. The conference was originally scheduled to take place from 15-28 October 2020, in Kunming, China, but was postponed several times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. COP 15 then took place in two parts, with the first one held in a virtual format.
Nearing the conclusion of the two-week meeting, from December 7-19, nations agreed on a historic package of measures deemed critical to addressing the dangerous loss of biodiversity and restoring natural ecosystems.
Convened under UN auspices, chaired by China, and hosted by Canada, the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF), including four goals and 23 targets for achievement by 2030.
Among the global targets for 2030 is the effective conservation and management of at least 30 per cent of the world’s lands, inland waters, coastal areas and oceans, with emphasis on areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services. Currently, 17 and 10 per cent of the world’s terrestrial and marine areas respectively are under protection.
The deal also aims to reduce to near zero the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity and cut global food waste in half and significantly reduce overconsumption and waste generation.
It also intends to cut by half both excess nutrients and the overall risk posed by pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals. The agreement will progressively phase out or reform by 2030 subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least USD 500 billion per year, while scaling up positive incentives for biodiversity’s conservation and sustainable use.
The deal requires large and transnational companies and financial institutions to monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity through their operations, supply and value chains, and portfolios.
“Without such action, there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years,” the GBF warned. Experts say it will now be essential that countries deliver on the Kunming-Montreal Agreement. This includes translating it into ambitious national plans and policies commensurate with the scale of the nature crisis.
Countries must update national biodiversity strategies and action plans to align them with the global goal of reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, Mr. Lambertini added.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.