The face-to-face portion of a pivotal UN summit on biodiversity originally scheduled for last year will be postponed to April 2022, UN officials said Wednesday, citing the Covid pandemic.
An “official” virtual opening of the COP15 meeting hosted by China will take place in mid-October this year, followed by face-to-face negotiations in Kunming in southern China from April 25 to May 8, 2022.
Campaigners have been calling for an effective global agreement to halt biodiversity loss for years, similar to what the Paris Agreement on climate change proposes.
With more than a million species facing extinction and the world failing to meet existing conservation goals, there is an urgent need for an agreement among the nearly 200 countries participating in the talks.
Earlier this month, the UN unveiled a draft summit agreement calling for the conservation of at least 30 percent of the land and oceans, along with other biodiversity goals.
The design, the result of months of online discussions, has charted the path for humanity to “live in harmony with nature” by 2050.
The draft outlined 21 goals and 10 “milestones” to be achieved by 2030 to conserve biodiversity.
These include restoring at least 20 percent of degraded ecosystems and ensuring that existing intact wild areas are preserved.
At least 30 percent of terrestrial and marine species should also be protected through protected areas, the draft says.
The framework also called for more sustainable farming and fishing practices, including a two-thirds reduction in pesticide use, as well as “elimination of plastic waste discharges.”
“Addressing the challenge of halting the ongoing loss of species and genetic diversity and the damage to our ecosystems will determine the well-being of humanity for generations to come,” said UN Biodiversity Director Elizabeth Maruma Mrema after Wednesday’s announcement.
“Convening COP15 in two parts will allow maximum progress on the various remaining difficult issues ahead of our concluding face-to-face sessions in Kunming.”
The draft set specific funding goals, including cutting subsidies that harm wildlife by at least $500 billion a year.
It also called for at least $200 billion a year in new and additional funding to meet the goals.
Originally intended to be held in October 2020, the summit was postponed for a year as the coronavirus swept across the planet.
But as the pandemic continues to rage, organizers have decided to postpone for a second time.
Two “high-level” days of virtual meetings starting Oct. 12, world leaders will try to kick-start COP15 negotiations, organizers said.
However, Green groups have expressed skepticism that the text will survive the grueling negotiations. Oscar Soria, campaign manager at pressure group Avaaz, told AFP the figures in the draft were “absolute minimum numbers.”
“If this draft survives the negotiations of the negotiations, the world will have a solid blueprint for action on biodiversity,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)