‘Embrace history’: UN environment chief calls for immediate action on COP15 deal

The UN’s environment chief has urged citizens, businesses and governments to “not stop for a second” in implementing the new 10-year deal to stop the destruction of nature, calling for changes in consumption patterns and attitudes.

“[With the new agreement] we recognize that protecting the natural world is a sum of linear efforts by governments, businesses and us – each of us as individuals and consumers,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations program United for the Environment.

“We need to change the relationship between man and nature. And if we’re being honest, time is not on our side. We’ve pushed nature to its limits and it’s time to ease the pressure. We also know that this is a remarkable thing and that nature is very forgiving. If we give it half a chance, it will bounce back.

“Let’s not stop for a second. Embrace the history we made in Montreal and move on to delivering the frame.

Andersen made the comments during the Cop15 closing press conference alongside Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault; summit chairman Huang Runqiu; and UN Deputy Biodiversity Chief David Cooper, who were in high spirits after the conference ended.

United for biodiversity.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Our city, our province, our country have rallied together to make this happen. pic.twitter.com/kYZUumLmyN

— Steven Guilbeault (@s_guilbeault) December 20, 2022

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United for biodiversity.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Our city, our province, our country have rallied together to make this happen. pic.twitter.com/kYZUumLmyN

— Steven Guilbeault (@s_guilbeault) December 20, 2022

Huang paid tribute to his Canadian counterpart and their collaborative efforts on the deal during negotiations over the past few weeks, despite tensions between the two countries.

“The first days of Cop15, the weather was not good. It was cloudy. My heart was heavy. I felt a lot of pressure on what kind of deal we could get. I have to thank Steven Guilbeault for his efforts,” said Huang, stopping to shake hands with the Canadian.

“There is a Chinese proverb that snow brings good luck. The second week it snowed. During the wee hours of yesterday, we celebrated, clapped and cheered. At the conference, we achieved historic success. A shared future for all life on Earth,” the COP15 president said, adding that he would ensure countries implement the final deal while China holds the presidency for the next two years.

Yesterday, Huang shook hands with Ève Bazaiba, environment minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in plenary – to applause from delegates – after a dispute over how the deal was struck at the haste has been resolved.

“I am extremely happy to share that we have achieved a ‘Montréal moment’ for nature,” said Guilbeault. “For Canada, as well as for many environmental organizations, we could only dream of achieving the level of ambition reflected in the text of the framework. Just a week ago, who would have thought we would have a global commitment to protect 30% of land and oceans? »

Here are the main points of the once-in-a-decade agreement to halt the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems, called the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework:

30×30
The most high-profile goal of COP15, the final wording commits governments to conserving almost a third of the Earth for nature by 2030, while respecting indigenous and traditional territories in expanding new protected areas .

Indigenous rights
Indigenous peoples are mentioned 18 times, which some activists call a historic victory. The language of the text is clear: Indigenous-led models of conservation must become the norm in this decade.

Subsidies
The final text says harmful subsidies should be cut by at least $500 billion a year by the end of the decade. It does not specify whether they should be eliminated, removed or reformed, but this is recognized as one of the strongest parts of the agreement.

Company
Although the language was watered down in the final text, target 15 requires governments to ensure that large transnational corporations disclose “their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity”.

Digital biopiracy
Digital sequence information (DSI) refers to the digitized genetic information we obtain from nature, which is frequently used to produce new drugs, vaccines, and food products. It was agreed to develop a funding mechanism on DSI in the coming years, which was hailed as a historic victory for African states, who called for its creation ahead of the summit.

A link to all documents agreed at Cop15 can be found here.

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Questions and answers

A guide to the Cop15 deal for nature

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Here are the main points of the once-in-a-decade agreement to halt the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems, called the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework:

30×30
The most high-profile goal of COP15, the final wording commits governments to conserving almost a third of the Earth for nature by 2030, while respecting indigenous and traditional territories in expanding new protected areas .

Indigenous rights
Indigenous peoples are mentioned 18 times, which some activists call a historic victory. The language of the text is clear: Indigenous-led models of conservation must become the norm in this decade.

Subsidies
The final text says harmful subsidies should be cut by at least $500 billion a year by the end of the decade. It does not specify whether they should be eliminated, removed or reformed, but this is recognized as one of the strongest parts of the agreement.

Company
Although the language was watered down in the final text, target 15 requires governments to ensure that large transnational corporations disclose “their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity”.

Digital biopiracy
Digital sequence information (DSI) refers to the digitized genetic information we obtain from nature, which is frequently used to produce new drugs, vaccines, and food products. It was agreed to develop a funding mechanism on DSI in the coming years, which was hailed as a historic victory for African states, who called for its creation ahead of the summit.

A link to all documents agreed at Cop15 can be found here.

Thank you for your opinion.

Nearly 200 countries have signed the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Accord, hailed by many.

Alok Sharma, the president of Cop26, tweeted: “A historic result at #Cop15 – the key, as always, will be the implementation of the commitments made by the countries.

Tony Juniper, President of Natural England, said: “The agreement reached in Montreal today is a real breakthrough, providing a new opportunity for humanity in this decade to steer the historic declines of nature towards recovery. .

However, some were cautious about the outcome. Professor Ian Boyd, former chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “The agreement reached at Cop15 in Montreal to protect a third of the planet for nature by 2030 has been well received. Many of my scientific colleagues thought that was a step forward. But… setting lofty goals doesn’t require them to be achieved. Nothing has really changed since 2010, other than a growing urgency to act, so what makes everyone think these new goals will work this time around? he said, referring to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set in 2010, none of which have been fully met.

The final deal was negotiated over two weeks and includes targets to protect 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade, reform $500bn (£410bn) of harmful subsidies to the environment and to restore 30% of the planet’s degraded terrestrial and interior resources. aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystems.

Find more Age of Extinction coverage here and follow the Biodiversity Reporters Phoebe Weston and patrick greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features


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