COP15 witnesses historic agreement on biodiversity in Montreal

Sami Hegazi
3 Min Read

Nearly 200 nations of the world agreed on Monday 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.

After more than four years of difficult negotiations and ten days and a night of diplomatic marathon, nearly 200 countries reached an agreement under the auspices of COP15 President China, despite opposition from the Democratic Republic of the Congo( DRC).

The Treaty of Peace with Nature, officially known as the Kunming-Montreal Agreement, aims to protect land, oceans and species from pollution, degradation and the climate crisis.

The countries agreed on a road map that includes, among other goals, the protection of 30% of the planet by 2030, and the allocation of $30 billion in annual aid to developing countries in their conservation efforts.

“The agreement has been adopted,” said Huang Rongqiu, China’s president of the congress, during the plenary session, before announcing the meeting would be adjourned to thunderous applause from fatigued delegates.

“Together we took a historic step,” said Stephen Gilboa, Canada’s environment minister, who hosted the conference.

The most famous measure adopted by the Conference, among its 20 procedures, which established protected sites on 30% of the planet’s area, was presented as being as important in the area of biodiversity. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit climate warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Currently, 17% of the land and 8% of the seas are protected areas.

The agreement also provides safeguards for indigenous peoples who are custodians of 80% of the land’s remaining biodiversity, and the document recommends restoration of 30% of degraded land and halving the risk associated with pesticides.

In order to resolve the still-contentious North-South financial issue, China has proposed that annual international biodiversity assistance reach “at least $20 billion” by 2025 and “at least $30 billion by 2030.”

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