Major biodiversity summit will take place in Canada, not China: what scientists think

Major biodiversity summit will take place in Canada, not China: what scientists think

Major biodiversity summit will take place in Canada, not China: what scientists think

The parts of the Amazon turned into a mosaic of jungle islands, interspersed with extensive cattle ranches.

Deforestation, including in the Amazon, contributes to the loss of biodiversity.Credit: Ivan Valencia/Bloomberg/Getty

Researchers are relieved that, after a two-year delay due to the pandemic, a pivotal summit will take place this year to conclude a new global agreement to save nature. But they say the hard work of negotiating an ambitious deal is ahead.

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced yesterday that the meeting will move from Kunming, China, to Montreal, Canada. The meeting of representatives from nearly 200 member states of the CBD – known as COP15 – will now take place from December 5-17. China remains chairman of COP15 and Huang Runqiu, China’s minister of ecology and environment, remains chairman.

Conservation and biodiversity scientists grew increasingly concerned that China’s strict “zero COVID” strategy, which uses measures such as lockdowns to wipe out all infections, would force the host country to postpone the meeting again. Researchers warned that another setback to the agreement, which aims to halt the alarming rate of species extinction and protect fragile ecosystems, would be disastrous for countries’ ability to meet ambitious targets to conserve biodiversity in the world. protect the next decade.

“We are relieved and grateful to have a firm date within this calendar year for these all-important biodiversity negotiations,” said Andrew Deutz, an expert in biodiversity law and finance at the Nature Conservancy, a conservation organization in Virginia, USA. . “The global community is already behind schedule in agreeing, let alone executing, a plan to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030,” he says.

With the date now set, Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, says the key to Montreal’s success will be that the new Global Biodiversity Agreement addresses the direct and indirect causes of wildlife loss, and the behavior that underlies it. “Policy must be science-led, action must be resourced and change must be transformative,” she adds.

New location

The decision to move the meeting came after representatives of the global regions that make up the COP’s decision-making body reached a consensus to move it to Montreal. China and Canada then worked out the details of how the move would work. The CBD has provisions that if a host country is unable to hold a COP, the meeting will be moved to the home of the convention’s secretariat, Montreal.

Announcing the decision, Elizabeth Mrema, executive secretary of the CBD, said in a statement: “I would like to thank the government of China for their flexibility and continued commitment to paving our way towards an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework beyond 2020.”

In a statement, Runqiu said: “China would like to emphasize that it remains strongly committed as COP chairman to ensure the success of the second part of COP 15, including the adoption of an effective Global Biodiversity Framework after 2020, and to ensure its delivery during his presidency.”

China also agreed to pay for ministers from the least developed countries and small island developing states to travel to Montreal to participate in the meeting.

work ahead

Paul Matiku, an environmental scientist and head of Nature Kenya, a conservation organization in Nairobi, Kenya, says the move is “a welcome decision” after “the world lost patience after a series of postponements”.

But he says rich countries need to reach deeper into their pockets to help low- and middle-income countries — which are home to much of the world’s biodiversity — deliver on the deal, including achieving goals such as protecting at least 30% of the world’s land and seas and reduce the rate of extinction. Disputes over financing already threaten to block the agreement. At a meeting in Geneva in March, countries made no progress on the new deal, as countries such as Gabon and Kenya argued that the $10 billion a year funding proposed in the draft text of the agreement was insufficient. They called for $100 billion a year in aid.

“The extent to which the CBD is implemented depends on the availability of predictable, adequate financial flows from developed countries to developing country parties,” Matiku says.

Talks on the agreement will resume in Nairobi from June 21-26, where Deutz hopes countries can agree on key issues such as funding before heading to Montreal. Having a firm date for COP15 will help move the negotiations forward, he says.

“Negotiators only start to compromise when they have a deadline. Now they have one,” he says.