COP15 deal a good start but more needed – Greenpeace

The world’s governments have agreed a new deal on biodiversity protection as environmental groups said the deal does not go far enough.

Delegates at the COP15 conference in Montreal have agreed a new global framework which includes a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030. Currently, the figure stands at  17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas are protected.

The draft also calls for raising $200 billion by 2030 for biodiversity from a range of sources and working to phase out or reform subsidies in order to provide another $500 billion for nature.

As part of the financing package, the framework calls for increasing to at least $20 billion annually by 2025 the money that goes to poor countries — or about double what is currently provided. That number would increase to $30 billion each year by 2030.

“We have taken solid steps towards success,” said Huang Runqiu, COP15 president and China’s minister of ecology and environment.

COP15, formally known as the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and concluded yesterday with the announcement of the framework, which was been in the balance, with a range of issues causing discord among delegates.

Huang added ministers had expressed a strong political will to reverse global biodiversity loss and acknowledged that the conference is the last window of opportunity to make that change.

“We must race against time, face up to the causes of biodiversity loss, and take reform measures in production, consumption and trade,” He said. “We must also establish scientific methods to measure the natural costs of economic activities, mobilise as many resources as possible and set up implementation mechanism and national action plans to make an ambitious and realistic framework work.”

Ministers from both developed and developing countries have helped working groups to achieve progress in talks on difficult issues including resource mobilization and Digital Sequence Information, known as DSI, said Huang.

“China will continue to play its role while holding the COP15 presidency to help form synergy from all parties, close gaps and build consensus to reach an ambitious, realistic and balanced framework that the international community has been expecting,” he added.

Greenpeace said it welcomed the explicit recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, roles, territories, and knowledge as the most effective biodiversity protection that has come out of the UN biodiversity talks.

An Lambrechts, head of the Greenpeace delegation at COP15, explained:  “Indigenous Peoples are the most capable and knowledgeable guardians of nature. There is so much potential for biodiversity protection if Indigenous Peoples are in leadership roles. Rights-based protections are the future of conservation. Direct finance for Indigenous Peoples is a critical next step.

“Taken altogether, however, COP15 failed to deliver the ambition, tools, or finance necessary to stop mass extinction. The 30×30 target, to protect at least 30% of land and of sea by 2030, has successfully made it in. But it is stripped-down, without essential qualifiers that exclude damaging activities from protected areas. As is, it is just an empty number, with protections on paper but nowhere else.

“$20 billion a year until 2025, and then $30 billion a year until 2030, is a start, but it’s not enough. With a $700 billion biodiversity funding gap, it’s unclear where the rest of the money will come from. Finance is not only a question of how much, but how fast. Setting up a fund in 2023 should get funding to developing countries faster.

“Corporate schemes like nature-based solutions and offsets leeched on to the UN biodiversity talks from start to finish. These are false solutions that may prove to be costly mistakes. The scandals and greenwashing you see in carbon offsetting today are what’s on the menu for biodiversity tomorrow.”