UN convenes biodiversity summit

A major gathering, backed by the United Nations, started this week in Geneva which aims to prevent the loss of biodiversity.

The fortnight meeting of over 190 countries is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which convenes after a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Maintaining biodiversity is viewed as important for a number of reasons including containing the emergence of pathogens like the coronavirus, as well as damage to both lives and livelihoods of people around the world caused by the loss of habitat.

The world is clearly eager for urgent action to protect nature,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“And we have no time to spare. Together we must ultimately deliver a truly historic agreement that puts us firmly on the path to living in harmony with nature.”

Talks, which run from March 14 to 29, will set the stage for a crucial United Nations COP 15 biodiversity summit, initially due to be held in Kunming, China in 2020 and postponed several times because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Geneva meeting will announce new dates for COP 15.

The CBD said the Geneva talks will play a crucial role in finalising an “ambitious

It also includes objectives on reducing the amount of fertilisers and pesticides discharged into the environment and cutting at least $500 billion per year of harmful subsidies.

The US-based Campaign For Nature says a major theme in Geneva will be a target to protect and conserve at least 30% of the world’s lands, inland waters and oceans to help stanch habitat loss, the “overexploitation” of nature by people and businesses, and the emergence of pathogens that thrive off upheaval in the environment.

Convention managers point to five drivers of biodiversity loss:

  • changes to the use of land and sea
  • unsustainable exploitation through activities like agriculture
  • climate change
  • pollution
  • the spread of invasive alien species into new habitats

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