Montreal: Historic biodiversity deal reached at UN conference

Negotiators reached a historic agreement at the COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal early Monday morning. The agreement was finalised on the last day of the conference, with China, who assumed the presidency at the conference, releasing a draft of the agreement Sunday.

Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu addressed the conference in Montreal, saying, “We have in our hands a package which I think can guide us as we all work together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put biodiversity on the path to recovery for the benefit of all people in the world.”

The most noteworthy aspect of the agreement is the 30-by-30 goal, which aims at protecting 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030. At present, the number stands at 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas protected.

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The agreement also aims to raise $200 billion by 2030 for biodiversity and additionally, propose subsidies that could contribute another $500 billion for the same.

Speaking on the agreement, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault stated, “Many of us wanted more things in the text and more ambition but we got an ambitious package…We have 30 by 30. Six months ago, who would have thought we could 30 by 30 in Montreal? We have an agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, to work on restoration, to reduce the use of pesticides. This is tremendous progress.”

Echoing similar sentiments, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition, Christophe Bechu stated, “It’s not a small deal. It’s a deal with very precise and quantified objectives on pesticides, on reduction of loss of species, on eliminating bad subsidies…We double until 2025 and triple 2030 the finance for biodiversity.”

It may be pertinent to note that about 70 of the 190 countries participating in the conference walked out of the negotiations on Wednesday, only to return hours later.


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