Almost 200 nations have agreed to preserve 30 per cent of Earth for nature, as part of a landmark deal aimed at reversing biodiversity loss
A landmark deal aimed at turning the tide on the extinction crisis has been agreed at COP15 in Montreal, Canada, with nations pledging to protect 30 per cent of the planet for nature by the close of the decade.
The ‘30-by-30’ pledge has been hailed as the biodiversity equivalent of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, where parties committed to limiting global warming to 1.5C.
Following two weeks of tense negotiations culminating in talks lasting long into the early hours, the Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework was finally agreed yesterday by almost 200 nations.
World Wildlife Fund director general Marco Lambertini called the move an “exceptional feat” and a “win for the planet” but cautioned that funding and fast action would be needed to realise its potential.
“The agreement represents a major milestone for the conservation of our natural world, and biodiversity has never been so high on the political and business agenda,” he said.
“We must now see immediate implementation of this agreement, no excuses, no delays – nature and all of us who rely on it for our livelihoods, economies and wellbeing have waited long enough, it’s time for nature to thrive again.”
The agreement comes amid an accelerating, humanity-driven biodiversity crisis, with one UN study concluding that as many as 1m species are now threatened with extinction.
The new framework, adopted by 196 countries under the UN Convention of Biological Diversity, aims to reverse this trend by setting out almost two-dozen targets for the next decade.
The headline commitment will require nations to jointly conserve almost a third of oceanic, land and inland water habitats for nature.
Countries also agreed to revive 30 per cent of the planet’s damaged and degraded ecosystems, and to completely phase out environmentally damaging subsidies, setting an initial goal of reducing them by $500bn (£410bn) by 2030.
The agreement represents a major milestone for the conservation of our natural world
Other targets aim to cut pollution, pesticide, chemical and nutrient risks, and to protect the rights of indigenous communities.
Neither the US nor the Vatican signed the biodiversity pledge, while some African nations expressed concerns that they needed more money to fund conservation efforts.
Nonetheless, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement represented a “historic outcome” for COP15.
“The global community now has a roadmap to protect and restore nature, and use it sustainably – for current and future generations,” she said.
Main image: Mylon Ollila