Governments appear to have signed a once in a decade deal to stop the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems, but the deal appears to have been forced by the Chinese president, over the objections of some African states.
After more than four years of negotiations, repeated delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and talks as late as Sunday night in Montreal, nearly 200 countries: but not the USA or the Vatican – signed an agreement at Biodiversity Cop15, which was co-sponsored by Canada and China, to move humanity towards a life in harmony with nature by mid-century.
In an extraordinary plenary session that began on Sunday night and lasted more than seven hours, the countries discussed the final agreement. Finally, around 3:30 am local time, the news broke that a deal had been reached.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo appeared to block the final agreement presented by China before, moments later, the Chinese environment minister and the police15 Chairman Huang Runqiu signaled that the deal was finished and agreed, and the plenary erupted in applause.
Negotiators from Cameroon, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo expressed their disbelief that the deal has gone through. The Democratic Republic of Congo said it had formally opposed the deal, but a UN lawyer said no. Cameroon’s negotiator called it a “fraud” while Uganda said there had been a “coup” against Cop15.
Between plummeting number of insectsacidifying the oceans full of plastic wasteand the rampant overconsumption of the planet’s resources as the population of humanity grows richer and flies by 8 billionThe agreement, if implemented, could signal major changes in agriculture, commercial supply chains, and the role of indigenous communities in conservation.
The deal was negotiated over two weeks and includes targets to protect 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade, reform $500bn (£410bn) of environmentally damaging subsidies and restore 30% of the degraded continental and terrestrial waters of the planet. , coastal and marine ecosystems.
Governments also agreed to urgent action to stop human-caused extinctions of species known to be threatened and to promote their recovery.
The deal follows scientific warnings that humans are causing the Start of the sixth mass extinction on Earth event, the greatest loss of life since the time of the dinosaurs.
Canadian Steven Guilbeault, former environmental activist turned ministerhe said the Kunming-Montreal pact was a “bold step forward to protect nature”.
“Just six months ago, we didn’t know if we were going to even be able to have this conference, let alone be able to adopt this historic document. And this was only possible thanks to the collaboration of all the countries present here tonight,” he said.
governments they have never reached a goal they have set themselves in nature in previous decades, and the Montreal-Kunming deal has been the subject of a major push to turn around years of failure, apathy, and environmental destruction.
In echoes of last month Cop27 climate summit in EgyptThe divisions over money were the main sticking point in the final hours of the negotiations. EU member states, the UK and other countries from the global north pushed for ambitious conservation targets in the final text, and co-hosts Canada said the success of the summit depended on the main goal to protect 30% of the Earth by the end of the decade for natureknown as 30 for 30.
Countries in the global south, including Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo: megadiverse countries home to the world’s three largest rainforests – wanted governments to agree to create a new biodiversity fund as part of the Montreal pact to pay for new conservation targets.
In the final agreement, the countries decided to create a new fund within the UN’s main existing biodiversity financing mechanism, the Global Environment Facility, and to commit to future talks on a separate fund. Rich countries have agreed to provide $30 billion of aid for biodiversity by the end of the decade, which is believed to be a substantial increase on current levels.
Although the Montreal-Kunming agreement is not legally binding, governments will be tasked with showing their progress in meeting the targets with national biodiversity plans, similar to nationally determined contributions, which countries use to show progress on compliance with the Paris climate agreement.
Observers expressed disappointment at the weaker-than-expected language on pesticide consumption and use, both major drivers of biodiversity loss. The term “nature positive”, which some scientists had said would be the biodiversity equivalent of “net zero”, did not appear in the agreement.
Along with the Nature Goals, countries reached a landmark agreement to develop a financial mechanism to share the benefits of drug, vaccine and food product discoveries that come from digital forms of biodiversity, known as digital sequence information or DSIafter disputes over biopiracy in the run-up to Cop15.