Environment & Biodiversity

The historic biodiversity agreement is approved at the COP15 summit in Canada

At a UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference, negotiators reached a historic agreement that would represent the most significant effort to protect the world’s lands and oceans while also providing critical funding to save biodiversity in the developing world.

Key outcomes

[A] 30×30 Deal

  • Delegates agreed to protect 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030, completing the agreement’s most visible goal, known as 30-by-30.
  • At the moment, 17% of terrestrial areas and 10% of marine areas are protected.
  • As many countries and campaigners pushed for during the talks, indigenous and traditional territories will be counted toward this goal.
  • The agreement also aims to restore 30% of degraded lands and waters over the next decade, up from 20% previously.
  • And the world will strive to prevent destroying intact landscapes and areas with a lot of species, bringing those losses “close to zero by 2030”.

[B] Money for nature

  • Signatories hope to ensure that $200 billion per year in public and private funds is directed toward conservation initiatives.
  • Wealthier countries should contribute at least $20 billion annually by 2025, and $30 billion annually by 2030.
  • This appeared to be the main source of opposition to the package in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

[C] Big companies report impacts on biodiversity

  • Companies should assess and report on how their operations influence and are influenced by biodiversity issues.
  • The parties agreed that large corporations and financial institutions would be subject to “requirements” to disclose information about their operations, supply chains, and portfolios.
  • This reporting is intended to gradually promote biodiversity, reduce the risks posed by the natural world to business, and encourage sustainable production.

[D] Harmful subsidies

  • Countries agreed to identify and eliminate, phase out, or reform any subsidies that deplete biodiversity by 2025.
  • They agreed to reduce those incentives by at least $500 billion per year by 2030, while increasing conservation-friendly incentives.

[E] Pollution and pesticides

  • One of the more contentious goals of the agreement was to cut pesticide use by up to two-thirds.
  • However, the final text focuses on the risks associated with pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals, promising to reduce those threats by “at least half” and instead focusing on other forms of pest management.
  • Overall, the Kunming-Montreal agreement will focus on reducing the negative effects of pollution to levels that are not considered harmful to nature, but no quantifiable target is provided in the text.

[F] Monitoring and reporting progress

  • All agreed-upon goals will be supported by processes to track progress in the future, in an effort to avoid this agreement suffering the same fate as similar goals agreed in Aichi, Japan, in 2010 and never met.
  • National action plans will be developed and reviewed in the same manner as greenhouse gas emissions under U.N.-led efforts to combat climate change.
  • Some observers expressed concern about the lack of a deadline for countries to submit their plans.

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