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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cop15 Negotiators Close to Reaching a Nature Deal

Final agreement could bring better protection for vital ecosystems and big reforms to agriculture

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CANADA: At Cop15 in Montreal, a potentially game-changing environmental agreement is about to be reached. This could lead to significant changes in agriculture and better protection of indigenous territories and rights. It also includes improved protection for the planet’s most vital ecosystems, such as the Amazon and Congo rainforests.

After two weeks of intense discussions at the UN biodiversity summit in Canada, which followed four years of negotiations and 12 years after the last biodiversity targets were set in Japan, the Chinese president of Cop15 presented its suggestions for a final accord.

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Prior to the publication of the book, world leaders, including British prime minister Rishi Sunak, French president Emmanuel Macron, and others, urged for an aggressive plan to address scientific concerns over 1 million species at risk of extinction.

The document will be discussed by delegation leaders in a meeting later on Sunday, and talks are expected to continue through the night. A plenary is scheduled for that evening. 

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The Cop15 president and China’s environment minister, Huang Runqiu, stated that he desired the final text to be adopted on Monday.

Plans to protect 30% of Earth for nature, reform $500 billion (£412 billion) in environmentally harmful subsidies, and stop ecosystem-damaging pollution by the end of the decade are all included in the package, which includes this decade’s targets to stop the destruction of the planet’s life-sustaining ecosystems. If the deal is ratified, northern countries will contribute $30 billion annually for conservation by the end of the decade.

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The primary accord, known as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, contains 23 targets and four goals that all strongly emphasize protecting indigenous rights and territory.

The package put out by the Chinese presidency includes ideas for establishing a fund for biodiversity to assist the new conservation initiatives headquartered within the UN’s Global Environment Facility. 

Following walkouts of negotiations earlier in the week, a new fund was a crucial demand from developing countries in the deal.

According to environmental organizations and observers, if the agreement was fully implemented and supported by financial resources, it may mark the beginning of a significant shift in how humans interact with nature.

However, they warned that no government has ever met an initial UN biodiversity target. A proposal for mandatory disclosures was not included in the text, and the term “nature positive,” which scientists said would be the biodiversity equivalent of “net zero,” did not appear. 

As a result, some people expressed disappointment at the weaker-than-hoped language on consumption and business action on nature.

Also Read: Lula Receives Criticism for Using a Private Plane for Cop27

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