Under Chinese harassment, COP15 sets target to conserve 30% of biodiversity by 2030

Under Chinese harassment, COP15 sets target to conserve 30% of biodiversity by 2030

After two weeks of negotiations, the UN biodiversity COP15 adopted the new global biodiversity framework in the early hours of this Monday (19), in a climate of trampling by the presidency of the COP, led by China, and also of protest by African countries .

At 3:33 am on Monday (19), the President of COP15 and Minister of the Environment of China, Huang Runqiu, gave his gavel in a gesture of adoption of the agreement, at the same time that he announced that he had not heard any objections.

With 23 objectives, the agreement establishes that the world jump from just over 15% of areas currently conserved on the planet to at least 30% by 2030, in addition to restoring another 30% of degraded areas and zeroing out the loss of biodiverse territories.

Dubbed ’30×30′, it is considered the main goal of the agreement by the countries that are part of the High Ambition Coalition of the negotiations. Canadians try to score the ’30×30′ mark as equivalent to the climate goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C.

The 30×30 target also recognizes indigenous territories as part of the conservation solution – beating an attempt by the European Union to exclude indigenous territories from the proposal.

The argument used by the Europeans was that indigenous lands may not be relevant for conservation, despite the report of the UN biodiversity panel (Ipbes) having concluded, in 2018, that indigenous lands contribute to 80% of the planet’s biodiversity.

Brazil was one of the countries that supported the continued mention of indigenous territories in the conservation target. The country still gave up suggesting a national implementation –which would oblige each country to keep 30% of its territories– and started to accept the global goal, without specific mentions about the implementation.

A partial achievement of the bloc of developing countries, led by Brazil and the African group, was the creation of a biodiversity fund, which should be established in 2023 under the management of the financial mechanism already adopted by the Convention, the GEF (Global Environment Facility ).

Instead of a fund under the umbrella of the GEF, Brazil and developing countries would like to see a biodiversity fund within the Convention on Biological Diversity – unlike the GEF, the new fund would have an obligation to respond to COP decisions.

The fund to be created under the GEF still in 2023 must have its own governance body. The decision also provides for the possibility of creating a financial mechanism under the authority of the COP, which will be evaluated by a committee of the Convention.

The amount of money promised by the new global framework for biodiversity displeases both blocs, but the developing countries had last minute conquests over the text, which won, as early as Sunday night, a specific mention of “official assistance for development”. The term refers to money flowing from the public coffers of developed countries to developing countries.

While citing official assistance, funding targets also include public, private, and philanthropic sources. The text foresees that all countries must mobilize an annual increase in the current US$ 100 billion directed to biodiversity until reaching US$ 200 billion in 2030.

Out of this global effort, the responsibility of developed countries on behalf of developing countries is to mobilize at least an additional US$25 billion by 2025 and US$30 billion by 2030.


Minutes before the announcement, however, the Democratic Republic of Congo had expressed its dissatisfaction with the agreement, which, in their view, was not ready to be adopted.

The trampling of the objection motivated the protest of other African countries in the plenary. The Ugandan negotiator stated that without clarification on the procedure for adopting the agreement, the case would become a fraud.

According to the legal advisor of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the comment made by the Democratic Republic of Congo did not explicitly mention that it was a formal objection – although the country took the microphone again to confirm that it was, indeed, an objection to the agreement. , which can only be adopted by consensus of the member countries of the Convention.

“A vast majority of countries agreed, it was a balanced text. It is not the first time that a decision has been adopted quickly and some countries have complained,” Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told the press at the end of the plenary session.

“The emblematic colonial injustice today for what happens in the Congo [RDC] it is the origin of all the problems we find today in the Convention and in the relationship between humans and nature, including what makes some countries reluctant to the metaphor of Mother Earth [termo presente no acordo por sugestão da Bolívia]”, said at the end of the plenary session the chief negotiator of Namibia, Pierre du Plessis.

“We remain in the narrative of developing versus developed countries, but we need a much more holistic solution than we managed to draw in this new global framework”, he said.

Negotiators from developed countries and COP15 co-chairs told the Sheet that the Democratic Republic of Congo was unyielding and the minister heading the delegation was not present at dawn this Monday – which would push the negotiation into the daytime period of the last day of the COP.

In addition to seeing no way out of the demands of the DRC, which asked for more commitment with funding, the Chinese did not give up bringing forward the closing plenary to Sunday night – until Sunday afternoon (18), it was scheduled for the afternoon from monday.

Despite the trampling in the final plenary, the result of the approved text included demands from the different negotiating blocs, which sought a more realistic and implementable text than the Aichi Targets agreement, adopted in 2010 and which was in force until 2020.

The new framework brings conservation goals considered ambitious by the developed bloc and provides for the creation of a fund to finance biodiversity actions, a demand from Brazil and the African group.

There was also acceptance by the countries of the target that deals with subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity. It predicts that countries must identify biodiversity-damaging subsidies by 2025 and prepare a transition to eliminate or reform them, in order to cut $500 billion by 2030 in harmful subsidies – while increasing positive incentives. for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Driven by France, the European Union fought for the forecast to eliminate harmful subsidies, putting the world in the same direction as the European strategy, which foresees halving the use of agricultural pesticides by 2030.

The text had strong opposition from heavily agricultural countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Indonesia, but was accepted after removing specific mentions of agricultural pesticides. The term, however, is still mentioned in a target on combating pollution, which aims to halve the risk associated with pesticides and other chemicals.

Unlike the Paris Agreement on climate change, the global framework is not legally binding – that is, it should not become national law in countries that adopt it.

Still, the text should guide national public policies and countries should submit national reports on progress in implementing the targets.

*The journalist traveled at the invitation of Avaaz.

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