Global 'peace pact' inked to protect nature
By 2030, the agreement promises to safeguard 30% of the planet as a protected area and stop threatened species' extinctions due to human activity.
Nations signed a historic agreement—hailed by the UN head as "a peace contract with nature”—to reverse decades of environmental degradation that have threatened the planet's species and ecosystems.
After the lengthy COP 15 biodiversity summit in Montreal went late into the night, chair Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu announced that the agreement had been adopted and slammed his gavel, sparking loud applause.
"We are finally starting to forge a peace pact with nature," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, lauding the accord.
On her account, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said the deal was a "foundation for global action on biodiversity, complementing the Paris Agreement for Climate."
It is worth noting that more than 190 additional nations supported the Chinese-mediated agreement to protect Earth's lands, oceans, and animals from pollution, deterioration, and climate disaster after four years of contentious discussions.
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By 2030, the agreement promises to safeguard 30% of the planet as a protected area, contribute $30 billion annually to conservation help for developing countries, and stop threatened species' extinctions due to human activity.
Although some complained that it did not go far enough, environmentalists have compared it to the historic plan to limit global warming to 1.5°C under the Paris Agreement.
Brian O'Donnell of the Campaign for Nature described it as "the largest land and ocean conservation commitment in history."
Meanwhile, the CEO of campaign group Avaaz, Bert Wander, warned, "It's a significant step forward in the fight to protect life on Earth, but on its own, it won't be enough. Governments should listen to what science is saying and rapidly scale up the ambition to protect half the Earth by 2030."
The Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The text also makes a commitment to uphold Indigenous people's rights to act as stewards of their lands, which is a crucial demand of campaigners.
Along with saving hundreds of billions of dollars by eliminating ecologically harmful farming subsidies, lowering the danger from pesticides, and combating invasive species, the accord's 23 goals also include reducing the use of pesticides.
The Global North had been asked to establish a new, larger aid fund for developing nations. However, the proposed language offered an alternative compromise: establishing a fund within the already-existing Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Estimates place the annual cash flows for nature to the developing countries at around $10 billion.
Due to opposition from Republican senators, the United States has not ratified the biodiversity convention.
Simultaneously, the United States praised the deal agreed upon in Montreal as a "turning point" and expressed gratitude for China's contribution.
"The global biodiversity framework is the turning point we think we need to combat the biodiversity crisis," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
Price said that "we appreciate" the diplomacy both of China -- the leader of the conference which announced a deal in the early hours Monday -- as well as host country Canada.
"We certainly hope that this spells deeper cooperation with the PRC on shared challenges," Price said, in reference to the People's Republic of China.