COP15 advocates for a biodiversity “peace treaty”

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By Creative Media News

The head of the United Nations said at the beginning of a high-level environmental gathering in Canada, “Humanity has become a weapon of mass extermination.”

Governments are meeting in Montreal to establish goals for reversing the loss of biodiversity.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres stated that we have the opportunity to stop the “orgies of devastation” that have put a million species at risk of extinction.

Cop15 advocates for a biodiversity "peace treaty"
Cop15 advocates for a biodiversity "peace treaty"

“It’s time to make peace with nature,” he continued.

Biodiversity is the whole of all living organisms on Earth and its intricate interdependence, upon which we depend for food, clean air, and water.

Nearly 200 nations will attempt to reach an agreement in Montreal on how to restore the world’s environment by the end of the decade.

The COP15 United Nations summit is considered an opportunity to do for biodiversity what the Paris agreement did for the fight against climate change.

The two concerns are connected, with warnings that it will be far more difficult to combat climate change if we fail to safeguard the environment.

Un calls for biodiversity
Cop15 advocates for a biodiversity "peace treaty"

Dr. Abigail Entwistle of the conservation charity Fauna and Flora International stated, “The concept of biodiversity can be rather confusing to some, but it’s all about nature.”

“We have not been as effective in communicating the stakes and urgency of the problem, and we must have our 1.5-degree moment for biodiversity, just as we did for climate change.”

Among the most important goals of the agreement are:

  • Reducing the threat of extinction to over one million species
  • preserving 30 percent of land and sea
  • Eliminating billions of dollars of government subsidies that harm the environment
  • Restoring degraded ecosystems.

Several difficulties threaten to disrupt the negotiations, including the financing of the plans and the argument over how to safeguard the natural world without risking the creation of “paper parks” or “ghost woods” in which indigenous people and local communities are excluded.

Pablo Sinovas, country director for Fauna and Flora International in Cambodia, emphasized the necessity for improved protection of areas with unexplored biodiversities, such as Virachey National Park in Cambodia.

This forest region could be compared to the Amazon in Asia,” he remarked.

It is a very huge forest with exceptional biodiversity; there is plenty to explore and learn, but, unlike the Amazon, it has not received as much attention.

The United Kingdom is among the countries advocating for the protection of 30 percent of land and water by 2030. The government stated that it would collaborate with nations around the world to put the natural world back on the path to recovery and would continue to strive for an ambitious outcome at the negotiations.

The Environment Secretary, Therese Coffey, stated that until now “nature has been the Cinderella” compared to other global issues, but that it was “crucial” to reach an accord in Montreal.

“We must unite as a global community,” she told. “We have already done it for the environment; now we must do the same for nature.”

However, British wildlife NGOs have accused the government of falling short of its domestic nature goals.

The United Kingdom is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world and is “moving backward” in terms of its domestic agenda, according to Nick Bruce-White, director of the bird preservation organization RSPB England.

“By the end of 2030, we must at least halt the reduction in biodiversity and, preferably, be on a path to restore biodiversity,” he said. This is the final bar of last resort.

The administration has been criticised by environmental groups for missing a deadline to establish legally enforceable nature targets, as required under the Environment Act. However, the government has stated that these targets would be published soon.

The United Kingdom has lost much of its natural environment throughout time. Somerset, a county in the southwestern United States, is at the centre of a nationwide effort to restore wildlife habitat through a series of reserves.

Important wetland sites for birds and other animals have been established in Streart Marshes on the coast of Somerset by allowing the sea to reclaim intensively farmed land.

Alys Laver, manager of reserves for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, remarked that nature has a remarkable capacity to heal itself.

“I believe that what we’ve learned here at Steart is that providing room for nature on a landscape size enables nature to take over and get those healthy ecosystems functioning, and the rest takes care of itself,” she said.

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