For negotiations, Environment minister Stephen Gilbeault predicted on Sunday that a global agreement to protect a significant portion of the world’s land water will be reached in time for the end of COP15 in Montreal.
Montreal Updates on Negotiations
COP15 negotiations are being overseen by China as they are the official chairing country this year. According to the draft text of an agreement presented by the Chinese environment minister Wong Ranqiu on Sunday morning, at least 30% of the world’s land and marine areas would be protected by 2030. After nearly two weeks of negotiations, 196 Nations that are part of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, a draft text has been issued. The UN said that human activities have altered three-quarters of the world’s land and that 1 million species are at risk of disappearing in this century.
The draft agreement targets to strike a balance between countries calling for more ambitious targets and developing Nations insisting on financial assistance to meet those targets. The text also proposes that developed countries commit at least 2000 crore rupees a year to developing countries by 2025 and 3000 crore rupees by 2030.
Additionally, there are other objectives outlined in the draft agreement which include reducing the negative impacts of pollution and invasive species and publicizing the effects of business activities on biodiversity. It was reported by Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada, that some countries were looking for adjustments to the proposed text. However, there were many other countries that expressed their approval for the proposal. He expects that an agreement will be reached by Monday.
Eddy Perez of Climate Action Network Canada expressed that the proposed agreement is ambitious and believed it could put pressure on developed countries for funding. Even though the pending proposal set the bar at a level that even developed countries did not expect but the amount is still less than what some developing states were demanding. He criticized the draft for not including measurable targets for areas at risk of extinction by 2030, and not including any commitment to reduce the use of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals.
Brian O’Donnell, the Director of Campaign for Nature said the text would be the world’s largest commitment to biodiversity protection if adopted as written. He praised the text’s inclusion of indigenous tribes which he said could herald the start of a new era of conservation in which indigenous peoples’ rights and leadership are included. However, he said he is worried about the language on sustainable use in protected areas and seeks more clarification on the commitment to oceans.
What are we negotiating?
There are two issues that are intimately linked. according to scientists, there’s no chance of keeping climate change within the temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius without the 30% conservation level. They also believe that level is the minimum needed to sustain natural systems essential to human life from clean water to crop pollination.
Therefore Canada has four main targets at COP15. It wants to deal to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 to protect at least 30% of land and oceans within the same time frame to find developing nations that adequately allow them to reach the same goals, and to include the participation of indigenous people.
Representatives of environmental and civil society groups acknowledged and praised the financial and conservation objectives of the proposal. However, they said it failed their expectations on other issues. Guilbeault said that if the text doesn’t come out as clean as they would want, the ministers will have to work even harder as they are determined to make that happen.