COP15: historic resolution aimed at preserving biodiversity

By Cameron Saunders
Countries at the UN biodiversity conference nearly unanimously agreed on measures to preserve nature, help heal ecosystems, and preserve indigenous rights

The United Nations’ biodiversity conference, COP15, has wrapped up in Montreal, Canada, and most of the parties involved are happy to announce that a deal for preserving nature on Earth has been reached. 

The pillar of the landmark deal is to ensure that a third of the planet is protected and preserved for nature by 2030. Other measures will go towards preserving important ecosystems, including wetlands and rainforests, as well as towards the protection of indigenous rights. 

The main points of the agreement follow: maintaining ecosystems with an end to halting the extinction of species and preserving genetic diversity; encouraging the sustainable use of biodiversity so that it can continue to be useful to humanity (such as by providing food and clean water); ensuring that nature’s largesse – especially that which goes into the concoction of medicines – is preserved alongside the rights of indigenous peoples; and the promise that money is actually invested by the concerned parties into the preservation of biodiversity.  

The resolution was promulgated by COP15’s president, Minister Huang Runqui, despite the objections of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Commenting on the resolution, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated: “We are finally starting to forge a peace pact with nature.”

The summit, while technically taking place in Canada, was hosted by China. It had been due to take place there in 2020 but was rescheduled, and finally moved, a number of times due to Covid. 

True success remains to be seen

Despite the ambitious wording and intentions of the final resolution, biodiversity COPs have a history of disappointing. None of the goals set out in the last one, which occurred a decade ago, have been reached. 

One of the biggest controversies surrounding this COP came down to funding: impoverished nations insisted that wealthier nations pay more to protect the world’s biodiversity. Meanwhile, wealthier nations – especially globally northern ones in Europe – insisted that China and Brazil pay more, as those countries are fast developing and increasingly wealthy.  

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