Nearly every country on Earth agreed to protect 30 percent of the planet

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At the UN Biodiversity Conference, more than 190 countries agreed to protect 30 percent of the Earth’s land and water by the end of the decade. The historic deal was beaten before dawn today after nearly two weeks of negotiations in Montreal.

Each country has adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which commits them to meeting more than 20 environmental targets by 2030. Overall, the framework aims to prevent humans from driving species to extinction, preserve the planet’s genetic diversity, and ensure that the benefits of that biodiversity are used sustainably and fairly.

One of the biggest and most controversial parts of the deal is the provision to “protect” at least 30 percent of land, inland waters, and coastal and marine areas by 2030. In recent years, with no international agreement, some governments and companies have pushed to meet the goal, often referred to as “30×30”. The Biden administration aims to preserve 30 percent of US land and water by 2030, even though the US and the Vatican are the only countries that have not formally signed up to the UN Convention on Biodiversity. The Bezos Earth Fund has pledged $1 billion to 30×30 initiatives.

Conservation through “protected areas” has had a sordid past and is still a hot topic

The new UN biodiversity framework now enshrines that goal in a major international agreement similar to the Paris climate agreement adopted in 2015. and other effective area-based conservation measures.”

The newly approved framework says protected areas should be created “with recognition and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories.”

Still, some human rights defenders are skeptical, calling the 30×30 target a “big green lie” on social media. “It is a massive land grab that will drive millions of #indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands,” the non-governmental organization Survival International wrote. on Facebook over the weekend.

Nevertheless, major conservation groups celebrated the adoption of the new framework. “If more people had understood the pace, severity and long-term consequences of biodiversity loss, the eyes of the world might have been on Montreal instead of Qatar these two weeks,” said Andrew Deutz, director of the nun. for-profit organization The Nature Conservancy. said in a statement referring to the FIFA World Cup coinciding with the UN Biodiversity Conference.

According to a 2019 UN assessment, approximately one million animal and plant species are currently threatened with extinction, more than at any time in human history. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework aims to increase the rate of extinction of all species tenfold by 2050.

The new framework is just a starting point; now comes the even more difficult task of making progress on the ground – all while trying to avoid the damage done in the past in the name of conservation.

“To return to World Cup metaphors, it really felt like a championship game going into overtime on the cutting edge,” said Deutz. “The big difference is … for the global biodiversity community, the next phase of hard work is already beckoning.”

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