Biological diversity conference opens in southwest China

Ke Jiayun
The first part of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity is set to be held in Kunming between October 11 and 15.
Ke Jiayun

The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) kicked off today in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Themed "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," COP15 is the first time for the United Nations to convene a global meeting themed on ecological civilization.

It is set to be held in two parts. The first part, scheduled from today to Friday, is held both online and offline.

The meeting will review the outcome and implementation of the convention's strategic plan from the previous decade regarding biodiversity. It is also expected to make a final decision on its post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

At a 2010 summit in Aichi, Japan, attending countries set goals ranging from cutting pollution to decreasing species extinction rates and preserving forests. Of the 20 goals set, many have not been fulfilled.

The committee hopes that through dedicated efforts, their vision of biodiversity and making peace with nature looking forward to 2050 can be realized.

According to Liu Youbin, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment, biodiversity is closely intertwined with our well-being and is an important foundation for human survival and development.

"The Chinese government assigns great importance to biodiversity conservation and has been actively preparing for the COP15. At the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, the Leaders' Summit on Climate, the G20 Riyadh Summit, and during other bilateral and multilateral diplomatic occasions with leaders of the European Union, France, Germany and other countries, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly proposed biodiversity conservation initiatives and invited leaders of various countries and leaders of international organizations to come to Kunming for the conference."

Liu noted that as the host of the conference, China has vigorously promoted biodiversity conservation and restoration. It has amended policies and regulations so as to improve the ecological environment.

"We delineated the red line of ecological protection, implementing a 10-year fishing ban along the Yangtze River. We continuously strengthened supervision and enforcement and actively fulfilled our obligations under international conventions. Awareness and participation regarding biodiversity conservation have been increasing and biodiversity loss has been controlled. The stability of the ecosystem is obviously improving."

David Cooper, deputy executive secretary at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said unprecedented peaks have happened in biodiversity loss. This is leading to a decline in the benefit that nature provides to people. It threatens society's prosperity and people's way of living.

"We can look at the biodiversity crisis as part of a bigger set of problems along with the climate crisis and the current health crisis. All of these are interlinked and they all need urgent action," Cooper said.

"We will need to increase our investment in the conservation and restoration of our ecosystems. But that will not be enough," he added. "It's essential for sure that we do expand and improve management, protect areas and score the rating systems. But beyond that, we also have to change the way we produce and consume. And above all, the way we produce and consume food has a major impact on biodiversity."

In sum, he believes we must address all of the drivers of biodiversity loss, including land use, over-exploitation of species, pollution and climate change. Meanwhile, laws, regulations and incentives are required as well.

The People's Bank of China will release a set of gold and silver coins commemorating the 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference, including a 3g gold coin and a 15g silver coin. Additionally, China Post will issue a commemorative stamp for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity with a face value of 1.2 yuan (19 US cents). It plans to issue 7 million sets.

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