Countries pledge to use policies to protect habitats
More than 100 countries pledged on Wednesday to put the protection of habitats at the heart of their government decision-making, as the Kunming Declaration was adopted at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15).
Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu declared the adoption of the declaration at the High-Level Segment of the first part of COP15 in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province.
"The declaration will send a powerful signal, showing the world our determination to solve the problem of biodiversity loss, and our stronger actions on the issues discussed at this high-level meeting," Huang said.
The Kunming Declaration is a political declaration and the main achievement of this conference. The declaration commits to ensuring the development, adoption and implementation of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework to reverse the current loss of biodiversity and ensure that biodiversity is put on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest, toward the full realization of the 2050 Vision of "Living in Harmony with Nature."
World leaders also committed to increase the "provision of financial, technological and capacity building support to developing countries to implement the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and in line with the provisions of the convention."
The declaration took note of the theme of the UN Biodiversity Conference 2020: "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth." Ecological civilization is a philosophy proposed by China.
The document recognizes that main direct drivers of biodiversity loss remain "land/sea use change, overexploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species."
It stresses the urgent need of integrated action to find the future path of nature and people, "where biodiversity is conserved and used sustainably, and the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources are shared fairly and equitably, as an integral part of sustainable development."
It declared that putting biodiversity on a path of recovery is a defining challenge of this decade, requiring strong political momentum to develop, the adoption and implementation of an ambitious and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework and putting forward the 17 commitments.
"The Kunming Declaration details some of the key elements needed for success: mainstreaming, redirection of subsidies, rule of law, full and effective participation of indigenous people and local communities," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
With plant and animal species loss now at the fastest rate in 10 million years, politicians, scientists and experts have been trying to lay the groundwork for a new pact on saving biodiversity. In a previous agreement signed in Aichi, Japan, in 2010, governments agreed on 20 targets to try to slow biodiversity loss and protect habitats by 2020, but none of those targets was met.