Biodiversity has become a buzzword in recent days. According to the United Nations, the conservation of biodiversity is a common concern of humankind. In fact, biodiversity or biological diversity includes every life on earth. For millions of years, organisms have been surviving and coping with their specific environment. In our world, billions of humans, birds, insects, marine and aquatic creatures, and wildlife co-exist. This fantastic world grows through natural means.
Biodiversity is indispensable for our environment and it is linked to the secure future of other life forms as well. However, with each passing day, the future of millions of species becomes more dangerous due to climate change.
Healthy ecosystems play a crucial role in combating climate change. But the world’s ecosystems are no longer healthy. According to a recent report by the World Wide Fund and the Zoological Society of London, about 69 percent of the wildlife has been wiped out from forests around the world in less than 50 years. The main reason for this is human activities.
Realizing this danger, the world community has been monitoring catastrophic human activities for the past several decades. As it is very important for countries and regions to have a common understanding of national and global measures to protect the environment, the United Nations takes a leading role in such efforts. In this regard, 196 countries of the world held a major event between the 7th and 19th of December 2022 in Montreal. They have now agreed on a historic agreement to reverse the losses to global biodiversity in the near future. Under the COP15 Montreal agreement, one-third area or thirty percent of the planet will be protected for biodiversity by 2030.
Environmental experts have said that the successful signing of the agreement under China’s presidency indicates its important role and commitment to consolidating and advancing global efforts to protect biodiversity. Under this agreement, it has been committed that at least thirty percent of the world’s land, inland waters, coastal areas, and oceans will be made safe for rich biodiversity in the next eight years. Special attention will be given to the areas considered important for biological diversity, such as swamps and areas dependent on rainwater. It should be remembered that currently only 17% of the world’s land area and 10% of the marine area are protected for the purposes of biological diversity.
The agreement reached in Montreal is an important development forbiodiversity. It also reflects the commitment of political leaders around the world to protect the environment. Reaching a consensus on global environmental issues is never an easy job because of conflicting interests of different countries. So, whenever such an effort succeeds on a major global platform, it is a major breakthrough. In the same way, the Montreal agreement is being seen as a significant step towards the conservation of global biodiversity for the next decades. And the main reason for this is the important role of China.
The biggest challenges for this conference were also regarding the traditional less active role of China. However, under this agreement that has been signed under the presidency of China, at least 200 billion dollars per year will be spent on biological conservation by 2030 domestically and internationally. These funds will be mobilised in the public and private sectors.
Remember that this is only a promise and environmental activists and conservation organisations around the world may not immediately trust such promises. Especially in a context that developed countries have not yet fulfilled their promise to provide 100 billion dollars annually to developing countries to combat environmental damage.
The Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework as it is known is considered a major and important agreement. However, it remains to be seen how far this agreement is implemented in the future.
The writer is a London-based researcher, author, and educator. He can be reached on Twitter @MIMazhar