The UN Biodiversity Conference or COP 15 is currently taking place in Montreal. Its goals are ambitious: to create a shared vision to live in harmony with nature by 2050, to create fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of nature, as well as the safe transport, handling, and labelling of Living Modified Organisms. Many on the ground are not holding much hope for a successful conference.
The UN has announced 10 flagship nature restoration initiatives to receive funding, although the funding is yet to be discussed. Among the restoration projects, there is the ecosystem of the Atlantic Forest of South America and the Ganges River in India. It is estimated that 40 percent of the world’s land is degraded, so restoration projects are key to making amends for humanity’s past mistakes. But things are stalling.
Another important biodiversity goal is the 30x30, getting governments worldwide to design 30 percent of Earth’s land and ocean as protected. This is one of the goals of the “High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People", an informal UN group of countries led by France’s President Emmanuel Macron. And it is Macron that has been criticized for his lack of attendance at this conference (he was in Qatar watching the football) and for placing a redline for the European Union about the creation of a fund to support biodiversity. The letter, reported by nonprofit Avaaz, is a massive roadblock to supporting middle and low-income countries with conservation goals.
Many have collected the empty promises of politicians time and time again, but there have also been calls for bolder action than the 30x30. Among them, is the plan to have 50 percent of the world protected with express recognition of Indigenous people and local communities in the success of that goal.