UN reaches deal with 188 governments for global protection of land and water biodiversity News
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UN reaches deal with 188 governments for global protection of land and water biodiversity

The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) Monday reached a deal on global commitments to protect land and water biodiversity. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework aims to protect 30 percent of the world’s lands, coastal areas and inland waters by 2030 – an increase from the 17 percent of lands and 10 percent of marine area currently under protection. The deal came towards the end of the COP15 two-week meeting. In total, 188 governments finalized and approved the deal, representing 95 percent of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and two non-parties.

Head of the UN Development Program Achim Steiner described the deal as “historic.” Executive Director at the UN Environment Program Inger Andersen echoed Steiner, stating:

Now is our chance to shore up and strengthen the web of life, so it can carry the full weight of generations to come. Actions that we take for nature are actions to reduce poverty; they are actions to achieve the sustainable development goals; they are actions to improve human health.

The deal contains four overarching goals. Among them are halting human-induced extinction, maintaining the integrity of all ecosystems, sustainably using and enhancing biodiversity, fair and equitable sharing of monetary resources and cooperation of all parties involved. In general, stakeholders agreed that proper implementation of these goals will require a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.”

Under these four broad goals, the deal outlines 23 targets for parties to work towards. Included are 30 percent targets for environmental protections, implementation of sustainable management policies and financial implementation plans, among others. The targets also recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in preserving and working towards the prescribed targets.

Parties under the deal are to report every five years a certain set of indicators to the UN CBD to assess progress towards the above goals and targets. Some of these indicators include the percent of land and water conserved as well as the number of companies disclosing their impacts on biodiversity. The UN CBD is set to assess information from these reports by late February 2026 and again in June 2029. At that point, the UN CBD expects to develop global trend and progress reports.

The UN CBD deal compliments the recently published draft agreement on climate change from the COP27 climate summit in November. The COP27 agreement contained preliminary measures to keep the average global temperature from increasing beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. That draft, unlike Monday’s agreement, has yet to be finalized. The COP27 did, however, reach an agreement on establishing a loss and damage fund for communities living on the frontlines of climate disasters.