Without fulfilling their ten-year-old commitments, countries are meeting again at the Montreal Biodiversity Summit to agree on how to halt and reverse the – accelerating – disappearance of the nature on which human life depends.
The meeting – from December 7 to 19, called COP15 – is expected to set concrete targets for reducing biodiversity loss after an action plan drawn up more than a decade ago expires at a summit in Japan in 2010. “Urgent action this decade,” respectively. The first project prepared for Montreal. Actions should start immediately and be completed by 2030.
“This moment is important because we are at the tipping point and we have not reversed the destruction of biodiversity,” says WWF (World Wildlife Fund) conservation coordinator Luis Suarez. And then he adds that they want to set a strong symbolic goal, as they did with the Paris Agreement on climate change: that the situation in 2030 is better than in 2020, and that allows the reversal to be almost complete by 2050.
The bad thing is that the precedent of targets agreed 12 years ago is due to expire in 2020 (known as the Aichi goals) was not satisfied. Goals that were also specific, such as “preventing the extinction of the most threatened species,” “reducing human pressure on coral reefs,” or “reducing pollution to levels that do not impair ecosystem function”… There are 20 and none are fully achieved, According to the final assessment of the United Nations Environment Program.
It is not about protecting a few species in remote places, but about an agreement so that human activity does not mean the destruction of the planet.
Jesús Martín Hurtado Environmentalists in action
“Aichi was not implemented, even though it was well prepared, because there was no political will and no social pressure,” says Jesús Martín Hurtado of Ecologistas en Acción. “Now we are in a worse position and it makes us hurry up and be more ambitious. It is not about protecting a few species in remote places, but about an agreement so that human activity does not mean the destruction of the planet. This is what we have at stake in Montreal. ”
All in all, a demanding environment was created, similar to the one that preceded the climate conference in the French capital in 2015. who”, explains Juan Carlos Atienza, responsible for environmental management at SEO-Birdlife.
Atienza argues that “after all, the science says the same thing about the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis: this decade is the key to stopping them.” Luis Suarez is full of analogies: “We will find ourselves in a situation where we either go to Copenhagen. [la cumbre de 2009] or in Paris.
We want a strong symbolic target: that the situation in 2030 will be better than in 2020, and this will allow the reversal to be almost complete by 2050.
Luis Suarez, WWF Conservation Coordinator
Because it is clear that the biodiversity crisis is raging. Science put the numbers in a 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Biological Diversity (IPBES) report: up to a million species are at risk of extinction. 75% of the land surface and 66% of the ocean surface have already been modified by human activities.
“The global rate of species extinction is already at least tens to hundreds of times the average of the last ten million years, and it is accelerating,” is the IPBES summary.
Less than two months ago, WWF’s Living Planet report revealed that the abundance of mammal populations on Earth has declined by 69% in 50 years. and that all bioregions of the world have seen their natural diversity decline.
Why is there a feeling that this time the situation will change?
“Because we are at a turning point that has been delayed for too long,” concludes Jesus Martín Hurtado. “And the goal is very clear: stop biodiversity loss in 2030 so we can live in harmony with nature in 2050.”
Halting the loss of biodiversity does not provide the magic figure of the Paris Agreement against climate change (limiting global warming to “2ºC and if possible 1.5ºC”). But this first draft was prepared for the appointment of Canada Contains clear specifications for 2030. Between them.
- Ensure that at least 20% of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems are under restoration.
- Achieve that 30% of the surface (between sea and land) is preserved.
- Preventing and reducing the introduction of invasive species by at least 50%.
- Reduce pollution from any source to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and human health.
- Cut nutrients, or fertilizers, lost to the environment by at least half and pesticides by at least two-thirds. and remove plastic waste.
A period of changes, revisions and negotiations has already begun in this text.
harm to humans
Human life depends on biological diversity. of animal and plant species and the ecosystems they make up.
We need to move towards a carbon neutral economy – for the climate – and nature positive
Juan Carlos Atienza, SEO-Birdlife Environmental Governance Officer
However, almost all of nature’s contributions to humans have deteriorated as ecosystems have been destroyed and biodiversity has disappeared. IPBES assessed trends in more than 15 ecosystem services over the past 50 years with visible results.
Insect pollination, air quality regulation, habitat creation, pest control such as the COVID virus, soil formation, or food and material production have been dramatically reduced.
But there is no protection of medicinal and biochemical resources (70% of cancer medicines are or inspired by nature), regulation of extreme phenomena such as floods or the availability and distribution of fresh water.
“Half of the global GDP depends on natureHe recalls the position document of the European Commission at the Montreal summit. For this reason, Juan Carlos Atienza emphasizes that “we must move towards a carbon-neutral economy – because of the climate – and positive towards nature. “Economic activity cannot destroy the planet.”
“It is intolerable for us that financial flows can go to activities that are harmful to nature,” adds Martin Hurtado. “We have to decide how rich countries can help impoverished countries, but very rich in biodiversity,” says Luis Suarez.
All these elements must go through the UN decision-making system, which requires consensus to agree on anything. In this sense, the former director of the IPBES Report on Biodiversity, Sandra Diaz, warned that COP15 runs the risk of “dilution”.
This Argentinian biologist, St Article in a magazine ability, warned that the Montreal project was full of doubts. “We need a text with teeth. A strong, precise and ambitious agreement does not guarantee success, but a weak, ambiguous and toothless one virtually guarantees failure.
Source: El Diario