UN Agreement Inches Towards Conserving 30% of Earth's Area

On Monday, delegates at the United Nation's COP15 biodiversity summit — which has been characterized as a "last chance" for nature's recovery — struck a landmark agreement and pledged to protect nearly a third of the planet's area by 2030.

UN Agreement Inches Towards Conserving 30% of Earth's Area
Image credit: AP

Facts

  • On Monday, delegates at the United Nation's COP15 biodiversity summit — which has been characterized as a "last chance" for nature's recovery — struck a landmark agreement and pledged to protect nearly a third of the planet's area by 2030.
  • The most prominent part of the agreement, known as "30x30," calls for a coordinated effort to designate 30% of Earth's land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030. About 17% of the planet's land and 8% of its oceans are currently protected from fishing, farming, and industrial activities.
  • The platform agreed upon includes safeguarding the rights of indigenous communities, halving global food waste, and protecting vital ecosystems such as wetlands, grasslands, and coral reefs.
  • In addition, the developed countries agreed to work towards increasing financial aid to the developing countries and contribute at least $20B per year by 2025, rising to $30B per year by 2030.
  • However, the framework still needs to be agreed upon by the 196 signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity before it is finalized.
  • The pact comes as biodiversity declines worldwide at alarming rates. Up to 1M of the estimated 8M plant and animal species face extinction in the coming decades.

Sources: BBC News, New York Times, Guardian, Al Jazeera, SCMP, and NPR Online News.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Global Citizen. The framework has come just in time. This agreement to protect 30% of Earth's lands, rivers, lakes, and wetlands is a step in the right direction. It can prevent mass extinctions, bolster resilience to climate change, safeguard marine ecosystems, and allow humanity to transition towards a nature-positive world.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Nature. It's unlikely that this will be fully implemented, as shown by past UN treaties. The agreement could be undermined by its failure to mobilize the promised resources as the financial commitments — including the pledge to increase overall biodiversity financing to $200B a year from all sources — are not legally binding. Also, the US is not a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Predictions