The UN Conference on Biodiversity (COP-15) will be held in Montreal from December 7 to 19, 2022. Its participants plan to adopt a historic agreement defining urgent measures to prevent the rapid loss of many species of flora and fauna. Scientists warn that today our planet is experiencing the largest loss of all kinds of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, this trend can be reversed.
What is the importance of the upcoming conference?
Measures to prevent the rapid loss of biodiversity have never been as urgent as at the present time. Healthy and biodiversity-rich ecosystems support life on Earth. Humanity depends on the availability of clean air, food and a livable climate, and all this is regulated by nature.
The services provided by nature are extremely valuable, but its condition is constantly deteriorating, and this happens mainly as a result of human activity. Today's generation uses natural resources unrestrainedly, which increasingly leads to the loss of biodiversity.
Photo of Bhutan Tiger Center
This is the conclusion reached by the authors of a recent UNEP report, noting that humanity uses about 1.6 times more services than nature can provide on a sustainable basis. Nature simply does not have time to restore its lost resources due to human activity. About a million of the approximately eight million species of flora and fauna are on the verge of complete extinction. Many animals and plants and entire ecosystems may be completely lost in the coming decades.
The UNEP came to the conclusion that today our planet is experiencing the largest loss of various kinds of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Photo by UNEP
Environmentalists urge to mobilize all necessary efforts to preserve biodiversity: from coral reefs to rare species of tigers and birds. Experts remind that a healthy planet is the key to sustainable development and economic prosperity. More than half of the world's GDP, equal to $41.7 trillion, depends on healthy ecosystems.
Billions of people in developed and developing countries rely on the gifts of nature in their daily lives, on the benefits that it gives. These are food products, energy sources, and medicines. In addition, nature, as a sphere of recreation, provides many other important factors in human life.
What to expect from the Conference in Montreal?
The UN Conference on Biodiversity is dedicated to reviewing the operation of the Convention of the same name. It has been ratified by 196 States. They meet every two years to discuss the implementation of this legally binding document.
This year's review meeting could be historic, as Montreal is to adopt a Global Strategy with an ambitious plan providing for the implementation of large-scale actions to prevent the loss of natural resources. We are talking about a strategy to involve the whole world in environmental protection and in creating a future in harmony with nature.
The official draft of the strategy proposes to achieve by 2050 the goals that ensure the life of mankind "in harmony with nature", in accordance with the promises of the states declared by them back in 2010. The strategy outlines more than 20 new goals that need to be achieved by 2030. Among other things, we are talking about the need to preserve at least 30 percent of the land and sea area on the planet by creating more protected areas. It is proposed to reduce the rate of spread of invasive alien species by 50 percent. It is also said that it is necessary to reduce the ingress of nutrients into the environment by at least half, and pesticides by at least two–thirds, and eliminate the dumping of plastic waste.
What is the cost of ecosystem restoration?
Speaking about living in harmony with nature, environmentalists remind that we are talking about ensuring a sustainable model of consumption and production, but not only. Urgent measures are needed today to restore and protect nature. The global cost of restoring terrestrial ecosystems, excluding the cost of restoring marine ecosystems, may amount to at least $200 billion per year by 2030. According to UNEP estimates, every dollar invested in nature conservation brings economic benefits of up to $30.
Photo Coral Reef Image Bank
UNEP is confident that ecosystem restoration will help to avoid 60 percent of the projected loss of biodiversity. In addition, it will contribute to carbon uptake and help to adapt to the consequences of the climate crisis.
What is already being done to protect nature?
In 2020, the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration was proclaimed. This campaign is aimed at preventing and reversing the process of ecosystem degradation on every continent and in every ocean. Countries have already committed to restore one billion hectares of degraded land. Experts suggest making similar commitments aimed at protecting marine and coastal territories.
The UN notes that nature is now in such a state that the participants of the Conference in Montreal must certainly find common approaches to fulfilling obligations designed to stop and reverse its catastrophic loss.
Main photo: Unsplash/A.Bourdain - The UN calls to protect the biodiversity of the planet.
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