Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu has presented the proposed text of a new global agreement that would commit to protecting at least 30 per cent of land, water and marine areas by 2030.
The draft of the Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework was published this morning as delegates gather at the second to last official day at the COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal.
The draft of the framework states the 30 per cent of conserved land and water should include areas that are the most important for biodiversity, and should include recognition of Indigenous territories when applicable.
The proposed agreement also includes a commitment to mobilize at least US $200 Billion per year from both public and private sources to finance nature, and to reduce subsidies that are harmful to nature by at least $500 Billion by 2030.
The final draft comes after nearly two weeks of negotiations among 196 countries who are part of the UN biodiversity convention. They are seeking a new deal to halt the human destruction of nature and to begin restoring what has already been lost.
The United Nations says three-quarters of the world’s land has been altered by human activities and one million species face extinction this century as a result.
Heading in to the final hours of talks, something of a staring contest had broken out between developed and developing nations over the best way to flow new financing for conservation efforts.
The new draft agreement proposes to have developed countries commit to providing developing countries at least US$20 billion per year by 2025, and $30 billion per year by 2030.
Other targets in the agreement include reducing the impacts of pollution and invasive species, and ensuring businesses monitor and disclose the impact of their activities on biodiversity.
A closed-door plenary with environment ministers or their designated negotiators will take place early Sunday afternoon, where Huang will seek approval for what he hopes will become the final text.
The final adoption of the agreement could come as soon as Sunday night.
Both Huang and Canada’s Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault expressed confidence that a deal was within their grasp during a joint news conference on Saturday afternoon.
China is officially the president of COP15 and as such oversees the negotiations. But the meeting itself was moved to Canada because of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in China.
The new agreement would be titled the Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework, after the host cities.
Montreal was the site chosen largely because the UN Biodiversity Convention secretariat is based there.
The move gave Canada more influence over the talks and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country was clear when it agreed to host the event that China would have to help Canada push for a highly ambitious target.
Guilbeault has been working multiple rooms trying to help bring the deal to fruition. He held bilateral meetings on Saturday with multiple ministers from both developed and developing nations.
Many have seen the Montreal nature talks as the chance to do for conservation what the Paris climate talks in 2015 did to spur action on climate change. Guilbeault said it is that kind of “bold agreement” that is needed.
“We did this in Paris, we can do it here in Montreal,” he said. “The entire world is watching. We have the power to change the course of history. Let’s give nature the Paris moment it deserves.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2022.
– With files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa and Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.