Optimism high as first phase of COP 15 concludes

2021-10-18 09:36:48China Daily Editor : Xue Lingqiao ECNS App Download

The first phase of the COP 15 United Nations Biodiversity Conference that concluded on Friday renewed optimism and strong momentum for the adoption of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework, officials said.

During the five-day first phase of COP 15, officially known as the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity-held in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province-over 2,900 delegates participated in person, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Nearly 2,500 more attended via video link during a forum on ecological civilization-a concept promoted by President Xi Jinping for balanced and sustainable development that features the harmonious coexistence of man and nature-and other activities held during the event.

"With the conclusion of the first part of COP 15, we have taken a critical step toward writing a new chapter for our planet and for our societies," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the convention's executive secretary.

"The adoption of the Kunming Declaration and the strong political direction provided by many ministers has put us firmly on the path to the adoption of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework that will engage the entire world in the task of putting nature on a path to recovery by 2030."

Concerned that ongoing biodiversity loss jeopardizes UN sustainable development goals and other international targets, parties made a commitment to "ensure the development, adoption and implementation of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework", according to the declaration.

As the largest UN biodiversity gathering in a decade, COP 15 is tasked with elaborating on the framework and identifying new protection goals through 2030.

The declaration also took note of the calls made by many countries to protect and conserve 30 percent of the world's land and sea areas through well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2030.

Another standout moment was Xi's announcement to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund with an investment of 1.5 billion yuan ($233.4 million), which will be used to support developing nations in biodiversity conservation.

Also during the event, 36 Chinese banking and financial institutions and 24 foreign banks and international organizations issued a joint declaration on support for biodiversity conservation, vowing to further ramp up efforts to cope with biodiversity loss.

Referring to the event as "a huge success", Mrema said she left the meeting "with a renewed sense of optimism".

"I very much look forward to our work together over the next year," she said.

Noting unprecedented challenges the world is facing in global environmental governance, Huang Runqiu, minister of ecology and environment and COP 15 president, called on the international community to jointly strengthen cooperation on constructing an ecological civilization and conserving biodiversity for the world's sustainable development.

"As the president of COP 15, I sincerely hope that the parties will maintain this valuable spirit of cooperation during part two of the event, strongly support my efforts and advance the process of the convention," he said.

The second phase of the UN conference will be held in the first half of next year, also in Kunming.

Huang said he will earnestly perform his duties as COP 15 president, work with all parties, transform consensus into practical action and actively promote the attainment of important achievements, such as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

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