UN summit to tackle 'unprecedented' biodiversity threats
Thu, 14 Oct 2021

UN summit to tackle 'unprecedented' biodiversity threats

In News

 The 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP15) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) tasked with reversing the destruction of nature is officially set to kick off in Kunming, China.

Focus of the Summit

  • Planet’s Health: COP 15 will deal with issues that are vital to the health of the planet, such as fighting pollution, protecting ecosystems and preventing mass extinction.
  • Grounded on CBD: It is grounded in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • 21 Targets for 2030: The negotiation provisionally sets 21 targets for 2030 that include:
    • “30 by 30” Plan: According protected status to 30 percent of lands and oceans, a measure supported by a broad coalition of nations, including France and Costa Rica.
    • Fertilizers: Halve the use of fertilizers so that less of the nitrogen-rich substance leaches into fresh and ocean waters
    • Pesticides: Reduce pesticide use by at least two thirds
    • Plastics: Halting the discharge of plastic waste entirely and
    • Have subsidies for environmentally harmful industries reduced by at least $500 billion per year.
  • China’s Role as the host: As the world’s biggest polluter, Beijing has the task of carrying this mission to boost biodiversity protection and rescue a weak environment that has resulted from its historical and current levels of pollution.

Are COP15 and COP26 linked?

  • Negotiations under the two conventions unfold on separate tracks and do not intersect. But parties to both treaties are increasingly looking for overlapping solutions.
  • The two bodies overlook two intertwined crises that need to be addressed together.
    • Healthy ecosystems -- especially forest and oceans -- make better carbon sinks to absorb CO2 pollution.
    • These in turn are vital to keep global warming down to levels that are survivable for humanity and other species.

What is Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)?

  • About: The CBD was drafted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio. Its stated goals are to preserve the diversity of species on Earth and set guidelines on how to exploit natural resources sustainably and justly.
  • Ratification: It is a treaty ratified by 195 countries and the European Union. The US has not ratified the treaty and India became a signatory to the Convention in 1994.
  • Need for CBD: Plants and animals are disappearing at an accelerating rate due to human activity -- habitat encroachment, over-exploitation, pollution, the spread of invasive species and, more recently, climate change. About one million animal and plant species out of 8.1 million are threatened with extinction -- more than ever before in human history.



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