Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 120 countries are ready to adopt the “30 for 30” framework at COP15.

MONTREAL – As negotiations officially began in Montreal on Wednesday as part of the United Nations Conference on Nature (COP15), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that nearly two-thirds of the countries at the table will have 30% of the world’s land and water by the end of the decade.

But he added that negotiations with some of the world’s five largest countries, including Russia and China, pose a diplomatic and political challenge.

“International relations are complex,” Trudeau said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the COP15 talks.

“But as I said yesterday, if we can’t come together and say, ‘yeah, we should probably protect nature’…then why can we come together?” “.

COP15 is a negotiating meeting of the 196 parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the first version of which was drafted in 1992. This convention is about nature, including habitats and all wildlife, where the climate change convention is about global warming. .

Discussions in Montreal – postponed for two years due to COVID-19 – aim to develop a new biodiversity plan that will halt and restore damaged natural habitats and wildlife, or declines primarily due to human activities.

In 2019, the UN estimated that a quarter of the world’s animal and plant species are at risk of extinction by 2100. It also said that three-quarters of terrestrial ecosystems and two-thirds of marine environments have been “significantly” modified, including by human activities. agricultural and industrial expansion, consumption patterns and population growth.

When it comes to conservation, measurements matter. The five largest countries by land mass—Russia, Canada, China, the United States, and Brazil—host more than half of the world’s forest land. Russia alone has a fifth.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault noted that 30% of Canada’s land mass is equivalent to all the countries of the European Union.

Loss of forests, wetlands and grasslands, damage to coastlines and pollution of marine areas adversely affect the harmony of biodiversity on which people depend for everything from air and clean water to food security and a safe climate.

So far, Canada is the only one of the five countries that clearly adheres to the 30 by 30 target. The United States is not even a signatory to the biodiversity convention, and therefore is not officially at the negotiating table.

In Brazil, a new government was elected to be led by the newly elected president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva. Lula, as it is known, has publicly pledged to restore Amazon forest protection lost under his predecessor, but his government will not be sworn in until January. It still has to deal with a country divided on the balance between economic development and environmental protection.

China officially hosts the event, although in June it was decided to move the meeting from China to Montreal due to the latter’s pandemic restrictions.

As president of COP15, China helps set the agenda and oversees the negotiations. But Trudeau said Canada had agreed to host the meeting on very short notice, with China remaining the official host, but that the meeting was being held on Canada’s terms, including allowing protests and dissent.

But beyond the objections, Trudeau said Canada wants to push the talks to go further than China.

“We just didn’t want to miss out and have a level of ambition or a global footprint like China. “We really wanted to make sure it matched Canada’s level of ambition for nature and biodiversity,” he said.

When other countries asked Canada to take over hosting duties, Mr. Guilbeault replied that they would if they supported the “30 for 30” goal and helped motivate others to support it.

While China has said it aims to protect 30% of its territory by 2030, it is not so clear that it intends to force the rest of the world to adopt this target. For example, the decision not to invite world leaders to the meeting is seen as a sign that China may try to downplay the issue.

Another wild card is Russia. Trudeau said Canada had constructive talks with Russia about protecting the Arctic, but that was before Russia invaded Ukraine.

“Honestly speaking, considering what they have done in violation of the UN Charter and the general negativity they have shown, it is necessary to see whether these negotiations will hold water at this time,” he said.

Russia tried to block some ongoing negotiations to include gender equality in the framework, but failed. Gender equality language is the only language included in the final negotiations today without brackets. Square brackets indicate that not all parties have yet agreed on the wording.

They show that they are nothing more than a disruptive force,” Trudeau said.

“But this is a UN conference. Anyone can introduce themselves and anyone can share their thoughts. We just have to make sure they can’t push the chaos that is their current modus operandi. »

This report from La EssonneInfo was first published on December 7, 2022.

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