BEIJING: The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity begins Monday in Kunming, southwest China, and expectations are high for a master plan on biodiversity conservation global in the years to come.
Under the theme “Ecological civilization: building a common future for all life on Earth”, COP15 is the first world conference convened by the United Nations on the Chinese concept of ecological civilization.
This historic meeting, which ends on Friday, will formulate an ambitious but achievable roadmap for conserving global biodiversity for the next decade and possibly beyond.
Humanity is at a crossroads when it comes to the legacy it leaves for future generations. As the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook published by the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity warned, “biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate and the pressures driving this decline are intensifying”. Therefore, the United Nations has defined 2021 as a critical year to “reset our relationship with nature”, calling on the international community to jointly address multiple crises, including climate change and biodiversity loss.
The Kunming meeting is an opportunity to reflect on past experiences and lessons and to forge a new strategy for global ecological conservation.
It is worth mentioning that China has made enormous efforts to host this critical conference despite a persistent Covid-19 pandemic. China’s concrete actions have demonstrated its determination to work with the rest of the world to jointly face the biodiversity crisis.
“The kind of ambition that China has shown is sort of being realized not only in China, but in other countries,” said James Roth, senior vice president for global policy and government affairs at Conservation International. , a non-governmental organization. “So it’s a lot of work to host one of these conferences and people expect you to be a leader.”
And China has been a leader. The country has incorporated ecological civilization into its national development policy and constitution and has saved a number of species from extinction, including the golden monkey and green peacock, both of which are experiencing population increases.
China is also helping developing countries conserve biodiversity through multilateral channels such as the Belt and Road Initiative and South-South cooperation, according to China’s first white paper on biodiversity released on Friday. .
China established the International Coalition for Green Development of the Belt and Road Initiative and launched the Belt and Road Big Data Service Platform on Ecological and Environmental Protection. In addition, China pledged last year to strive to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. China has announced additional support to other countries in development to develop green, low-carbon energy and pledged not to build new coal-fired power plants. projects abroad.
In addition, the Chinese concept of “green mountains and rivers are mountains of silver and gold” is gaining ground around the world. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said China’s philosophy of ecological civilization is “essential for all countries to achieve global biodiversity goals.”
Nigel Topping, the UK’s high-profile climate action champion for the UN climate talks, once said the concept of ecological civilization would strengthen multilateral efforts to protect the environment and preserve global biodiversity.
Thanks to Chinese inspiration, expectations are high for a strong presence in Kunming to guide future efforts to improve biodiversity and environmental governance around the world.