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UN urges nations to spend more on species conservation as new treaty talks begin

On the eve of a new round of global biodiversity talks, a senior UN official said on Sunday that the global community should invest more in the scale and pace of its pledges to protect nature and prevent species loss.

The first part of the twice-postponed “COP15” biodiversity talks begins Monday in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, aimed at reversing decades of habitat destruction caused by human encroachment and climate change, as part of an ambitious post-2020 agreement. to generate momentum. .

David Cooper, deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity, said at a briefing that ministers participating in virtual meetings this week needed to show more ambition and give “clear political direction” to negotiators, which took place in Kunming in May. Will make the final deal. Next year.

Environmental groups say there’s no time to lose when it comes to protecting habitats and slowing extinction rates, especially when governments meet any of the 2020 biodiversity targets agreed in Aichi, Japan, a decade ago. also failed to complete. However, Cooper said the level of urgency was still not high enough.

“Currently, most countries are spending more money on activities that destroy biodiversity than we are spending on preserving it – this has to change,” he said.

The United Nations wants countries to commit to protecting 30% of their land by 2030, a pledge already agreed upon by the United States and others. China has yet to make a commitment, despite implementing an “ecological conservation red line” system, which already puts 25% of its territory out of reach of developers.

Cooper told reporters that it was important that all countries protect their ecosystems more, but that by itself would not be enough to correct the loss of biodiversity, adding that more is needed to manage the other 70%. Commitments were required.

He said the global pandemic had injected new urgency into biodiversity conservation, but warned that it was yet “business-as-usual” post-COVID-19 Incentive measures.

“We have to make sure … (the incentive) is strengthening biodiversity and not exacerbating the problem,” he said. “Globally, if you look around, stimulus packages are making it worse instead of better.”

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