SHARM EL-SHEIKH – At least 96 ministers and over 10,000 registered delegates are confirmed to join the second part of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Canada with China assuming a leadership role in biodiversity protection, UN officials said on Thursday.
China is leading a high level segment of ministers during the event to solve the key issues, said CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema during an online media briefing on the COP15 scheduled for Dec. 7-19 in Montreal.
“Ministers in Montreal for that high level segment will further propel and help us to finalize any remaining brackets which might be there by that time,” she said.
“If there are issues to be resolved, then ministers will step in under the leadership of China to try and address and resolve those key issues,” said David Cooper, deputy executive secretary of the CBD.
“Africa again, if we put by region so far those who have registered, is the majority of all the regions,” Mrema said.
A surprising 60 percent of the registered delegates are from other stakeholders, including business and financial institutions, said Mrema, who was encouraged by the engagement of private sector.
“There is significant representation from all sectors of society, from business and finance to civil society and youth, indigenous peoples and local communities,” Cooper said.
“It’s really a positive sign, particularly seeing the private sector engaged using the same opportunity,” Mrema said. “It has never happened in the history of the Convention, indicating the awareness of the private sector.”
The first part of the COP15 was held last year in Kunming, China. The Kunming Declaration was adopted during the conference and was hailed as a major milestone achievement.
At the second part of the COP15 in Montreal, representatives are called on to finalize and approve measures to arrest the dangerous, ongoing loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and set humanity on a path to a sustainable relationship with nature, with clear indicators to measure progress and adequate resources for implementation.
The measures include nations’ capacity building to implement the framework, the delivery of new financial support and the redirection of harmful subsidies that damage biodiversity.
“What’s at stake are the fundamentals of human existence. Biodiverse, well-balanced ecosystems provide climate moderation, fertile soil and foods, clean water, modern drugs, and the foundation of our economies,” said Mrema. “Nearly half of humanity depends directly on natural resources for livelihoods and, in many cases, their daily subsistence needs.”
Changes in land and sea use, over exploitation, climate change, invasive species and pollution are the foremost causes of nature’s decline, Mrema noted, citing the 2019 Global Assessment of Biodiversity by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services which warned that one million plant and animal species face extinction within decades, a rate of loss 1,000 times worse than natural.
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