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What’s in the historic agreement adopted by countries around the world

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Countries around the world adopted this Monday, December 19, a historic agreement in Montreal to try to stop the destruction of biodiversity and its resources, essential to humanity.

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After four years of difficult negotiations, ten days and a night of diplomatic marathon, more than 190 States have reached an agreement under the aegis of China, president of COP15, despite opposition from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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“The agreement has been adopted”said Huang Runqiu, the Chinese president of COP15, during a plenary session organized in the middle of the night, before dropping his hammer to the applause of the tired-looking delegates. “Together we have taken a historic step”welcomed Steven Guilbeault, Minister of the Environment of Canada, host country of the summit.

This “pact of peace with nature” called “Kunming-Montreal Agreement” aims to protect land, oceans and species from pollution, degradation and the climate crisis.

• Creation of protected areas

The creation of protected areas on 30% of the planet, the best known of the twenty measures, has been presented as the equivalent for biodiversity of the Paris objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. To date, 17% of the land and 8% of the seas are protected.

“Marine protected areas” in France, “empty shells” with almost non-existent benefits for biodiversity

For Masha Kalinina of the NGO Pew Charitable Trusts: “Protecting at least 30% of land and seas by 2030 is the new North Star we will use to navigate towards nature’s recovery”.

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“Moose, sea turtles, parrots, rhinos, rare ferns are among the million species whose future prospects will be vastly improved” by this agreement has supplemented Brian O’Donnell, of the NGO Campaign for nature.

• Guarantees for indigenous peoples

The text also provides guarantees for indigenous peoples, guardians of 80% of the remaining biodiversity on Earth. “To ensure that by 2030, […] other effective area-based conservation measures, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories, […] are fully consistent with conservation outcomes, recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to their traditional territories” can we read in objective 3 of the text.

• Halve the risk from pesticides

The signatory States undertake to reduce by 2030 “the risks of pollution and the negative impact of pollution”. The text mentions pesticides, and sets the objective of reducing their risk by 50% by 2030, just like excess fertilizer.

• $30 billion in aid

In an attempt to resolve the ever-burning financial question between the countries of the north and those of the south of the planet, China is also proposing to reach “at least 20 billion dollars” annual international aid for biodiversity by 2025 and “at least 30 billion by 2030”.

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In exchange for their efforts, the least developed countries demanded from the rich countries 100 billion dollars a year. That is at least 10 times the current international aid for biodiversity.

Climate: it’s not too late to act

In addition to subsidies, the countries of the South also strongly pushed for the creation of a global fund dedicated to biodiversity – a matter of principle – like the one obtained in November to help them deal with climate damage.

On this point, China proposes as a compromise to establish from 2023 a branch dedicated to biodiversity within the current Global Environment Facility (GEF), the current functioning of which is considered very deficient by the least developed countries. .

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