China the new world biodiversity chair

China will on Monday launch a crucial biodiversity summit to build political momentum to halt and even reverse the destruction of nature by man. The virtual opening of the COP15 summit will transfer leadership from Egypt, which presided over the last gathering in 2018, to China.

As the human population climbs toward 9 billion by mid-century, animals are being crowded out, eaten, snared, poisoned, poached, hawked and hunted out of existence.

Forests have been burned to the ground to grow commercial crops, and ecosystems that sustain life on the planet ravaged.

The virtual opening of the COP15 summit will also transfer leadership from Egypt, which presided over the last gathering in 2018, to China.

During the talks, China will orchestrate high-level online meetings with ministers from scores of countries in a drive to build political momentum. China will also issue a “Kunming Declaration” that will set the tone for its leadership, observers say.

“This declaration, we hope, will further underline and recognize the importance of biodiversity for human health,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a treaty ratified by 195 countries and the European Union.

“It will also recognize the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity in decision-making and will serve also as a tool to create the political momentum,” he added.

“The preparatory work for the meeting is complete,” said Wang Tianxi, deputy director of the Department of Ecology and Environment of Yunnan Province.

Guests will gather at Kunming’s Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center, the main venue, in the southwestern province.

Guests will be shuttled by new-energy vehicles. Carbon neutrality actions will be carried out to offset the greenhouse gases generated by the meeting, said Wang.

Themed “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth,” the COP15 meeting is the first global conference convened by the United Nations on the topic of ecological civilization.

Since gathering in person in Rome last year, delegates have negotiated across cyberspace.

The online meet will be followed by in-person talks in Kunming from April 25 to May 8.

There will be an intermediate session, also face-to-face, in Geneva in January.

The November COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, meanwhile, will seek to tame the increasingly devastating effects of global warming.

Discussions will focus on a negotiated draft text called the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Published in July, its stated goal is “living in harmony with nature” by 2050.

“Harmony” will be defined by mid-century goals with 2030 reality checks in the form of 21 “targets for urgent action” over the next decade.

SOURCE: Shanghai Daily, October 8, 2021