Historic biodiversity pact inspires, but past failures loom

Dec 19, 2022, 10:49 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 9:33 am
FILE - A school of fish swims above corals on Moore Reef in Gunggandji Sea Country off the coast of...

FILE - A school of fish swims above corals on Moore Reef in Gunggandji Sea Country off the coast of Queensland in eastern Australia on Nov. 13, 2022. After a historic biodiversity agreement was reached, countries now face pressure to deliver on the promises. The most significant part of the global biodiversity framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil, File)

(AP Photo/Sam McNeil, File)

              Floating warehouses are seen a lake in Sao Raimundo settlement, at Medio Jurua region, Amazonia State, Brazil, Sept. 5, 2022. After a historic biodiversity agreement was reached, countries now face pressure to deliver on the promises. The most significant part of the global biodiversity framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030.  (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
            
              FILE - A bison lies down on the ground in front of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., on June 22, 2022. After a historic biodiversity agreement was reached, countries now face pressure to deliver on the promises. The most significant part of the global biodiversity framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
            
              FILE - Delegates arrive at the convention centre at the COP15 UN conference on biodiversity during a snowfall in Montreal, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. After a historic biodiversity agreement was reached, countries now face pressure to deliver on the promises. The most significant part of the global biodiversity framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030.  (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
            
              Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China and president of the COP15, responds to a question as Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault looks on during the closing news conference at the COP15 U.N. conference on biodiversity in Montreal, on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. After a historic biodiversity agreement was reached, countries now face pressure to deliver on the promises. The most significant part of the global biodiversity framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              A small fisherman's boat crosses the Rio Marinheiro in front of the Vila Progresso community, in the Bailique archipelago, district of Macapa, state of Amapa, northern Brazil, Sept. 10, 2022. After a historic biodiversity agreement was reached, countries now face pressure to deliver on the promises. The most significant part of the global biodiversity framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              FILE - A school of fish swims above corals on Moore Reef in Gunggandji Sea Country off the coast of Queensland in eastern Australia on Nov. 13, 2022. After a historic biodiversity agreement was reached, countries now face pressure to deliver on the promises. The most significant part of the global biodiversity framework is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030.  (AP Photo/Sam McNeil, File)

MONTREAL (AP) — A day after negotiators reached a landmark biodiversity agreement, the pressure was already growing on countries, business leaders and the environmental community to deliver on its ambitious promises to protect the planet — and not repeat the failures of past deals.

Delegates expressed optimism Tuesday in Montreal that this time will be different, mostly due to greater financing provisions in the global biodiversity framework and stronger language around reporting, measuring and verifying progress by nations. There is also growing public awareness about threats facing rainforests, oceans and other ecologically important areas.

“We’ve seen unprecedented mobilization for biodiversity protection,” Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault said at the closing press conference of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference. “The fact that Canada, the EU and many others would agree to double by 2025 and triple by 2030 our funding is a clear sign.”

The most significant part of the agreement is a commitment to protect 30% of the world’s land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030, known as 30 by 30. Currently, 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas are protected.

The deal also calls for raising $200 billion by 2030 for biodiversity from a range of sources and working to phase out or reform subsidies that could provide another $500 billion for nature. As part of the financing package, the framework asks for increasing to at least $20 billion annually by 2025 the money that goes to poor countries. That number would increase to $30 billion each year by 2030.

The challenge now will be making good on those commitments.

The new framework “is the equivalent of simply agreeing on the ‘to-do list’ — now the hard work must begin to ensure it gets done,” said Terry Townshend, a Beijing-based fellow for the Paulson Institute, which had previously estimated the annual shortfall in biodiversity funding to be around $700 billion.

The last time around, countries failed to fully achieve any of the targets in the previous 10-year agreement and only partially achieved six by 2020. The failures prompted some to question whether it was even worth setting more ambitious targets this time around.

Some complained the past targets were too vague while others cited the delays of several years in setting up a reporting mechanism. There was also much less money in that deal.

But the new targets are more precise and cover a wider array of issues affecting biodiversity, including pollution, invasive species and pesticides. There is also clearer language for protecting the rights of Indigenous communities and respecting their role in biodiversity decisions.

U.N. Environment Program Executive Director Inger Andersen told The Associated Press that part of the problem with targets set in 2010 was that negotiators were “all inside the environmental bubble” when agreeing to a framework.

“At this point, there is a global conversation happening,” Andersen said. “I would say the difference between these 12 years is that there is a broader societal engagement. Some countries will lean in and will get closer to those targets that we’ve now set, some will surpass them. Others may not.”

As part the framework, the nearly 190 parties are requested to update their national biodiversity strategies to with the targets and goals reached in Montreal. Those will be reviewed at COP16 in Turkey in 2024 to assess progress, challenges countries face and the progress on getting financing into the hands of developing countries.

“Global governments have clearly established specific, numerical targets to restore degraded land and habitat and similarly to expand protected areas,” said Eliot Whittington, director of policy at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm said these targets provide governments and civil society with a “measure of whether we succeed or not.”

“The devil is always in the details,” said Pimm. “Promises are made and not always fulfilled, but we do understand that money has to be involved. If we’re going to stop deforestation in Brazil and the Congo and Indonesia, it’s going to need some financing from richer countries.”

But others said the agreement fell short in setting up a strong system of monitoring country progress, meaning that it will be the responsibility of credible, independent third parties to measure progress.

“Countries’ failure to set robust systems in place for monitoring progress on the biodiversity targets is one notable weakness in the outcome,” said Craig Hanson, managing director for programs for the nonprofit World Resources Institute. “Monitoring progress with robust, credible systems is critical to ensuring that countries’ actions are delivering the intended impact and unlocking finance for nature-based solutions.”

Others praised the language in the document covering the private sector. It calls for legal and administrative policies that enable business, especially larger and transnational companies, to “regularly monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity.”

“The target on corporate disclosure of biodiversity risk also sends a powerful signal to the private sector that it must adjust its business models and investment strategies towards a nature-positive economy,” said the Paulson Institute’s Townshend.

But some environmental groups suggested big business had taken the conference hostage and that the language related to corporations was little more than “greenwashing.”

“The text does not stipulate any regulation on corporations and instead promotes greenwashing measures such as ‘Nature-Based Solutions,’ which allow for offsetting for environmental destruction,” Nele Marien, Friends of the Earth International’s forests & biodiversity coordinator, said in a statement.

Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of African Wildlife Foundation, said the new agreement “provides a basis for many of the changes we need in conservation, especially in the way conservation is financed.”

Nearly a third of the world’s biodiversity exists in Africa, although “Africa receives less than 4% of global biodiversity financing,” Sebunya said. “That needs to be changed,” he said, adding that the new framework could help jumpstart the change.

___

Larson reported from Washington, D.C.

___

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
17 hours ago
FILE - Teacher Jessica Flores directs students as they work on laptops in a classroom in Newlon Ele...
Associated Press

10 states mull cross-border rules to tackle teacher shortage

DENVER (AP) — Every Colorado school district, like many across the country, began 2023 understaffed. That’s caused classes to be crammed together, school bus routes to shrink, Spanish language courses to get cut from curriculums, and field trips to be nixed. This has prompted lawmakers in Colorado and other states to suggest legislation that would […]
17 hours ago
Customers and employees gathered so they can retrieve their belongings on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, ...
Associated Press

Nebraska man who shot inside Target got rifle 4 days earlier

The man who was fatally shot by police after entering a Target store in Omaha, Nebraska, armed with an AR-15-style rifle had obtained the weapon just four days earlier at a Cabela’s sporting goods store, police said Wednesday. No one else was hurt. Court records show that the man, identified by police as Joseph Jones, […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Traffic builds up outside terminals at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles,...
Associated Press

Power outage blacks out terminals at Los Angeles airport

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Power was briefly knocked out at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, leaving many passengers at one of the world’s busiest airports in the dark and halting security checks, authorities said. The airport tweeted at around 2:30 p.m. PT that some terminals, along with traffic lights and other systems, may have […]
17 hours ago
The coffin of Cardinal George Pell lays in state at St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, Wednesday, Feb....
Associated Press

Hundreds gather for Cardinal George Pell’s Sydney funeral

SYDNEY (AP) — Mourners as well as protesters carrying rainbow flags gathered at a Sydney cathedral on Thursday for the funeral and interment of polarizing Cardinal George Pell, who was once the most senior Roman Catholic convicted of sex abuse. Pell, who died last month at age 81, spent more than a year in prison […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Hunter Biden walks along the South Lawn before the pardoning ceremony for the national Thank...
Associated Press

Hunter Biden seeks federal probe of Trump allies over laptop

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, have asked the Justice Department to investigate close allies of former President Donald Trump and others who they say accessed and disseminated personal data from a laptop that he dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019. In a separate letter, Biden’s attorneys […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Historic biodiversity pact inspires, but past failures loom