Negotiators at a United Nations biodiversity conference reached a historic deal that would represent the most significant effort to protect the world’s nature.
The global framework strives to protect the world’s lands and oceans and provide critical financing to save biodiversity in the developing world.
It comes one day before the official United Nations Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, is set to end in Montreal.
China currently holds the presidency at this conference. China released a new draft of the compromise text on Sunday, which gave the sometimes contentious, fraught talks seeking an agreement some much-needed momentum.
Policymakers hope an ambitious deal can spur nature conservation in the same way that an international pact in Paris in 2015 helped mobilize efforts to limit planet-warming carbon emissions.
The most significant part of the agreement is a commitment to protect 30 percent of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030.
Currently, 17 percent of terrestrial and 10 percent of marine areas are protected.
The draft 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 calls for increasing to at least $20 billion annually by 2025 money that goes to poor countries. This is approximately double what is currently provided. That number would increase to $30 billion each year by 2030.
However, there is also concern that some areas of the text had been watered down.
While optimistic, environmental campaigners worry the technical wording of the 30-by-30 target might not adequately address ocean conservation.
Some advocates wanted tougher language around subsidies that make food and fuel so cheap in many parts of the world. The document only calls for identifying subsidies by 2025 that can be reformed or phased out and working to reduce them by 2030.
The ministers and government officials from about 190 countries have mostly agreed that protecting biodiversity has to be a priority, with many comparing those efforts to climate talks that wrapped up last month in Egypt.
“Another potential round of work needs to be done so we can align the resources and the ambition,” said Colombia Environment Minister Susana Muhamad. “But I’m very optimistic that, as the main goals have been landed and there is no, in general, opposition to these goals, we have made a very important step forward.”
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