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The 2030 goal for protecting biodiversity could be postponed

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Geneva (dpa) – The dates provided for in the planned framework agreement for the protection of biodiversity could be postponed in view of the coronavirus pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine.

The head of the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, did not rule it out this Monday in Geneva at the start of the decisive round of negotiations. The planned measures should actually be implemented by 2030, such as the protection of 30 percent of all sea and land areas. Currently, only about eight percent of the oceans and 17 percent of land areas are protected.

It is conceivable that the delegations will extend the implementation period in view of the heavy financial burdens involved in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic or the fallout from the Ukraine crisis, Mrema said. But 2030 remains an important intermediate goal because the United Nations development goals must be achieved by 2030 and many need the protection of biodiversity. In addition to species diversity, biodiversity also includes genetic diversity within species and habitat diversity. One of the sticking points in the negotiations is how much money will be made available to help poorer countries protect their species.

In Geneva, more than 1,000 government representatives are negotiating 21 targets under the umbrella of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which the framework agreement will include. It is scheduled to be adopted at a conference in Kunming, China, in late summer. According to Mrema, the Russian delegation did not travel because their flight had been cancelled. Participation is also possible virtually.

“Every Year Counts”

Postponing targets to protect biodiversity would be a devastating signal, said Jan-Niclas Gesenhues (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), a member of the Bundestag and chairman of the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. “Every year counts when it comes to effectively countering the species crisis.” Gesenhues called for ambitious goals and binding financial commitments in the framework agreement. “Because the mass extinction of species and the destruction of ecosystems remain significant risks to our planet.”

“Many of the crises we are going through are a symptom of how we treat nature,” Josef Settele of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Halle/Saale told the German Press Agency. “These include covid-19 and other infectious diseases, as well as species extinction and climate change.”

Species-rich systems would be destroyed all over the world. As a result, viruses spread because there is a lack of host diversity, pests because there is a lack of opponent diversity, and forests die because there is a lack of tree species that are more resistant to change. “This shows how vital it is for Kunming to reach an ambitious framework agreement to preserve biodiversity, biodiversity that includes genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem integrity.”

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