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Interview: COP15 to create "right political setting" for biodiversity conservation blueprint: expert

Source: Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-11 16:38:20

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) biodiversity conference that kicks off in the Chinese city of Kunming on Monday will create "right political setting" for drawing a blueprint for global biodiversity conservation in the future, a leading expert on environmental policies has said.

In an interview ahead of the conference, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), told Xinhua that he really welcomes a Kunming Declaration and hopes it will be adopted ahead of the second phase of the COP15.

"It is important to have a full endorsement of the declaration. And this will give us the right political setting for the more down-to-earth negotiations that are already happening," said the expert.

The most relevant element of the declaration, the expert continued, is "the call on parties to mainstream biodiversity protection in decision-making, and recognize the importance of conservation in protecting human health."

Rodriguez also applauded China's decision to host the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in two phases, one in this week and the other next year.

"Otherwise, we had to wait one more year, which means one less year in terms of protecting biodiversity which is very important," said the expert, highlighting the importance of the conference, which will review the "post-2020 global biodiversity framework" to draw a blueprint for biodiversity conservation in the future.

Rodriguez, who served as Costa Rican Environment and Energy minister for three terms, is scheduled to deliver remarks on Tuesday at the first part of the COP15.

"We need to go from nature negative into nature positive ... We need to halt and revert the rate of loss of genes, species, and ecosystems on the planet," he added.

Highlighting the importance for humanity to recognize the significance of biodiversity, the expert said the Kunming Declaration would offer a great boost in this regard, spurring biodiversity conservation and climate change action.

"As far as I see the negotiations, I am very optimistic that we are doing two things. One is being able to bring the learned lessons from the previous period, which is what we call them, the Aichi targets, and then bring the level of ambition that we need to bring towards this new period," he said.

In 2010, parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity set a group of 20 goals to conserve biodiversity during a summit in Japan's Aichi. Countries had until 2020 to reach the Aichi targets and then move on to create a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

But the Aichi targets, which range from lowering species extinction rates to cutting pollution and preserving forests, have not been fulfilled.

"I am confident that in these last two years, many people, not just the scientists or the experts on diversity, but the rest of the global community, really connected the dots within the pandemic, human's consumption and production," he said.

"It is relatively evident that we have got a dysfunctional relationship with nature. The way we produce our food, the way we produce our energy, the way we live goes against the system that sustains life in the planet," he said. "That is why it is extremely important that we begin the COP with a very positive political outcome."

The Washington-based GEF is the largest multilateral trust fund supporting environmental action in developing countries and the main financing mechanism for multiple United Nations environmental conventions.

【Editor:Bai Yanxiaoxue 】
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