The signing of the biodiversity Cop15 agreement in Montreal, Canada, marks a significant milestone in the global effort to halt the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems and move towards living in harmony with nature by the middle of the century. The agreement, which was signed by the governments of nearly 200 countries, sets out a number of targets to achieve this goal.
One of the key elements of the agreement is the “30×30” target, which aims to protect 30% of the planet by 2030. This will require doubling the protected area on land and quadrupling that of the oceans. The deal also includes targets to reform $500bn of environmentally damaging subsidies and restore 30% of the planet’s degraded ecosystems. In addition, the agreement aims to halt human-caused extinctions of species and promote their recovery.
Marine biologist Enric Sala, who has been involved in advocating for the “30×30” target, described the agreement as historic and the “nature equivalent of the Paris Climate Agreement.” Sala emphasized the importance of protecting large, intact ecosystems, such as the Amazon rainforest and the Congo Basin, as well as unique ecosystems at the national level.
Sala also highlighted the potential benefits of marine reserves, particularly in the Mediterranean, where only 1% is currently protected from fishing. He argued that protecting the right 30% of the oceans would not only prevent species extinction, but also help to sustainably feed the growing human population and provide other benefits such as carbon sequestration.
The signing of the biodiversity Cop15 agreement is a significant step forward in the global effort to protect and preserve the natural world. It remains to be seen, however, how the agreement will be implemented and what impact it will have on the ground. Nonetheless, the commitment of nearly 200 countries to work towards a more sustainable future is a hopeful sign that, together, we can turn the tide on the extinction crisis facing nature.