UN Ushers New Hope For ‘Living in Harmony With Nature'

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| LAST UPDATE 10/18/2021

By Layla Harris
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“In this period that calls for nothing less than urgent, transformative action, my question to you is who are you, and are you who you need to be?” A moving quote by Philippian participant, Josefa Tauli, during last week's UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming China, where 100 countries met to discuss the fate of biodiversity post-2020.

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At the conference, all countries were successfully able to agree upon what's now being called the Kunming Declaration. The resolution details a commitment to develop, adopt and implement an effective global framework that puts biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030--at the latest. Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, admitted, "The adoption of the Kunming Declaration is a clear indication of the worldwide support for the level of ambition that needs to be reflected in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework."  

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Key elements of the commitment call on State Parties to urgently prioritize biodiversity protection, especially in decision making, and to recognize the importance of conservation to the protection of human health. A combination of measures are recommended to address the targets of the declaration, but it specifically calls for the phase-out and redirection of harmful subsidies while recognizing full participation of indigenous peoples in monitoring/reviewing its progress.

In order to fund and support recovery policies that contribute to the 2050 shared vision of 'living in harmony with nature,' many Parties have conceded large sums of funding towards biodiversity. For instance, President Xi Jinping of China agreed to pledge around $230 million while the Japanese government aims to boost the fund by $17 million. Other big State players, such as France and the UK, are also allocating significant funding with an aim of “mainstreaming” conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity in decision-making. Globally, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation pose major risks to sustainable development with a thorough follow-through of the declaration being critical for human survival. But who's keeping them accountable?

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In terms of next steps, we can probably expect all countries to adopt the proposed framework by May 2022 after formal negotiations wrap up in January. Check back in with Discovery for the latest updates on this promising new step for biodiversity. To learn more, read the full Kunming Declaration.