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COVID-19 causes people to stop, reimagine, plan for stronger, enduring future: NZ minister

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-13 16:17

WELLINGTON -- COVID-19 has been destructive in so many ways, but it has also caused people to stop, reimagine and plan for a stronger, more enduring future, with nature as its foundation, New Zealand Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan said on Wednesday.

While attending the virtual high-level segment of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP15, Allan said New Zealand has chosen to put nature at the very heart of its future.

The 1.2 billion-NZ dollar ($832 million) Jobs for Nature program brings thousands of New Zealanders into nature-based employment, and strengthens the conservation sector, she said in a speech at the virtual meeting.

The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy also provides a bold direction for restoring nature and provides both a pathway and a call to action for Maori, community, business, and government, Allan said.

"The global biodiversity framework is an opportunity to elevate partnerships with indigenous peoples. It can reinforce the importance of biodiversity to indigenous peoples, their role as guardians and the place of traditional knowledge in restoring nature," she added.

Many of the solutions are mutually supportive. Protecting oceans for example also helps protect vulnerable migratory species like albatross, while adopting smarter, more sustainable fishing practices will ensure the long-term viability of these vital industries and livelihoods, the minister said.

COP15 kicked off in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, on Monday. The first part of the meeting, scheduled for Oct 11 to 15, is held both offline and online.

Themed "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," COP15 is the first global conference convened by the United Nations highlighting ecological civilization, a philosophy proposed by China.

Participants are expected to focus on the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to guide conservation actions worldwide through 2030.

China was among the first countries to become a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which entered into force in 1993. The Convention currently has 196 parties, and the Conference of the Parties is the highest mechanism for discussing and making decisions concerning the Convention.

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