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Chinese official urges global effort on biodiversity conservation

By MINLU ZHANG at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-07-10 11:30

China's minister of ecology and environment, speaking at the United Nations, called for a collective effort to implement a global biodiversity framework.

The minister, Huang Runqiu, who is also the president of COP15 — the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity — spoke via video at the UN briefing on Thursday.

He stressed the building of a shared community of common destiny through the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

With China presiding, and with strong support from the international community, COP15 was successfully held in two stages, said Huang. Phase one took place virtually in 2021, followed by an in-person phase in Montreal in 2022.

The meeting adopted the Kunming-Montreal framework, which "provides a blueprint for global biodiversity governance, sets goals, clarifies the path, and brings together collective efforts", Huang said.

The blueprint for global biodiversity conservation has been drafted, and the time has come to translate it into reality, he said.

Over the next two years, China will continue to preside, urging all parties to promote the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal framework and execute the decisions made at the COP15 conference, said Huang.

Biodiversity is the basis for the survival and development of human beings, and the blood and foundation of the community of life on Earth, Huang said, adding that the present loss of biodiversity is intertwined with multiple crises, including climate change and environmental pollution.

Confronted with the global challenges of biodiversity loss, humanity shares a common destiny, where prosperity and adversity are shared by all. It is imperative that nations support each other and collaborate in addressing the challenges, he said.

Unity is essential, he said. All parties should align with the framework, expedite the update of national strategies and action plans for biodiversity conservation, coordinate efforts to advance biodiversity conservation alongside the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and green economic recovery, and accelerate the green transformation of economic and social development, Huang said.

Vitality must be fostered, Huang said. "We encourage and welcome the participation of international organizations, the private sector, financial institutions, indigenous peoples, local communities, women, youth, and other stakeholders throughout the decision-making and action processes related to biodiversity conservation," he said.

Huang said empowerment is crucial. Developed countries should fulfill their commitments and increase support to developing countries in terms of finance, technology and capacity-building, he said.

China will leverage the Kunming Biodiversity Fund to its full potential and provide assistance and support within its means to developing countries, said Huang.

In 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced China's initiative to establish the fund and to take the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan (approximately $233 million) into the fund. The fund aims to support biodiversity protection in developing countries, said Xi.

Thursday's briefing to permanent missions to the UN was organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and China.

Ligia Noronha, UN assistant secretary-general and head of the New York office at UNEP presided over the meeting.

David Cooper, acting executive secretary of the Secretariat of the CBD, introduced the framework at the meeting.

Dai Bing, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, delivered a speech at the meeting. Representatives from more than 50 countries attended.

The Kunming-Montreal framework reflects the political will and collaborative spirit of the international community to enhance cooperation on biodiversity, said Dai.

The framework "embodies true multilateralism and upholds the UN's leading role", he said. The adoption of the framework "marks a new beginning, and the subsequent actions are of utmost importance, with the key lying in implementation", he pointed out.

"It is crucial to accelerate practical measures, turning the framework from a blueprint into reality and working together to establish a global community of life on Earth," he said.

Dai emphasized that China is actively promoting the development of an ecological civilization and has elevated biodiversity protection to a national strategy.

"China is willing and capable of making significant contributions to strengthening global environmental governance and implementing the 2030 Agenda," he said.

The Kunming-Montreal framework is the most ambitious global agreement on biodiversity in the history of environmental governance, according to the UN. It will serve as the global framework for biodiversity conservation. It will aim to achieve 23 targets by 2030 and four long-term goals by 2050, encompassing actions at all levels to safeguard and restore biodiversity.

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