A key UN summit tasked with protecting biodiversity opened in China and online on Monday, as countries meet to protect ecosystems and prevent mass extinction weeks before the COP26 climate conference.
Beijing, the world’s biggest polluter, has sought to position itself in recent years as a world leader on environmental issues after Washington’s withdrawal from international commitments under former President Trump’s administration.
The online summit — setting the stage for a face-to-face meeting in April — will see parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) discuss new targets for protecting ecosystems by 2030.
Up for debate are the “30 by 30” plan to give 30% of land and oceans protected status by 2030 — a measure supported by a broad coalition of nations, as well as a goal to halve the use of chemicals in agriculture and stop creating plastic waste.
“While there have been some success and progress, there have not been the breakthroughs needed to halt the ongoing loss of plant and animal diversity on earth,” CBD executive secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema warned.