COP15 – historic deal struck to halt habitat loss

In the most unlikely of moves, China’s environment minister Huang Runqiu seems to have pushed through a game-changing agreement to halt the degradation of the Earth’s ecosystems at the COP15 summit held in Montreal, Canada.

The agreement, which includes targets to protect 30% of the planet by the end of the decade, was pushed through despite objections from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Uganda. More than 200 countries signed the agreement that will radically change farming, business supply chains and the role of indigenous populations in conservation actions.

The African nations who were trying to halt the finalising of the agreement argued that in its present form there was no extra funding for conservation activities in Africa. Under the existing UN fund, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), China, brazil, Indonesia, India and Mexico are the biggest recipients of funding. The negotiators from DRC argued that a new, separate fund was needed for biodiversity.

The deal follows scientific warnings that humans are causing the start of Earth’s sixth mass extinction event, the largest loss of life since the time of the dinosaurs.

Quoted in The Guardian, Canada’s Steven Guilbeault, a former environmental campaigner turned minister, said the Kunming-Montreal pact was a “bold step forward to protect nature”.

“Just six months ago, we didn’t know if we were going to even be able to have this conference and or even less to be able to adopt this historic document. And this was only possible through the collaboration of all countries present here tonight,” he said.