“Our world is crying out for change”
A solid financial basis for global species conservation also plays an important role in the upcoming negotiations.
There is an urgent need for a species protection agreement, says Marma. “Our world is crying out for change. The current state of biodiversity is critical. 90 percent of the world’s ecosystems have been altered, with a million species at risk of extinction. Our planet is in crisis.”
Heike Vesper of the WWF Germany Nature Conservation Federation says that we are currently experiencing “the biggest extinction of species since the age of dinosaurs”, but this time it is scientifically proven to be a human-driven process. “But biological diversity is also the basis for our existence and our economy.”
So much depends on biodiversity, for example the bulk of our food, raw materials, clean water, clean air and many medicines. In the last 50 years the world population has doubled, the economy has quadrupled and world trade has increased tenfold. “We humans only take more from the earth than it can give to us.” Christoph Schenk, winner of the German Environmental Prize 2022 and managing director of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, talks of “mass extinction” in relation to biodiversity.
Originally, the 15th World Summit on Nature – also known by the abbreviation “COP-15” – was supposed to take place in China in 2020, but was postponed and split due to the ongoing pandemic situation there. was. The first part of the talks took place primarily online in Kunming last October, and the second part is now in Montreal, though still under the Chinese presidency. In between, several preparatory meetings took place at different levels and at different places.
The signs for Montreal are mixed, says Florian Tietze from WWF Germany: In the run-up to the event, there were “some tensions” between the Chinese president and the participating states, mainly of a political and diplomatic nature. An initial resolution for the meeting, for example, was not passed unanimously by the UN General Assembly, as is usually the case. In addition, the Chinese president did not invite any heads of state or government to the summit – which is why none is expected – at least officially – at the moment.
“Come to Montreal with an open mind and flexibility”
At least UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will arrive at the start, according to the United Nations. In a speech, Guterres wanted to emphasize how important it is to “make peace with nature”.
“Be prepared to make compromises with an open mind and flexibility,” said Marma, head of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, in Montreal. However, the next challenge is implementation. “A nice document that we can adorn our shelves with” is useless, Marma says — and Tietze from the WWF warns about this as well: “In the past, we’ve always failed at implementation, not goals.”
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