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COP27 "Short on Biodiversity" - Analysis

FILE: A man handles an ear of wheat in a greenhouse at the Israel Plant Gene Bank at the Volcani Institute in Rishon LeZion, Israel November 3, 2022.

There was no mention of the upcoming U.N. biodiversity summit - COP15 - to take place Dec. 7-19 at the end of COP27 in Egypt. The decision "failed to signal the need for (COP15) to be successful, demonstrating the continued unnecessary and outdated walls between the U.N. climate and biodiversity approaches," said Brian O'Donnell, director of non-profit organization Campaign for Nature.

Campaigners are calling for a fully-fledged "Paris Agreement for Nature" at COP15 in Montreal December 7 - 19 under which countries would set national conservation targets and then report routinely on their progress in meeting them as has happened for carbon emissions following the Paris climate accord.

"If nations are committed to the text just adopted in Egypt, then they must follow through with ambitious nature conservation targets in Montreal," O'Donnell said.

Currently, 21 conservation targets are proposed on efforts from reducing pesticide use to cutting harmful subsidies by at least $500 billion per year. The "landmark" target of the draft Montreal deal proposes protecting 30% of the world's land and sea by 2030 - known informally as 30-by-30.

The final deal from Sharm el-Sheikh spelt out "the urgent need to address, in a comprehensive and synergetic manner, the interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss."

It encouraged parties to "consider, as appropriate, nature-based solutions or ecosystem-based approaches" to climate change. These include strategies such as protecting forests or restoring wetlands to aid the Earth's natural ability to store carbon.

Marco Lambertini, director general of World Wildlife Fund International said nature-based solutions were critical.

"Even by achieving net zero emissions ... we will not be achieving 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need nature on our side," he said.

China holds the COP15 presidency, although the summit is taking place in Montreal, the seat of the CBD secretariat, after being postponed four times from its original 2020 date in the Chinese city of Kunming.

China and Canada have worked closely on arranging the event and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to attend, while Chinese President Xi Jinping is not expected.

Canada's environment minister Steven Guilbeault said his country "had a very constructive and collaborative cooperation with China since the U.N. asked us to host COP15".