Last week the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced that CoP15, the biggest biodiversity summit in a decade has been delayed for a second time. This crucial summit will negotiate a framework to address the emergency of biodiversity loss and its greater impact on the planet. The conference was originally meant to be held in China in October 2020, was moved to May 2021 and has now been rescheduled again to October 2021. The summit plans to reach an agreement over targets to protect nature, including current proposals to protect 30% of the world’s oceans and land by 2030.
Protecting the natural world is not something that can wait.
Recent estimates suggest that our planet is going through its sixth mass extinction due to a combination of climate change and biodiversity loss This phenomenon threatens up to a million species of plants and animals, largely because of human activities such as deforestation, hunting, and overfishing, as well as pollution and human-caused climate change. As a result, species are going extinct one hundred times faster than they would naturally, and at this rate we are likely reach a mass extinction threshold by the year 2100.
This summit provides a critical and time sensitive opportunity to address the issue of biodiversity loss. Combined with efforts to combat climate change as part of CoP26 (to be held in Glasgow in November) we still have a chance to reverse the damage we continue to do to our planet and ensure that we respond to this with the urgency required.
At a time when ‘normal life’ is carried out largely online and through virtual meetings, it is disappointing to see CoP15 delayed and worrying to see the time-sensitive issue of biodiversity loss not being afforded the gravity it so urgently requires. We simply cannot afford to delay global action on this emergency.