COP15: Much-delayed global biodiversity summit set to be relocated to Montreal

The COP15 Biodiversity Summit looks set to be subjected to yet another scheduling change, after insiders revealed this morning that it is now expected to be held in Montreal, Canada, instead of its original location of Kunming, China.

The conference, which was originally scheduled to take place in October 2020 but has been delayed four times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, is now expected to take place between 5 and 17 December in Montreal, the home of its organising body, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is yet to officially confirm the change of plans, with an official announcement expected this week. But observers of the long running negotiations told Reuters A change of location was now expected following reports the Chinese government was considering a postponing the crucial talks for a fifth time due to Covid, this time until 2023.

At the summit, governments from around the world are expected to finalise and sign a landmark Paris Agreement-style UN treaty for biodiversity, designed to catalyse policies at an international, national, and local level that combat nature loss.

Sharing the news on Twitter, Li Shuo, a policy advisor at Greenpeace China, said the decision to relocate the conference to Montreal would help focus leaders’ attention on thrashing out the terms of the global biodiversity deal.

“This belated decision should focus everyone’s minds now on the quality of the deal, including ambitious protection targets, robust implementation mechanism, and a strong finance package,” he said.

A draft version of the so-called Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, published in 2021, includes goals to conserve at least 30 per cent of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030; for pollution from all sources to be reduced to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity; for pesticide use to be slashed by two thirds, for nutrient run off to be halved, and for plastic pollution eliminated.

However, the question of how developing nations will be financially supported to achieve the goals is expected to be a key flashpoint between governments tasked with finalizing the treaty. There are also long-standing questions over how to ensure the new targets are met, after a previous package of global targets for nature protection and restoration for 2020 were badly missed by governments around the world.

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