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Nation looks for balanced targets at COP 15 conference

Hou Liqiang
Updated: Jan 29,2021 08:58    China Daily

China is looking forward to seeing ambitious but balanced conservation targets that fully consider developing countries' capabilities at this year's United Nations biodiversity conference, a senior Ministry of Ecology and Environment official said.

The conference, known as COP 15, was originally scheduled to be held in Kunming, Yunnan's provincial capital, in October. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it was postponed to May.

"In light of current circumstances, there are still uncertainties over COP 15," Cui Shuhong, director-general of nature and eco-conservation at the ministry, told a news conference on Jan 28.

Cui said China is in close communication with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity on when and how the conference will be held.

Preparations for the conference are well underway, "with no letting up in efforts or compromising work targets", he said.

With the theme Ecological Civilization-Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth, the conference is tasked with elaborating on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and identifying global biodiversity protection goals up to 2030.

Ecological civilization is a concept promoted by President Xi Jinping for balanced and sustainable development that features the harmonious coexistence of people and nature.

A hot topic and an expected highlight of the conference, the framework is also a major challenge for the biennial gathering, Cui said.

He said China looks forward to seeing the framework reflect the three objectives of the convention-the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the sharing of the benefits-in a balanced manner.

With lessons borrowed from the 2010 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, China hopes that the framework will be ambitious and balanced.

Aside from offering guidance for future global efforts, goals should be set in a scientific, reasonable and sustainable manner, Cui said.

Passed at COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan, the Aichi targets included 20 ambitious conservation goals to safeguard global biodiversity until 2020, ranging from preventing the extinction of threatened species to halving the rate of forest loss.

However, many of the goals were not met.

Cui said the framework should also accommodate the concerns of developing countries.

"The capability of the world, especially the developing nations, should be brought into consideration when setting the targets," he said. "As to the mechanisms on resources mobilization, implementation and evaluation, support for developing countries should be enhanced."

The ministry said China has made marked progress in protecting key species.
Thanks to the establishment of 250 stations for wildlife rescue and breeding, more than 300 rare and endangered species of wild animals and plants have seen their populations recover. The number of wild giant pandas, for example, has increased to 1,864, up from 1,114 in the 1970s and 1980s, it said.