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UN holds biodiversity talks on deal to stave off mass extinction

PARIS (AFP) – Global efforts to cut plastic and agricultural pollution, protect a third of wild spaces, and ultimately live “in harmony with nature” will dominate UN biodiversity negotiations starting Monday, held in person after a two-year pandemic delay.

Almost 200 countries are due to adopt a global framework this year to safeguard nature by mid-century from the destruction wrought by humanity, with a key milestone of 30 per cent protected by 2030.

The aim is also to safeguard the “services” nature supplies: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that yields the food we eat.

The meeting in Geneva will set the stage for a crucial UN biodiversity summit, initially due to be held in China in 2020 and postponed several times. It is now expected to take place at the end of August.

Geneva is a chance to strengthen a draft global biodiversity agreement “that many observers feel currently lacks the teeth needed to meaningfully address interconnected biodiversity and climate crises that cannot be solved in isolation”, according to the Nature Conservancy.

Campaigners have for years called for a deal on halting biodiversity loss similar to what the Paris Agreement outlined for the climate.

Previous efforts to halt this devastation have fallen short, with countries failing, for example, to meet almost all the biodiversity targets set in 2010.

But despite often being overshadowed by the efforts to combat climate change, the plight of the natural world is no less catastrophic.

Intensive agriculture is depleting the soil and fouled waterways, oceans are overfished, plastics and other pollutants are invading ecosystems and threatening our health.


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