Agreement shows ambition, but still needs hard accountability measures

MONTREAL | TIOHTIÀ:KE | UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE KANIEN’KEHÁ:KA NATION — Today at COP15, negotiators made a historic, once-in-a-decade commitment to protect biodiversity – now the work begins to make the commitments real and meaningful.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework commits governments to halt and reverse species loss, protect 30 per cent of land and ocean, sustainably manage the other 70 per cent and respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It will require legal teeth in Canada to ensure the job gets done.

“When the gavel dropped at 3:33 a.m. ET, I joined delegates in standing and applauding the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework,” said Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki Foundation director general for western Canada and nature programs director. “People are a part of nature. All targets addressing the biodiversity crises will also benefit human health and well-being. These targets must be coupled with true respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and confronting colonialism and extraction.”

The David Suzuki Foundation will work to hold Canada to its commitment for a Canadian halt and reverse action plan, and an accountability law to ensure immediate and measurable progress.

“With its emphasis on human rights law, the free and prior informed consent of Indigenous Peoples, girls’ and women’s empowerment and equality, and the universal right to a healthy environment, the Framework lays the foundation for the significant transformation needed across public and private sectors and all levels of government,” said Sabaa Khan, the Foundation’s director general for Quebec and Atlantic Canada and climate programs director. “Transparency, responsibility and rapid implementation will be key to its success.”

This agreement marks the first time the Convention on Biological Diversity has addressed pesticides, pollution and plastics as key drivers of the destruction of biodiversity.

“Parties have committed to reduce overall risk from pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals by at least half by 2030,” said Lisa Gue, the Foundation’s national policy manager. “This is an important signal. We look forward to working with Environment, Health and Agriculture ministers to develop measures to rapidly reduce pesticides and other highly hazardous chemical inputs in agriculture, forestry and other uses by at least 50 per cent.”

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