COP15 has drawn to a close in Montreal, Canada– two weeks of discussion and debate about how to look after biodiversity on our planet. 196 countries came together to help protect the one million species threatened with extinction and the habitats they live in.
For many years, climate change and human behaviour, such as deforestation and the pollution of our oceans, has caused a sharp decline in the number of plants, animals and other species living on Earth. Because of this, it is more important than ever to focus on protecting biodiversity – meaning all living things, the habitats they live in, and how they all work with each other.
The key breakthrough at the event was an agreement made to protect 30% of the planet, land and sea, by 2030. This will help to maintain and restore ecosystems, like rain forests and wetlands, stop species extinction, and halve global food waste. The treaty will also ensure that natural resources are equally shared and that the rights of indigenous people are protected.
As 100 countries had already signed up before the conference, it was unlikely that the agreement wouldn’t go through, though there is still some doubt over how this will be funded and whether extra support should be given to developing countries. However it is an important step forward that this commitment has been made official as many thought this was our last chance to make such an agreement.
The UK Government has pledged £34 million to these conservation efforts, including up to £29 million for developing countries. They have also announced £5.79 million in funding for wildlife conservation projects in UK Overseas Territories.