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U.N. RELEASES FIRST DRAFT OF AMBITIOUS GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK

07/19/2021

United Nations negotiators have released 21 proposals, setting ambitious new goals for environmental conservation this decade (UN Environment Programme). The draft agreement is broad in its targets. It includes plans for countries to put at least 30% of both land and sea territories under conservation protection, reduce pesticide usage by at least 66%, eliminate plastic waste, cut harmful agricultural subsidies by $500 billion annually, and channel $200 billion per year to protecting nature in the Global South (Guardian and Reuters).

Though observers welcome these bold actions, some worry that having so many individual targets may interfere with their implementation, encouraging countries to “cherry pick” convenient targets and ignore those that would be more difficult to meet. Some have also pointed out that certain tenets of the plan, including its discussion of Indigenous rights, are vague, with little specificity in how to link international targets with domestic plans (Reuters and Straits Times).

In the coming months, the proposal will be revised and sent forward to the U.N.’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice and the U.N. Subsidiary Body on Implementation (Hill). The framework will then be negotiated and signed at the upcoming summit on global biodiversity taking place in Kunming, China, this October (Reuters and Straits Times).