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COP15 biodiversity summit postponed to April 2022

The face-to-face portion of a critical UN biodiversity summit originally slated for last year will be delayed until April 2022, UN officials said Wednesday, citing the Covid pandemic.

An “official” virtual opening of the meeting hosted by China will take place in mid-October this year, followed by face-to-face negotiations in southern China’s Kunming from April 25 to May 8, 2022.

Earlier this month, the UN unveiled a draft agreement for the summit calling for the preservation of at least 30 percent of land and oceans, along with other biodiversity targets.

The fruit of months of online discussions, the draft mapped out the route for humanity to be “living in harmony with nature” by 2050.

Campaigners have for years called for an effective global agreement on halting biodiversity loss, similar to what the Paris Agreement lays out for climate change.

With more than one million species facing extinction and the world failing to meet existing nature preservation targets, the need for an accord among the nearly 200 nations taking part in the talks is pressing.

The draft outlines 21 targets and 10 “milestones” to be hit by 2030 to preserve biodiversity.

These include restoring at least 20 percent of degraded ecosystems and ensuring that existing intact wild areas are retained.

At least 30 percent of land and marine species should also be protected through conservation areas, the draft proposed.

The framework also calls for more sustainable farming and fishing practices, as well as “eliminating the discharge of plastic waste.”

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