NEW YORK - Roughly 190 countries early on Monday approved a sweeping United Nations agreement to protect 30 percent of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030 and to take a slew of other measures against biodiversity loss, a mounting under-the-radar crisis that, if left unchecked, jeopardizes the planet’s food and water supplies as well as the existence of untold species around the world, according to the New York Times.
An outsize amount of the world’s biodiversity lives in countries of the global south. But these nations often lack the hefty financial resources needed to restore ecosystems, to reform harmful agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry practices; and to conserve threatened species.
Developing countries pushed hard for more funding, with representatives of dozens of countries from Latin American, Africa and Southeast Asia walking out of meetings on Wednesday in protest that they weren’t being heard.
The Democratic Republic of Congo expressed fierce opposition and held up final approval into the early hours of Monday morning.
When the president of the talks proceeded over the Congolese objections, delegates from several African spoke out in protest.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s environment minister has said her country has not agreed to a deal to halt the destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems, prompting behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to keep the agreement alive just hours after it was adopted.
Ève Bazaiba, the DRC’s environment minister, said her country would be writing to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and the Convention on Biological Diversity to express the DRC’s position on the final text.
It comes after the Chinese Cop15 president, Huang Runqiu, appeared to force through the agreement in the final plenary just moments after the DRC negotiator had said did not support the deal, which is typically negotiated by consensus. His interventions prompted further objections from Uganda and Cameroon.