NZ to support new global biodiversity targets at COP15

New Zealand is “firmly committed” to contributing to the new global biodiversity targets in line with its national strategy, Conservation Minister Poto Williams said on Monday ahead of a COP15 meeting.

Williams will lead New Zealand’s delegation to COP15, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to be held on December 15-17 in Montreal, Xinhua news agency reported.

“COP15 comes at a defining moment. Biodiversity is being lost faster now than at any other period in human history, with an estimated 1 million species threatened with extinction,” said Williams, adding the state of the world’s biodiversity remains perilous and a global agreement for new international targets that commit to halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 is needed.

The recent COP27 Climate Conference saw Parties recognise the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems, she said.

A key negotiation at COP15 will be the long-standing proposal to protect 30 percent of land and sea areas by 2030. New targets on combatting invasive species, reducing harm from pesticides, and eliminating plastic pollution will also be important.

The minister said New Zealand has one of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of life on earth, with an estimated 80,000 native species of animals, plants, and fungi. These species evolved over 80 million years in isolation from other land masses.

“The downside is we have experienced one of the highest extinction rates in the world and have the highest proportion of threatened indigenous species,” Williams said.

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