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China says over 100 nations adopt ‘Kunming Declaration’ to boost biodiversity

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KUNMING — China said representatives from more than 100 countries have adopted the “Kunming Declaration” which calls for “urgent and integrated action” in creating a new global biodiversity pact.

Environment Minister Huang Runqiu told delegates to the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Kunming that the declaration was a document of political will, not a binding international agreement.

Crucial issues – like funding conservation in poorer countries and committing to biodiversity-friendly supply chains – have been left to discuss at a later date.

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In the previous agreement signed in Aichi, Japan, in 2010, governments around the world agreed on 20 targets to try to slow biodiversity loss and protect habitats by 2020, but none of the targets were met.

With plant and animal species loss now at its fastest rate in 10 million years, politicians, scientists and experts are meeting to lay the groundwork for a new pact.

Li Shuo, senior climate adviser with environment group Greenpeace, said it remained to be seen whether China has the experience to drive through a new global pact during the second phase of talks next year.

“Our global biodiversity crisis is urgent but so far the Convention on Biological Diversity’s progress has been too slow,” he said. (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)