A major United Nations (UN) biodiversity summit has been postponed for the third time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese environment ministry announced on Aug. 18.
The Chinese environment ministry said in a statement that the critical COP15 summit, which they will host, has been delayed and split into two phases for later this year and for the first half of 2022.
The first phase of the conference will take place on Oct. 11 to 15, with most people attending virtually.
The second phase will take place in-person in southern Chinese city Kunming from April 25 to May 8, 2022.
“Convening COP15 in two parts will enable maximum progress on the several remaining difficult issues prior to our conclusive face-to-face sessions in Kunming,” UN Biodiversity Chief Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said after the announcement, as quoted by AFP News.
British Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith said that the delay “will not mean taking our foot off the pedal.”
“We will continue to press countries to join us in ramping up efforts to protect and restore nature,” Goldsmith further said.
The Chinese environment ministry said that it will continue to work with the UN to overcome the impact of the pandemic on the meeting and to “earnestly fulfill its obligations as the host country and solidly advance the preparations for the conference.”
The first draft of the framework for the conference includes aiming for specific funding targets, such as reducing environmentally harmful subsidies to at least $500 billion annually and increasing financial resources to at least $200 billion annually.
The draft agenda also includes proposals to reduce pesticides by at least two-thirds, restore at least 20% of ecosystems, and conserve at least 30% of land and sea.
The conference was originally scheduled to be held in October 2020.
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