Will COP15 Be a Pathway for Hope?
COP15: What is all the buzz about?
You may have seen or heard the term “COP15” online or in the news over the past few weeks. Many are calling it “Nature COP,” which provides a hint. But what exactly is COP15 and why is it important?
Since the early 1990s, 14 international “conferences of the parties” or COPs have taken place focusing on the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is a global agreement that addresses all aspects of biodiversity. The COP conventions bring together all parties and stakeholders to develop laws and frameworks, provide parties with advanced tools to monitor progress, and set global targets for protecting the world’s biodiversity.
This year the 15th COP includes thousands of representatives from over 190 countries gathering in Montreal with the hope that it results in a 10-year Global Biodiversity Framework to guide the protection of biodiversity for a more resilient future.
Urgent Need for Action
The messages from COP15 are hitting home for us in our work at Carolinian Canada. The state of the world’s biodiversity is alarming. The current rate of biodiversity loss is unprecedented and warrants immediate and drastic action from governments around the world. We feel this urgency strongly in the Carolinian Zone as we know that one-third of Canada’s species at risk struggle to survive here. The Carolinian Zone hosts the greatest biodiversity in Canada along with over 25% of the national population on less than 1% of the country’s land and is vital to the persistence of many rare species and habitats and the health of millions of people.
The loss of wildlife is also connected to other impacts, such as the deterioration in the quality of our freshwater, soil, and air, which threatens agriculture, industry, economy, and community health and wellbeing, making the whole region less resilient to climate change. We are extremely motivated by these overlapping cultural, economic, social, and ecological consequences of biodiversity loss that are already being felt by wildlife and people in the Carolinian Zone and beyond. As we lose species, we are running out of time to reverse these negative trends, so it is more urgent than ever that we scale up action to protect the world’s biodiversity and critical habitat.
Valuing Indigenous Leadership
Indigenous people protect 80% of the world's biodiversity but only make up 5% of the global population. Indigenous knowledge and leadership are essential for our path forward in conserving biological diversity. Until recently, governments have failed to include Indigenous communities and perspectives in meaningful ways in these conversations. That is why COP15 has committed to enabling the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples. Delivering on this commitment is essential to the success of COP15 in Montreal.
A Pathway for Hope
The shared vision, energy, and determination from Montreal will have a lasting impact on our work. Every day, we will continue working on regional approaches in the Carolinian Zone reflecting the goals of the global framework. This means that every day we are working to protect and restore habitat for all the plants and animals that call this region home. We look forward to celebrating a new action plan coming out of COP15 that will deliver meaningful progress by governments around the world and provide a hopeful pathway for global biodiversity.
Amy Hall at COP15
Amy Hall, the Manager of Ecosystem Recovery at Carolinian Canada, is attending COP15 in Montreal, bringing the lens of the Carolinian Zone and the voice of the network with her.
“I am in Montreal attending COP15 as a young professional delegate. I have the opportunity to use my voice to inspire meaningful change and to convey the urgency of the biodiversity crisis across the world, and more specifically at home in the Carolinian Zone.
We have never seen a more critical time for biodiversity on this planet. The decisions made at COP15 could have dramatic impacts on how the world will change in my lifetime. As someone who studies wildlife biology, biodiversity is very important to me. I know attending COP15 will have a lasting impression on me and my work, and I plan to bring information and inspiration back to the Carolinian zone to help inform our regional approaches to biodiversity conservation.
I hope COP15 inspires real and meaningful change in government systems around the world. Putting biodiversity at the forefront of policy decisions and making meaningful steps toward Indigenous reconciliation are paramount.” - Amy Hall
Stay tuned for Amy’s reflections and experiences from COP15 next week.