The ‘30×30’ Conservation Goal Divides and Inspires at COP15

But others question the mentality of those trying to push it through — even if it looks good on paper. Lakpa Nuri Sherpa, a Nepalese and advocate of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, questioned whether the “top-down” approach associated with 30×30 would work if those implementing it did not radically change their approach to indigenous peoples would. “Here’s the problem, because the solution comes from above, and they don’t really know the realities on the ground, and the ‘solution’ doesn’t become a solution,” he says, adding that IPLCs are crucial with trust and Treated with respect, with a “spirit of true partnership”.

For Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 30×30 is a crucial part of a successful deal to protect important ecosystems and promote indigenous conservation models, especially in big countries like Brazil, Russia and China. He said his country is beginning a “history of reconciliation” with indigenous peoples.

In November 2021, a study included maps of the ecosystems humanity must not destroy to meet climate goals, including the vast boreal forests and peatlands of Russia, China, and the US, and the tropical forests of the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Indonesia. These areas contain 139 billion tons of “unrecoverable” carbon, and researchers said this is where 30×30 efforts should be focused.

There is a growing number of coalitions to protect these ecosystems. At COP27, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia announced a coalition of the rainforest’s Big Three and said they would coordinate at the UN talks on climate and biodiversity to protect them. Brazil’s new President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has announced that he will convene an all-Amazonian meeting to protect the region at the beginning of his term. Indigenous groups at the last biodiversity summit in 2018 proposed creating a protected area by 2025 containing the world’s largest rainforests, equal in size to Mexico, a goal known as 80 by 25.

The Campaign for Nature is pushing to conserve at least 30 percent of land and sea by 2030, seeing this as a milestone whose director Brian O’Donnell calls it “ground, not ceiling.” O’Donnell says the world should push for 50 percent, an important step in realizing Harvard biologist EO Wilson’s vision of protecting half the planet for human long-term survival. When it comes to areas that need to be preserved, the most biodiverse areas with connections between them need to be enclosed to avoid island protection, he says.

But another bone of contention within the target is whether each country must protect 30×30 or whether it is a global target (ie the Netherlands might not make it, but countries like Brazil could do a lot more). In this case, richer countries with less biodiversity should pay poorer countries with more biodiversity not to destroy their nature as they are both international and national assets.

Some countries are asking developed nations how they can be expected not to cut down their forests the way rich countries did in the past. In its opening statement at COP15, the group of megadiverse countries, which includes Brazil, India and South Africa, said the 30 percent target would require significant financial and technical support.

https://www.wired.com/story/the-30×30-conservation-goal-divides-and-inspires-at-cop15/ The ‘30×30’ Conservation Goal Divides and Inspires at COP15

Zack Zwiezen

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