UN Agreement Inches Towards Conserving 30% of Earth's Area

    UN Agreement Inches Towards Conserving 30% of Earth's Area
    Last updated Dec 19, 2022
    Image credit: AP


    • On Monday, delegates at the UN's COP15 biodiversity summit — which has been characterized as a "last chance" for nature's recovery — struck a landmark agreement and pledged to protect nearly a third of the planet's area by 2030.[1]
    • The most prominent part of the agreement, known as "30x30," calls for a coordinated effort to designate 30% of Earth's land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030. About 17% of the planet's land and 8% of its oceans are currently protected from fishing, farming, and industrial activities.[2]
    • The platform agreed upon includes safeguarding the rights of indigenous communities, halving global food waste, and protecting vital ecosystems such as wetlands, grasslands, and coral reefs.[3]
    • In addition, the developed countries agreed to work towards increasing financial aid to the developing countries and contribute at least $20B per year by 2025, rising to $30B per year by 2030.[4]
    • However, the framework still needs to be agreed upon by the 196 signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity before it is finalized.[5]
    • The pact comes as biodiversity declines worldwide at alarming rates. Up to 1M of the estimated 8M plant and animal species face extinction in the coming decades.[6]


    Narrative A

    The framework has come just in time. This agreement to protect 30% of Earth's lands, rivers, lakes, and wetlands is a step in the right direction. It can prevent mass extinctions, bolster resilience to climate change, safeguard marine ecosystems, and allow humanity to transition towards a nature-positive world.

    Narrative B

    It's unlikely that this will be fully implemented, as shown by past UN treaties. The agreement could be undermined by its failure to mobilize the promised resources as the financial commitments — including the pledge to increase overall biodiversity financing to $200B a year from all sources — are not legally binding. Also, the US is not a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 32% chance that the European Union will achieve its 2030 Paris Climate Agreement goals, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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