New Zealand to support new global biodiversity targets at COP15

Conservation

Conservation Minister Poto Williams will lead Aotearoa New Zealand’s delegation to COP15, the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal this week.

"COP15 comes at a defining moment. Biodiversity is being lost faster now than at any other period in human history, with an estimated 1 million species threatened with extinction," said Poto Williams.

"Global commitments have been made before, yet the state of the world’s biodiversity remains perilous. This conference must be the turning point for nature. We need global agreement for new international targets that commit to halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030."

"New targets must be stronger and smarter in a framework that addresses all the major drivers of biodiversity loss. Monitoring and reporting on our progress towards biodiversity targets will be crucial in driving action and holding countries to account."

The recent COP27 Climate Conference saw Parties recognise the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems.

"COP27 acknowledged the urgent need to address the interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. There’s no doubt that climate change is putting species and ecosystems under even more pressure. Their protection must in fact be part of the solution."

A key negotiation at COP15 will be the long-standing proposal to protect 30% of land and sea areas by 2030. 

"New Zealand supports a global protection target of 30% by 2030, and is actively advocating to ensure this target delivers real conservation outcomes and respects the rights of indigenous peoples. Marine protection needs to be purposefully designed and well managed to protect the full range of nature’s diversity."

New targets on combatting invasive species, reducing harm from pesticides, and eliminating plastic pollution will also be important.

"Aotearoa New Zealand has one of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of life on earth, with an estimated 80,000 native species of animals, plants, and fungi. These species evolved over 80 million years in isolation from other land masses resulting, in many native species that are endemic. The downside is we have experienced one of the highest extinction rates in the world and have the highest proportion of threatened indigenous species."

Poto Williams said Aotearoa New Zealand is firmly committed to contributing to the new global targets in line with the national biodiversity strategy, Te Mana o te Taiao.

"We will strive to ensure that ecosystems and indigenous species thrive, people are enriched by their connection with nature, prosperity and thriving biodiversity are linked, and Māori exercise their role as rangatira and kaitiaki."

During her visit, Poto Williams will participate in the high-level segment of COP15 from 15-17 December, deliver New Zealand’s national statement, and discuss how to further advance global biodiversity outcomes.