Interview: Concrete actions need to be "fine-tuned" following COP15 Kunming Declaration, says expert

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by Xinhua writers Yang Shilong, Hu Yousong

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Government officials "now need to roll up their sleeves and agree to concrete actions" on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework for the next decade set out by the Kunming Declaration, a U.S. environmental expert has said.

"There's a lot that needs to be fine-tuned regarding the global biodiversity framework to reflect the ambition of the Kunming Declaration," James Roth, senior vice president for global policy and government affairs at Conservation International, told Xinhua on Wednesday, referring to the document adopted at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15).

"Recognition and commitments at the ministerial level should be motivation for technical level work. Government officials now need to roll up their sleeves and agree to concrete actions that reflect the urgency and commitment expressed by ministers," said Roth, adding that all of that work will "help us ensure the next decade will be the decade of change."

"The Kunming Declaration shows that countries are aware of the problem. Biodiversity loss is on par with the climate crisis but needs to be translated into action. We need to get the actual goals on paper and agreed to," he said.

"The global community needs to come together to close the biodiversity funding gap. China's financing commitment will hopefully move other countries to help close the dramatic funding gap," he said, adding "moreover, the expansion of protected areas in China should be a motivator for other countries to follow."

Countries have reached the consensus at the ministerial level that biodiversity loss and other disastrous trends "pose an existential threat to our society, our culture, our prosperity and our planet," he said, noting "this is a bold and alarming statement that must serve as a wake-up call."

To that point, the Kunming Declaration connected biodiversity with human health and well-being, he said. "We cannot view biodiversity as something separate from our lives. If areas rich in biodiversity are degraded, all of human civilization will suffer."

Noting that ministers have agreed to "commit to" reversing the current loss of biodiversity by 2030 at the latest, he added that another important commitment is "the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples by ensuring their participation in our collective efforts."

Conservation International is a non-profit international organization based in the United States, with a mission to promote global biodiversity and the well-being of humanity. Enditem

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