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COP15

With the world facing a biodiversity crisis, experts and global leaders are preparing to gather at COP15 in Montreal.

It was just a few years ago when a panel of scientists issued the dire warning that biodiversity — the variety of genes, species and ecosystems on Earth — is declining at an unprecedented rate. Almost one million species globally are at risk of extinction. As people continue to log forests for lumber and agriculture, drain wetlands for new housing developments, overfish the oceans and pump greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, more and more species and ecosystems are being driven to the brink. The consequences for biodiversity are devastating.

What is COP15?


In December, representatives from 196 countries will converge in Montreal for COP15 — the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The goal of COP15 is to finalize a global framework meant to halt and ultimately reverse the loss of biodiversity. Collectively, countries failed to meet the targets laid out in the last global biodiversity agreement, which expired in 2020.

Investigating problems. Exploring solutions
The Narwhal’s reporters are telling environment stories you won’t read about anywhere else. Stay in the loop by signing up for a weekly dose of independent journalism.
Investigating problems. Exploring solutions
The Narwhal’s reporters are telling environment stories you won’t read about anywhere else. Stay in the loop by signing up for a weekly dose of independent journalism.

COP15, which runs from Dec. 7 to 19, is a chance to reinvigorate efforts to protect the stunning diversity of plants and animals on Earth. But experts are clear that soaring rhetoric and ambitious targets won’t be enough. Stronger laws and policies to protect nature, as well as new investments in conservation, are needed to ensure any goals set out in December are achieved.

What are Canada’s biodiversity targets?


There are reasons for hope. Communities around the world are working to protect biodiversity.

Globally, 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found on Indigenous lands. In Canada, First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities — who have stewarded their territories for millennia — are establishing new conserved areas, ensuring protection for an array of species and safeguarding biodiversity and culture, and helping Canada meet its biodiversity commitments. Canada has committed to conserve 25 percent of lands and waters by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030.

As COP15 in Montreal draws closer, The Narwhal is digging into some of the major threats to biodiversity and solutions that can help to protect it. We’ll also be on the ground at the conference to help you make sense of what unfolds and what it means for Canada.

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