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GLOBALink | Australian ecologist expects COP15 to consolidate global biodiversity conservation efforts

Source: Xinhua| 2021-10-08 15:31:08|Editor: huaxia

An Australian ecologist said he hopes the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity will set higher conservation targets and further consolidate global biodiversity efforts.

The COP15 will kick off on Monday in Kunming city in Southwest China's Yunnan Province. A post-2020 global biodiversity framework is expected to be reviewed during the meeting as part of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference.

"I hope they will increase the target for the percentage of land and sea that should be in a protected area. I think it should be increased to at least 30 percent; as is the minimum based on science, it would be very good if that was agreed to," Professor Brendan Mackey, who is director of the Climate Action Beacon at Griffin University in Queensland, told Xinhua.

"I also think they need to give more attention to protecting the world's remaining primary natural forests," he added.

Describing biodiversity as a comprehensive term covering the diversity of species, the genetic variation with them, as well as the many different ecosystem types, Mackey said that while biodiversity has its own value, irrespective of its use to people, it is also crucial to modern society and humanity.

"There are many practical benefits to people from ecosystem services including food, clean water and clean air. They also absorb and store significant amounts of carbon which helps mitigate climate change," he said.

Mackey believes that gaining a better understanding of the economic benefits of ecosystems will help countries work out how to strike a balance between their growing populations and their limited natural resources.

"We can therefore put an economic value on these benefits to people that come from these ecosystem services, which is called 'environmental-economic accounting'," he said.

"This sees the ecosystem as an asset which provides services that benefit people and we can put an economic valuation on them," he explained.

"It's possible to have good economic development and a healthy natural environment," he said while stressing the importance of proper strategies.

"This requires proper planning, especially when putting in place infrastructures such as railways and roads and constructing dams to ensure they avoid harm to biodiversity and are done in an environmentally careful and sensitive way," said the professor.

Mackey has participated in several environmental conferences and engaged with some biodiversity conservation projects in China.

He said he thinks that alongside China's experiences managing its large population and development goals to eliminate poverty he has seen a growing awareness of the importance of biodiversity.

Conservation of biodiversity is now at the top of China's national agenda, evidenced by the establishment of more national parks and the policy of ecological civilization.

"I know China is now turning a lot of attention to having more national parks and making sure those national parks are better managed," he said.

Mackey also hoped there will be more international cooperation in tackling the global challenges.

"Biodiversity is a matter of global concern and we need coordinated action amongst the nations," he said.

"Every country has responsibility for the biodiversity within its borders, but there are lots of biodiversity issues between countries," the professor noted.

"There's a lot of migratory birds and migratory animals. So there's a need to have international cooperation," he added.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

KEY WORDS: Australia,Biodiversity,COP15
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