The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tierra Curry,

Global Leaders at COP15 Urged to Stop Extinction Now

Biodiversity Summit Action in Montreal Crucial to Saving Life on Earth


Thousands of scientists and advocates from around the world are urging international biodiversity conference delegates to draft an ambitious framework to end the extinction crisis and safeguard biodiversity and Indigenous communities. The 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP15, opens today in Montreal.

"Now is the time for the world to set bold new goals to protect every last species," said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, who is attending the conference. "We're undermining our own survival by taking nature for granted, decimating wild places and jeopardizing vulnerable communities."

COP15's final framework will guide nature protection strategy for the next decade for the 196 countries that are party to the convention. The planet faces a global extinction crisis never witnessed by humankind. Scientists predict that more than 1 million species are on track for extinction in the coming decades.

In meetings leading up to this year's conference, delegates have failed to agree on a commitment to halt extinction. Countries also disagree on important targets such as curtailing pesticide and plastic pollution. Because the negotiations require full consensus, it is unclear whether countries will agree on all 21 of the convention's draft targets.

Countries did not meet the targets set in the global biodiversity framework for 2010-2020, at COP10 in Aichi, Japan. Goals included protecting 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas, protecting coral reefs, and considering the needs of women, Indigenous groups and low-income communities.

"The failure to meet the 2010 targets doesn't mean we should aim lower. It means we need more creativity and commitment," said Curry. "If a sports team doesn't win a tournament, they don't give up. They work harder."

More than 100 organizations and 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for an immediate end to human-caused extinction. Advocates are also pushing for meaningful protection of at least 30% of lands and waters by 2030 while safeguarding Indigenous rights.

"If delegates at the Convention on Biological Diversity can't agree that we should end extinction, it's a tragic reflection on our values," said Curry. "We've put nature in the basement of our heart, but it needs to be in the penthouse."

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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