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UN biodiversity meeting may be postponed again

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2022-01-24 23:22
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Photo taken on Oct 13, 2021 shows a view of the Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

The United Nations' negotiations over the world's new biodiversity conservation goals through 2030 may have to be postponed again because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

As the largest UN biodiversity gathering in a decade, the COP 15 United Nations Biodiversity Conference was originally scheduled to be held in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, in October 2020, but it was postponed until May due to the pandemic.

The pandemic led to the May meeting also being postponed.

In August, the ministry announced in a media release that the conference, in which nearly 200 countries are expected to be participate, will be held in two sessions — first in October 2021 and then in the first half of this year.

The first session of the conference featured an online opening ceremony, speeches by world leaders, the release of the "Kunming Declaration" and the launch of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund. Overseas representatives participated virtually at the event.

The release said delegates will personally come to Kunming during the second phase to negotiate an ambitious and pragmatic post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

On Monday, ministry spokesman Liu Youbin said the second session may have to be postponed because a preparatory meeting for it has not been held this month in Geneva, Switzerland, as scheduled due to the pandemic.

Citing information from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Liu said a new time will be chosen for the meeting by the end of this month.

The schedule for the second session of COP 15 "is very likely to be affected" as participants still need time to discuss the post-2020 global biodiversity framework after the Geneva meeting is eventually held, he said.

China will keep communicating closely with the secretariat and other parties and make decisions on when and how the second session will be held via joint consultations, he said. Pandemic control and prevention plans will be drafted according to the global situation.

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