A video on elephants is being played during the opening ceremony of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP15, in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Oct 11, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
KUNMING – The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP15, kicked off on Monday afternoon in Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan province.
Themed "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," COP15 is the first global conference convened by the United Nations highlighting ecological civilization, a philosophy proposed by China.
I would like to express my admiration for the actions that China has taken to protect and restore biodiversity. I'm also deeply encouraged to see that the engagement of the many non-state actors is rising considerably in China and worldwide.
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, attended the opening ceremony in person and spoke highly of China's efforts in conserving biodiversity.
"I would like to express my admiration for the actions that China has taken to protect and restore biodiversity," she said. "I'm also deeply encouraged to see that the engagement of the many non-state actors is rising considerably in China and worldwide."
To meet the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature, the world must take action this decade to reverse biodiversity loss and "put biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest," Mrema noted.
Inger Andersen, under-secretary-general of the United Nations and executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, sent her congratulations on the opening of COP15 via video.
She said that making peace with nature is a defining task of the 21st century as nature is the foundation of the cultures, societies, and economies of all human beings.
She urged all parties to the Convention to take clear and tangible actions to deliver the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and place nature at the heart of decision-making.
COP15 will take place in two parts. The first part, scheduled for Oct 11 to 15, will happen offline and online with over 5,000 representatives worldwide. They are expected to focus on the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to guide conservation actions worldwide through 2030.
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Over 1,800 participants will gather at a forum on ecological civilization as a sideline event of the meeting from Oct 14 to 15, which will cover a range of topics including coping with climate change and nature-based ecological protection and restoration.
The second part of the meeting, to be held offline in the first half of 2022, is expected to see the finalization and adoption of an ambitious and practical post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
China was among the first countries to become a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which entered into force in 1993. The Convention currently has 196 parties, and the Conference of the Parties is the highest mechanism for discussing and making decisions on the Convention.