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The overall sentiment after this biodiversity COP is positive, but it is only the first step in a long journey towards being nature positive. The first historic agreement for nature is the inclusion of the “30 by 30” target in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which has been adopted by more than 190 countries. This overarching goal aims to protect and conserve at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030 through protected area systems and restoration, while respecting the rights of indigenous people and local communities – a first. The aforementioned target is the world’s largest commitment to biodiversity and is considered by some to be the biodiversity equivalent of the 1.5° of the Paris Agreement.
While the measure is a first and necessary milestone towards “living in harmony with nature”, estimates from Protected Planet show that currently only 15.8% of terrestrial areas and 8.16% of marine and coastal areas are protected. Experts argue that half of the land surface must be set aside for nature. Hopefully, the graph will become more colourful by 2030, although there may be a lack of consensus on the methodology, how it will work on a country-by-country basis, and how new protection measures will be funded. This will be an actionable driver for businesses, governments, and society, and an important advance in accountability.