Biodiversity smart is planetary wise

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted by 196 countries in Montreal, Canada, this week is a major moment for biodiversity protection. It is biodiversity’s ‘Paris moment’, with countries agreeing to ambitious targets to halt and restore biodiversity loss by 2030. It is the first step to stop the war on nature and put the world on a pathway to live with it symbiotically. Delineating this necessarily ambitious action is what makes the agreement at COP15 in Montreal historic.

The real work begins now. India, a biodiversity-rich country, must develop a multifaceted plan that addresses different aspects of halting biodiversity loss, including international targets. It must set up and strengthen institutional structures and systems to assist and monitor implementation, and ensure compliance. Serious domestic conversations are necessary on elements such as phasing out of harmful subsidies that India pushed back on at the international negotiations. It must begin to develop and use parameters that ensure fiscal and other policies do not undermine biodiversity. Creating regulatory frameworks that embed sustainable production and consumption are essential. Valuing nature and its services, not just in a qualitative way but also by assigning economic value, is critical. Biodiversity protection does not impose a cost on economic development, but unsustainable economic growth actually does impede long-term growth.

As a first mover in global greening, India must engage with other developing countries, particularly those rich in biodiversity, to develop a system for them to benefit from their own biodiversity resources, efficiencies of resource use, etc. Being smart about biodiversity protection is being planetary wise.

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