Among the benefits of preserving habitats is the mitigation of the risks and destructive effects of natural disasters. For example, intact mangroves and wetlands can act as buffers during typhoons and hurricanes and help to reduce damage further inland, he added.
Officials have called for the framework to be set with clear targets and commitments at a high level from all parties.
WORLD LEADERS NOT IN ATTENDANCE
However, as with the climate change agreement, getting the buy-in from the world’s largest economies may ultimately determine what is possible.
Originally scheduled to take place in Kunming in Yunnan province, COP15 was relocated to Montreal due to China’s COVID-19 restrictions.
While China is still chairing the conference, it has not invited world leaders to the summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping will also reportedly not attend.
The only head of state attending the event is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The United States is also not a full participant at the conference, having never ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – a multilateral treaty to protect nature at the global level. However, it will still play an important role at COP15, having sent a delegation to Montreal.
Experts are also calling for developed economies to be held accountable for the destruction of the environment in developing countries through the unsustainable acquisition of raw materials.
“Effective action will only be possible if greater recognition is given to the direct role that developed countries’ economies play in driving deforestation in countries like Indonesia, like Brazil, through unsustainable consumption,” said Ms Li.
“For example, studies have revealed that G7 countries have a significant deforestation footprint outside of their own countries, with an average loss of nearly four trees per person each year.”
Biodiversity targets at previous conferences have not been met, amid challenges including securing financing.
But as the situation grows more precarious, there are hopes that the global community can work together at the COP15 to bridge the divide.