China Pledges $230 Million to Protect Biodiversity

COP15 China pledges to fund biodiversity protection

At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals from going extinct.

Why This Matters

The Kunming Biodiversity Fund brings the world one step closer to protecting 30% of all lands and waters by 2030. With over one million species now threatened due to human activity, some estimate that one-third of all plant and animal life may be extinct by 2070. The world has also failed to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Targets established in Japan in 2010.

Greenpeace's Global Policy Advisor for East Asia, Li Shuo, said in a statement: "China's actions at home can have great impacts on the global biodiversity movement. Yesterday's commitment to fund biodiversity protection at a larger scale could be the impetus others need to direct finance towards protecting biodiversity."

More to Come

In addition to the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, President Xi announced a new national park plan that will bring 88,800 square miles of land -- including panda and tiger habitats -- under increased protection.

Still, environmental groups are concerned that China's promises aren't enough and note that Xi has yet to commit to protecting 30% of his nation's lands and waters by 2030. "The Kunming Declaration gives us a hint on China's leadership style. The declaration made a reference to the 30×30 target but did not indicate if Beijing is on board with it or not," said Shuo. "Much remains to be seen on whether Beijing can spearhead a delicate multilateral process."

The group will meet in Kunming again next spring for Phase 2 of the conference to set global conservation targets for the next decade.

Convention on Biological Diversity: The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, July 9, 2021.

Center for Western Priorities: Why America must protect 30x30 (w/ Sen. Tom Udall, Dr. Enric Sala), June 18, 2020.