Belgian minister Khattabi keeps promise about biodiversity


Minister of Sustainability and the Green Deal Zakia Khattabi promised - and this was witnessed live by many people - that she would do what she can to protect global biodiversity. She made this promise on Dec. 2 when she spoke to a full aula to introduce Dr. Jane Goodall's public lecture in Brussels, that generated much media attention.

Author: Kathelijne Bonne.

Portecting biodiversity should indeed be a top priority. Ignace Schops, environmentalist and moderator of Jane's lecture, told the audience: today, one million species are threatened with extinction! And that number is on the rise! Anouska Plasmeijer, general director of the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium, added with a wink, "Zakia, we'll hold you to your promise!"

And Zakia did. Together with other ministers, she joined COP15 to plea for binding deal for biodiversity. 

Only the night before, I read that negotiations at the UN COP15 Biodiversity Summit had completely stalled and no deal was reached. After all, economic growth is still more important than biodiversity, for those who have not yet realized that without biodiversity no dignified human life, let alone welfare, is possible. This blindness has caused global biodiversity to collapse, as the IPCC report states.

But through her media channels, Zakia announced today that despite many obstacles, an agreement has been reached on an overarching framework to protect biodiversity. The framework will protect 30% of all oceans and 30% of all life on the land. In the oceans, this will  halt and even reverse the severe decline of fish stocks, and all ocean life (until now, a culture of ocean grabbing prevailed). The same applies to life on land.

Quoting Zakia:

"The 196 countries commit to jointly protect 30 per cent of the land and 30 per cent of the oceans by 2030 and tackle pollution together, including in the area of pesticides. Countries should integrate biodiversity into all sectors and policies and align financial flows with the new biodiversity framework. The agreement also recognizes the link between the climate and biodiversity crises, and how to address them simultaneously."

She adds:

"It was a challenging context. But everyone realized that we cannot cut off the branch we're on. After all, this agreement has to do with the survival of mankind. A necessary balance has been reached and we must build on that from now on."

Well done Zakia! And hopefully the good sounding words will now be turned into action. 

As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says:

we must make a peace treaty with nature.

Link to the article on Zakia Khattabi's website.

Written by Kathelijne Bonne, geologist and soil scientist. I also write on the Planeetzusjes (Dutch) and GondwanaTalks. 

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