The well-being of people depends on nature, as the development of societies relies on it. That is why the famous British economist Sir Partha Dasgupta has made an urgent call to understand biodiversity as a resource, as physical capital or human capital, reinforcing that nature -natural capital- is also the basis of our economies.
Biodiversity, and with it human well-being, are facing a crisis of enormous proportions. In 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) estimated that one million species are threatened with extinction. The World Bank has underlined that the loss of biodiversity is a challenge for the development of humanity: a collapse of some services provided by nature – such as pollination or the supply of food from fishing – can generate a drop in the Product Global Gross Domestic (GDP) by 2.3% annually by 2030, with low- and middle-income countries expected to be hardest hit.
COP15, which is taking place in Montreal, Canada, is an opportunity for the conservation of biodiversity as we know it today. In the face of the crises of biodiversity loss and climate change affecting the planet, there is a need to agree on a global biodiversity framework with a defined timeframe to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. All parties need to commit to protecting at least 30% of land, inland waters and oceans by 2030, with effective conservation involving indigenous peoples and local communities, with ongoing monitoring and funding accordingly.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has identified from its work in more than 70 countries some key problems facing biodiversity conservation: countries do not have sufficient budgets to conserve nature; funding instruments for nature conservation lack replicability and generate distrust; there is a lack of substantial agreements on environmental protection mechanisms; there is no monitoring of the commitments made and the coverage of the protection of soil, oceans and freshwater systems is still insufficient.
Chile must advance in concrete measures that allow a leap forward in the conservation of biodiversity: it is urgent to approve the bill establishing the Service for Biodiversity and Protected Areas (SBAP). This initiative strengthens the country’s environmental institutions, with a nature-focused public service, with more and better tools to deal with threats such as the management of invasive alien species, with strict regulation of protected areas. In particular, it is necessary to increase the funding of the bill, which allows progress in bridging the funding gap for conservation, which sees us among the worst countries in the world.
In short, COP15 is a decisive instance both for generating short and long-term commitments, global and local, and for mobilizing resources towards conservation. As a country, we must take a leap forward in nature conservation by passing the bill creating the SBAP with increased funding.