The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP15, kicked off a day earlier in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province. It attracts over 5,000 representatives from governments, international organizations, research institutes and enterprises.
"Our two-century-long experiment with burning fossil fuels, destroying forests, wilderness and oceans, and degrading the land, has caused a biosphere catastrophe," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his speech.
The development of ecological civilization should be taken as a guide to coordinate the relationship between humans and nature, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, adding that human activities need to be kept within the limits of the ecology and environment.
Themed "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," the meeting is the first global conference convened by the UN to highlight ecological civilization, a philosophy proposed by China.
Stressing that more than half of global gross domestic product depends on high-functioning biodiversity and ecosystem services, President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada said the economic benefits of protecting biodiversity outweigh the costs.
Britain’s Prince Charles urged taking bold decisions in this regard. He said the decisions "can regenerate hundreds of millions -- if not billions -- of hectares of degraded land throughout the world, thus protecting and restoring our planet’s biodiversity and making nature the engine of our economies."
COP15 will take place in two parts. The first part will last until Friday, with parallel activities featuring forums on topics including climate change and ecological conservation. The second part of the meeting, which is expected to be held next year, will review and make a decision on the "post-2020 global biodiversity framework," a blueprint for biodiversity conservation for the decade to come.
Calling for deeper awareness of the importance of protecting biodiversity, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt has made unremitting efforts to formulate the "post-2020 global biodiversity framework" and set achievable goals supported by a clear implementation mechanism.
"Kyrgyzstan is open and ready for active international cooperation, and only by joint efforts we could preserve the biodiversity of our planet and achieve desirable sustainable development in harmony with the environment," Zhaparov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that "objectives of nature conservation cannot be successfully addressed by any country individually. This is a common task for all states, for all humankind, without exaggeration."
"My country needs development financing in exchange for concentrated effort on conservation, and I would like to use the platform of this forum to invite partnerships for this most worthwhile cause," Marape said.
"It is certainly important that national priorities and specificities of each state be taken into account, and special attention be given to the needs of developing and least developed countries," Putin said.