Colombia Confirmed as Host of Next UN Biodiversity Talks

(FILES) Aerial view showing the Pira Parana River, Vaupes province, Colombia, on November 10, 2023. Colombia will host the next COP-16 UN biodiversity summit, which will take place from October 21 to November 1st, 2024, the international organisation said in a bulletin on December 15, 2023. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) decided in Montreal to accept its bid after Turkey withdrew its candidacy due to the devastating earthquakes last February. (Photo by Juan Pablo Pino / AFP)

Montreal, Canada - Colombia was officialy confirmed Friday as the host of the the UN's next biodiversity summit to be held in late 2024 after Turkey backed out.

The COP16 biodiversity summit would follow up on a landmark deal at the last talks in 2022 in Montreal which promised to preserve 30 percent of the planet's land and seas by 2030.

It comes as climate change threatens an increasing number of species, with 25 percent of the world's freshwater fish species at risk of extinction, according to the latest red list assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Meanwhile invasive plant and animal species introduced intentionally and unintentionally by humans in new ecosystems are exacerbating the extinction crisis and causing global economic losses of hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Susana Muhamad, Colombia's minister of environment and sustainable development, said: "This is going to be a great opportunity for one of the most biodiverse nations in the world," adding it "sends a message from Latin America to the world about the importance of climate action and the protection of life."

The Montreal summit also raised pledges to commit $30 billion a year for developing countries to halt human-caused extinction of threatened species.

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which formally approved Colombia's bid, had been urgently seeking a host for the talks that are scheduled from 21 October to 1 November 2024.

David Cooper, the Convention's acting executive secretary, said: "The Secretariat is delighted to have the Government of Colombia as host of COP 16.

"Colombia is home to tremendous biodiversity, is an inspiring example of how to engage with indigenous peoples and local communities and is at the forefront of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity."

Unlike the climate COP, the biodiversity COP -- which stands for Conference of Parties -- takes place every two years.

Turkey, which pulled out of hosting duties citing the need to recover from earthquakes, has offered to hold climate talks in 2026.


© Agence France-Presse

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