Turkey has withdrawn from hosting the United Nations’ Cop16 biodiversity summit in 2024, citing three large earthquakes in February that devastated parts of the country.
The nature summit, which will be the first since governments agreed this decade’s biodiversity targets at Cop15 in Montreal last December, had been scheduled to take place in Turkey in October next year to discuss progress on the agreement.
In a statement, the UN convention on biological diversity announced that Turkey had withdrawn due to “a force majeure situation”, inviting other countries to offer to host the conference. It is hoped the scheduled dates – 21 October to 1 November – will not change. Biodiversity summits take place every two years, unlike the climate Cops, which take place annually.
France, the UK, Switzerland and Spain are all possible replacement destinations for the conference, where governments will discuss how they are meeting targets to protect 30% of land and sea, reform $500bn of environmentally damaging subsidies, and restore 30% of the planet’s degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems.
The buildup to Cop15 was also disrupted, delayed several times by the coronavirus pandemic and moved from the Chinese city of Kunming to Montreal because of Covid travel restrictions.
Governments have not yet met a target they have set for themselves on biodiversity since the convention began, and the agreement at Cop15 was hailed as a turning point amid warnings that humanity is pushing Earth beyond its limits.
Cop16 will be an important test of international commitment to the ambitious targets, which need to be met by the end of the decade.
David Cooper, interim head of the secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, said the Turkish government withdrew due to “a force majeure situation, created by the three destructive earthquakes that occurred in February 2023”.
He said: “The government of Türkiye has expressed its regrets that it had to take this decision. The secretariat has reiterated its condolences to the government of Türkiye for the losses and conveyed its solidarity in facing the difficult decision taken by the government in response to the current situation.”
Informal talks on progress since Cop15 will be held at the climate Cop28 in Dubai later this year, which begins in late November.
Source : TheGuardian