CANBERRA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Conservationists have urged the Australian government to take a leadership role at the United Nations (UN) COP15 biodiversity conference.
Delegates will meet in Montreal, Canada, from Dec. 7 for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to discuss plans to halt the decline of ecosystems and wildlife.
Australia will be represented by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.
Kelly O'Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), said Plibersek had an opportunity at COP15 or the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference to champion ambitious international targets.
"Australia's leadership is critically important because Australia has an abundance of nature and those abundant species aren't found anywhere else," she told the Guardian Australia on Monday.
Leaders at COP15 are expected to adopt a new plan to protect biodiversity under the CBD that would set a target of zero new extinctions and 30 percent of land and sea areas protected for conservation by 2030.
During negotiations on the plan, Australia will focus on reducing extinction risk, control and eradication of invasive species, participation of Indigenous people in the biodiversity framework, conservation, marine and coastal biodiversity and waste management.
Plibersek said she is optimistic about striking a deal that can be translated into action.
"The conference for nature this month in Montreal could be what Paris was for climate. We must seize this opportunity," she said.
"The Labor government has already committed to protecting 30 percent of our land and oceans by 2030. We will be calling for other countries to do the same."