Development news

“Extractivism” must be front and centre at COP15

December 12, 2022
rainforest, Amazon, Peru Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo: Renting C / Unsplash

The UN Conference on Biological Diversity (COP15) is taking place until 19 December in Montreal, Canada. Governments from around the world have come together to agree on new targets for nature for the post-2020 period. The article by Rosemary Collard and Jessica Dempsey from the Guardian argues that “extractivism” needs to be central on the Cop15 in order to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

“Extractism” vs. protected areas

“At the biodiversity Cop taking place in Montreal, much attention will focus on a policy proposal calling for 30% of the planet’s land and oceans to be protected by 2030, known as 30×30. Protected areas have their place in addressing the biodiversity crisis, but we also know that they are insufficient. Since the 1970s, they have increased fourfold globally, expanding to about 17% of the planet, but extraction rates have more than tripled. This unrelenting expansion of forestry, mining, monoculture farming and fossil fuel developments is a central driver of biodiversity loss. Ending or at least reducing “extractivism” must be front and centre at Cop15.”

“Yet across all political lines and in countries around the world, the story goes that these massive developments bring us all wellbeing: jobs that put food on the table and taxes that fund education and healthcare.(…) Extractivism may be robust and durable itself, but it is not creating robust and durable conditions of life for all. It creates deep insecurity and extreme danger (…).”

“Internationally, extractivism is centrally implicated in the uneven costs of the climate crisis, an issue forced to the top of the Cop27 climate agenda by Indigenous people, activists and global south countries. Beyond this, polluted extractive sites dispossess Indigenous and local people, while minerals, lumber and oil typically flow elsewhere, enriching distant shareholders, states and CEOs.”

The article was first published by Rosemary Collard, associate professor at Simon Fraser University and Jessica Dempsey, associate professor and co-director of the Centre for Climate Justice at the University of British Columbia in the Guardian.