Australia is presented with a unique chance‌ to halt and reverse biodiversity loss ⁣through ambitious law ⁤and policy reform.⁢ The federal government is currently in the ‌process of rewriting the​ national environmental laws and updating the Strategy for Nature. The revised strategy will include goals for the restoration of degraded areas. This reform is partly driven by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a 2022 United Nations treaty signed by almost ‌200 countries ‍committing to⁤ address the biodiversity crisis. It includes a pledge to achieve 30% of degraded ​land, water, coastal and marine ecosystems “under effective restoration” by 2030.

Understanding the 30% Restoration ⁢Target

The global framework contains ​23 targets, to be “initiated‍ immediately ⁢and completed by 2030”. The restoration target ⁤obliges countries to ensure that by⁤ 2030 at least 30% of areas‌ of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and ⁢marine and coastal ecosystems are⁣ under effective restoration. This is ‌to ‍enhance biodiversity ‌and​ ecosystem functions and services,⁢ ecological integrity ⁤and connectivity. However, ‌this⁢ restoration target is‌ open to interpretation at the domestic level. Some ‌responses could be very ambitious, while others ‌would barely shift us ‍from the status quo.‌ Australia has​ an opportunity to lead here. We can show ⁣the world how to restore land and water for the benefit ⁢of all.

Scaling Up Restoration ⁢Efforts

Australia has signed the framework and is currently considering how to implement it domestically. ‍If Australia ​decides to interpret the⁢ restoration target broadly and commit to restoring ⁣larger⁤ areas of land ‌and water through more ambitious⁢ standards, there will be other issues to contend​ with.‍ For example, ⁤one study identified a lack of ‌funding and ​complex legal requirements as barriers to upscaling restoration in marine and coastal areas. In particular, having ‌to apply for ‌numerous government permits ⁣for​ restoration can slow progress⁢ and lead people ‍to⁣ scale back ‍their plans.⁣ To meet the 30% target, the government will ​need‌ to reconsider how to fund restoration and ⁤streamline legal processes.

Australia Setting the Example

Ultimately, we argue countries should have discretion over how and‍ where to⁤ implement restoration based on their individual circumstances. But we⁤ also think the global framework could be supplemented by ⁤standardized terminology‌ and metrics to allow genuine‌ comparison of‌ countries’ ‍progress towards the⁢ global targets. ​Australia has an ⁣opportunity to⁢ take a leading role‌ in this area and reverse our legacy ⁤of biodiversity⁤ loss. Interpreting the 30% restoration target broadly and ambitiously would set us on a⁤ path towards achieving ⁣meaningful⁣ outcomes for biodiversity and make ⁣Australia a world⁣ leader in restoration.