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Earthquake-hit Turkey pulls out of hosting key UN nature talks

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Turkey has said it cannot host a major UN biodiversity meeting in 2024 as it reels from a series of devastating earthquakes this year, according to the UN body that oversees the talks, Agence France-Presse reported.

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said the Turkish government had decided to withdraw from presiding over the COP16 meeting “due to a force majeure situation created by the three destructive earthquakes that occurred in February 2023.”The COP16 talks will seek to build on a historic agreement reached at talks last year aimed at saving Earth’s lands, oceans and species from pollution, degradation and the climate crisis.That deal, hailed as “a peace pact with nature” and akin to the landmark Paris climate deal, was reached by the more than 190 countries that are part of the UN biodiversity process.In a letter published on its website this week, the CBD said Turkey had “expressed its regrets” about the decision to step down from leadership of the talks, which are currently slated to be held from Oct. 21 to Nov. 1 of next year.It said it would solicit offers from other countries to step in.

Last year’s deal, including pledges to secure 30 percent of the planet as a protected zone by 2030, came about after four years of sometimes fraught negotiations hampered by the pandemic.

Host country China ultimately presided over the final talks in Canada.

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