Participants in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP15, have adopted the Kunming Declaration, which pledges to launch a new framework to protect global biodiversity, to replace targets set 11 years ago.
The online meeting was hosted in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming.
The declaration acknowledges "with grave concern that the unprecedented and interrelated crises of biodiversity loss and ocean degradation pose an existential threat to our society and our planet."
It stresses the need for nations to "accelerate and strengthen the development and update of biodiversity strategies and action plans to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity."
It commits to ensuring the adoption and implementation of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
The Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted in 2010 in Japan aimed to halve the rate of loss of natural habitats, including forests, by 2020, among other goals.
But most of the targets were left unachieved. It remains to be seen what ambitious goals COP15 will adopt, as conflicts of interest remain between developed and developing nations.
The UN meeting on biodiversity will be held in two parts.
The second event is scheduled to be held in-person in April and May next year. Countries are expected to finalize and adopt the proposed framework.