Nearly 200 countries on Monday reached an agreement at a United Nations biodiversity summit to protect 30% of land and marine areas by 2030. Currently, 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas have protected status.

The deal, known as 30-by-30, was adopted at the plenary session of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, in Montreal.

The deal calls for mobilising $200 billion (over Rs 16.5 lakh crore) by 2030 for biodiversity conservation initiatives from public and private sources as well as to reform $500 billion (over Rs 41 lakh crore) of environmentally damaging subsidies.

The signatories also aim to increase the money that goes to poor countries to at least $20 billion (over Rs 1.6 lakh crore) annually by 2025, and at least $30 billion (over Rs 2.4 lakh crore) a year by 2030.

Despite an objection from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the chair of the COP15 summit, Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu declared the deal approved, The Guardian reported.

A representative from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is home to lush tracts of rainforest, raised his reservations about the developed countries not creating a new fund for biodiversity, apart from the Global Environment Facility of the United Nations.

India had also sought a new and dedicated fund to help developing countries successfully implement a post-2020 global framework to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. While speaking for developing countries earlier, Brazil had said that developed countries must provide $100 billion (more than Rs 8 lakh crore) annually in financial grants to emerging economies until 2030.

After the agreement was passed on Monday, a representative from Cameroon said through a translator: “What we saw was a force of hand.”

But France’s minister for ecological transition Christophe Béchu, who headed the country’s delegation, called it a historic deal.

“It’s not a small deal,” he asserted. “It’s a deal with very precise and quantified objectives on pesticides, on reduction of loss of species, on eliminating bad subsidies. We double until 2025 and triple until 2030 the finance for biodiversity.”

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault acknowledged that many countries wanted “more things in the text and more ambition”.

He, however, added: “Six months ago, who would have thought we could get 30x30 in Montreal? We have an agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, to work on restoration, to reduce the use of pesticides. This is tremendous progress.”