A "Paris moment" for nature.
This vision has been invoked again and again in recent weeks during the World Conference on Nature in Montreal.
Some chief negotiators were already worried: the Paris climate agreement of December 2015 is an international treaty.
Not so with the World Convention on Nature.
A global target agreement was agreed in Montreal.
It cannot claim to be binding under international law, even if resourceful lawyers point out that the new protective shield for nature will not only be stretched over animals and plants, but also to protect indispensable human rights.
Legal scholars may one day think about the “Paris moment” as a legal category.
In cold Montreal, in the harsh world climate, it was about creating a mood: a feeling of a common departure and collective responsibility for the big picture - in the midst of the many geopolitical conflicts.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres had called on the representatives of the states to sign a “peace pact with nature”.
However, the “Paris moment” also reflects the longing to overcome the infirmity of multilateralism with a rescue plan for nature endangered by destruction and overexploitation and to reflect on the basis of human life.
The destruction of nature costs us dearly
So it was not just about saving the habitats of animals and plants: if we destroy nature, it will cost us dearly.
More than half of the global gross domestic product depends on nature: on fertile soil, water supplies, pollinating insects.
If one billion of the estimated eight billion animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, then this is not only an ecological disaster, but catastrophic for the living conditions of future generations.
Therefore, it is far more than romantic, politically correct rhetoric when the agreement states the goal of living “in harmony with Mother Earth”.
The catalog of goals was negotiated for years.
It didn't go well.
Even when the ministers arrived in Montreal, almost everything was still in the balance.
There is no single measure comparable to the 1.5 degree target for protecting the diversity of nature.
Only: If you set yourself many goals, you also risk a lot of arguments.
The concern that the Chinese presidency of the conference might sidestep the controversial points was not unfounded.
With an agreement on the lowest common denominator, the summit would have failed.
Of course compromises are needed
Of course, compromises had to be made.
Some obligations to change course in an environmentally compatible manner were omitted or weakened.
The framework also sometimes lacks clear indicators.
The goal of reducing the ecological footprint remains nebulous.
In order to make it concrete, one would have had to discuss global justice and distribution problems.
They will not disappear by leaving them aside again and again.
A lot of money is needed for the global protection of biodiversity, just as it is for international climate protection.
700 billion dollars a year are needed to slow down the loss of biodiversity and to finance a change of course that is compatible with nature.
The largest chunk, 500 billion dollars, is to be raised by dismantling and reallocating subsidies that are harmful to nature.
One of the good news from Montreal is that this requirement was not sacrificed to the compromise efforts despite massive resistance from some states.
It will soon have to be taken into account in the EU agricultural negotiations.
And even if bureaucratic requirements are not easy to celebrate: the protective shield for nature needs stable struts.
That is why it is so important that regulations are in place to translate the goals into measurable progress in the fight against the destruction of nature.
The agreement on monitoring is also one of the lessons from the climate protection debate.
If there is a single target that gives hope that the biodiversity crisis will finally emerge from the shadow of the climate crisis, it is the so-called 30 percent target.
Designating 30 percent of land and sea areas as protected areas and then protecting them accordingly is groundbreaking - even beyond the protected areas.
Helping nature out of distress is essential so that we don't get into more and more distress ourselves.
The summit was about a "Paris moment" for nature and a "Montreal moment" for us humans.