UN biodiversity summit moved from China over COVID-19 policy

Beijing, Jun 21 (AP) A United Nations summit on biodiversity will be held in Canada instead of China, organisers announced Tuesday, the second major international event to be moved from China because of its strict anti-coronavirus policies.

China’s environment ministry said the meeting will be held in December in Montreal, where the secretariat for the summit organisation is based. The ministry said in a statement that the decision was made after comprehensively considering the pandemic situation at home and abroad.

China withdrew last month as host of soccer’s 2023 Asian Cup. It has also indefinitely postponed the 2022 Asian Games, a sporting competition that was scheduled for September in the city of Hangzhou.

The country has stuck to a strict zero-COVID policy that has limited international visitors and repeatedly locked down parts or all of cities to stamp out any outbreak. The approach is increasingly at odds with other major countries that have loosened restrictions and moved toward living with the disease.

The biodiversity summit is similar to the more well-known UN climate summit. Countries that have joined a global agreement on preserving the world’s plant and animal species meet regularly to try to achieve the goals laid out in the pact.

China will continue to serve as president of the upcoming summit and the theme and logo will remain unchanged, the environment ministry said.

Beijing, the Chinese capital, hosted the Winter Olympics in February by creating a bubble that kept participants isolated from the general population in China. (AP)