30 by 30 (or 30x30) is a worldwide initiative for governments to designate 30% of Earth's land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030. The target was proposed by a 2019 article in Science Advances, "A Global Deal for Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets", highlighting the need for expanded nature conservation efforts to mitigate climate change. Launched by the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People in 2020, more than 50 nations had agreed to the initiative by January 2021, which has increased to more than 100 countries by October 2022.
US$5 billion in funding for a project called the "Protecting Our Planet Challenge" was announced for the initiative in September 2021.
In December 2022, 30 by 30 was agreed at the COP15 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and became a target of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This includes the G7 and European Union.
30 by 30 is the third of 23 global biodiversity targets for 2030 in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted in December 2022:
- Ensure and enable that by 2030 at least 30 per cent of terrestrial, inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative, well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories, where applicable, and integrated into wider landscapes, seascapes and the ocean, while ensuring that any sustainable use, where appropriate in such areas, is fully consistent with conservation outcomes, recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories.
The European Commission's Biodiversity strategy for 2030 was proposed on May 20, 2020, as the European Union's contribution to a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The strategy contains several biodiversity-related commitments and actions to be delivered by 2030, including:
- increasing the European Union's network of terrestrial and marine protected areas, by expanding Natura 2000 areas, and providing strict protection of areas with very high biodiversity and climate value.
- restore more degraded ecosystems and manage them sustainably, by proposing binding nature restoration targets.
- strengthening governance of European Union biodiversity efforts, including expanded funding, improving implementation and tracking, and integrating biodiversity goals into public and business decision-making.
The plan includes turning 30% of EU territory to protected area by 2030 and 10% to strictly protected area. However as of 2023 EU is not on track to meet the targets.
In July 2023 after many debates the European parliament adopted a version of the Nature restoration law, aiming to restore nature on 20% of the territory of the European Union by 2030.
On January 27, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order on "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad". Among several initiatives to address the climate crisis, the order directed federal departments to issue a report within 90 days "recommending steps that the United States should take, working with State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders, to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030."
On 6 May 2022, the Biden administration issued Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, a preliminary report to the National Climate Task Force outlining the proposed principles, measures, and early focus areas for a national "ten-year, locally-led campaign to conserve and restore the lands and waters upon which we all depend". Participating federal agencies included the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Council on Environmental Quality.
The report identified eight principles to guide the effort:
- Pursue a Collaborative and Inclusive Approach to Conservation
- Conserve America’s Lands and Waters for the Benefit of All People
- Support Locally Led and Locally Designed Conservation Efforts
- Honor Tribal Sovereignty and Support the Priorities of Tribal Nations
- Pursue Conservation and Restoration Approaches that Create Jobs and Support Healthy Communities
- Honor Private Property Rights and Support the Voluntary Stewardship Efforts of Private Landowners and Fishers
- Use Science as a Guide
- Build on Existing Tools and Strategies with an Emphasis on Flexibility and Adaptive Approaches
The report outlined six early focus initiatives:
- Create more parks and safe outdoor opportunities in nature-deprived communities
- Support Tribally led conservation and restoration priorities
- Expand collaborative conservation of fish and wildlife habitats and corridors
- Increase access for outdoor recreation
- Incentivize and reward the voluntary conservation efforts of fishers, ranchers, farmers, and forest owners
- Create jobs by investing in restoration and resilience
The report proposed tracking progress through an American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, an accessible online database and mapping tool which would provide current information on lands and waters conserved and restored, and an annual America the Beautiful public report, which would track fish and wildlife populations, and progress on conservation and restoration efforts across the country.
On 7 October 2020, California governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order declaring it "the goal of the State to conserve at least 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030", and directing state agencies to develop and report strategies for achieving the goal by February 1, 2022. The order also established a California Biodiversity Collaborative composed of representatives of government agencies, Native tribes, experts, and other stakeholders.
The official report, Pathways to 30x30 California, was issued by the California Natural Resources Agency on 22 April 2022. The report outlines ten pathways, or strategies, to achieving California's biodiversity and protected area goals by 2030:
- Accelerate Regionally Led Conservation
- Execute Strategic Land Acquisitions
- Increase Voluntary Conservation Easements
- Enhance Conservation of Existing Public Lands and Coastal Waters
- Institutionalize Advance Mitigation
- Expand and Accelerate Environmental Restoration and Stewardship
- Strengthen Coordination Among Governments
- Align Investments to Maximize Conservation Benefits
- Advance and Promote Complementary Conservation Measures
- Evaluate Conservation Outcomes and Adaptively Manage
Controversies and International Reactions
Criticism from Members of the Scientific Community
Despite positive media coverage received by this global environmental decision, some scientists have nuanced the supposed benefits of this policy to cope with the biodiversity crisis. Hélène Soubelet, for example, underlined that in the last 60 years in Germany in protected areas, the decline in the number of insects neared 80%, thus nuancing the idea that protected areas enable to protect biodiversity. Kareiva, Lalasz and Marvier further underline that the rhythm at which wild species have been disappearing has increased, even though the number of protected areas raised from less than 10 000 in 1950 to over 100 000 in 2009. Some scientists thus seem to dispute the idea that there is a direct link between increase in the number of protected areas and slowdown of the biodiversity crisis.
Moreover, S. Counsel underlines that the protecting 30% of areas target is not enough, as nothing guarantees that the areas that will be chosen to be protected will be the most important and relevant ones to actually protect. More affluent nations would have the possibility to select vast natural parks and classify them as protected areas, without any additional benefit for flora and fauna.
Several NGOs have also underlined that the 30% target is not based on a scientific consensus, but is a random choice: why not 25% or 35% ? 
Accusations of Green Colonialism
The 30 by 30 initiative has been openly accused of embodying a form of green colonialism or green grabbing.
On November 30th, 2022, a group of NGOs composed of Amnesty International, Minority Rights Group International, and Rainforest Foundation UK wrote an open letter citing concerns about potential human and indigenous rights violations if the 30 by 30 plan were to be applied.
More broadly, the plan has been criticized for appropriating Indigenous lands under the guise of biodiversity conservation. The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs notably claimed the plan has “all the hallmarks of green colonialism”, due to its lack of consideration of Indigenous titles and rights. 
The COP15 included 196 parties in negotiations, with competing views regarding the adoption of the 30 by 30 target being wide-spread and well documented. The resulting agreement of the conference, the Convention on Biological Diversity, was signed by every party, with the exception of two: the United States and the Vatican.Towards the end of the talks, a negotiator from Democratic Republic of the Congo raised objections to the agreement, citing a lack of funding separate from the current Global Environment Facility (GEF). After a delay, COP15 president and Chinese environment minister Huang Runqiu overruled the objection due to a legal technicality, resulting in the passage of the agreement. Delegates from the DRC, Cameroon, and Uganda were reportedly displeased with the outcome.After the agreement was passed, the DRC’s government announced that it would not recognize it as valid.
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'In Canada, where I come from, I can speak to this directly, where we are committing to "30×30," millions and millions of dollars for biodiversity protection, Indigenous protection and conservation areas, yet we are not talking about ending the expansion of the Alberta tar sands. We are not talking about ending the destruction to biodiversity in other areas. We're creating the optics of sacrifice zones, so we can choose which areas to save, which areas to diminish. And this results in human rights abuses, Indigenous rights abuses and the risking the planetary health for everyone.' - Eriel Deranger, indigenous rights activist
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- "Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad". The White House. 27 January 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
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- "Executive Order N-82-20" (PDF). State of California. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
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- Counsel, S (March 7, 2022). "Conservationists claim 30x30 is supported by science. It isn't". REDD-Monitor.
- "« Protéger » 30% des terres d'ici 2030 : un désastre pour les peuples et une mauvaise idée pour la planète". Amnesty International (in French). 2022-12-02. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
- "FNLC Critical of the Continued Marginalization of Indigenous Peoples at COP15". UBCIC. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
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- Greenfield, Patrick (2022-12-19). "Objection by DRC sours 'paradigm-changing' Cop15 biodiversity deal". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-08-21.