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A new global biodiversity fund aimed at ramping up critical nature restoration and renewal — objectives set out at a UN summit last year — was ratified Thursday by the international community.

At a gathering in Vancouver, Canada and Britain announced they would provide a combined $160 million in seed money to get the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund off the ground.

"Everything begins with this effort," Manuel Rodriguez, head of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), said about the fund's official launch at a news conference, calling it a "hugely positive moment."

The GEF assembly brought together 1,500 people from around the world, including environmental activists, government officials, leaders of business and academia, and Indigenous peoples.

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