HomeTechnologyBiodiversity conversations in recent days with many unresolved issues

Biodiversity conversations in recent days with many unresolved issues


Negotiators at a United Nations biodiversity conference on Saturday have yet to resolve most of the key issues related to protecting the world’s nature by 2030 and providing tens of billions of dollars to developing countries. to fund those efforts.

The United Nations Conference on Biodiversity, or COP15, is scheduled to conclude in Montreal on Monday and delegates rushed to agree on language in a framework that calls for protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea areas by 2030. a goal known as “30 by 30”. Currently, 17% of terrestrial areas and 10% of marine areas globally are protected.

They also have to establish funding amounts that would go towards financing projects to create protected areas and restore marine and other ecosystems. Early drafts of the frameworks called for closing a $700 billion funding gap by 2030. Most of it would come from subsidy reform in the agriculture, fisheries and energy sectors, but they also call for tens of thousands of millions of dollars in new funds that would flow from the rich to the poor nations.

“Since the start of the negotiations, we have consistently seen some countries weaken ambition. Ambition must return,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, adding that they needed a “clear conservation goal” that “puts the world on a clear trajectory towards delivering a positive future for nature.”

Canada’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, expressed more optimism. Guilbeault told The Associated Press Saturday morning that he has heard that “few people are talking about red lines” and that means “people are willing to talk. People are willing to negotiate.”

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“I have heard a lot of support for the ambition from all corners of the world,” Guilbeault said. “Everyone wants to leave here with an ambitious deal.”

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, told reporters on Saturday afternoon that she was encouraged by the progress, especially regarding the commitment of resources, but that it had not yet been reached. an agreement.

“The negotiating teams have more work to do. They have to turn the promises made into plans, ambitions and actions,” he said.

Government ministers and officials in some 190 countries largely agree that protecting biodiversity should be a priority, and many compare such efforts to climate talks that concluded last month in Egypt.

Climate change Along with habitat loss, pollution and development have hit the world’s biodiversity, with a 2019 estimate warning that one million plant and animal species face extinction within decades, a rate of loss 1,000 times greater. than expected. About 50,000 wild species are used routinely by humans, and 1 in 5 people in the 8 billion people in the world they depend on those species for food and income, according to the report.

But they are struggling to agree on what that protection looks like and who will pay for it.

Financing has been one of the most contentious issues, with delegates from 70 African, South American and Asian countries walking out of negotiations on Wednesday. They returned several hours later.

Brazil, speaking on behalf of developing countries, said in a statement that a new funding mechanism dedicated to biodiversity will be established and that developed countries will provide $100 billion a year in financial grants to emerging economies until 2030.

“A strong and ambitious funding package is needed to match the ambition of the Global Biodiversity framework,” Leonardo Cleaver de Athayde, head of the Brazilian delegation, told the AP.

“This will cost a lot of money to implement. The goals are extremely ambitious and cost a lot of money,” he continued. “Developing countries will bear a greater burden in implementing them because most of the biodiversity resources are in developing countries. They need international support.”

Donor countries, the European Union and 13 countries, responded on Friday with a statement pledging to increase funding for biodiversity. They noted that they doubled spending on biodiversity from 2010 to 2015 and committed several billion more dollars in biodiversity funds since then.

Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister for Overseas, Commonwealth Territories, Energy, Climate and Environment, acknowledged that the focus cannot be just on popular protection measures like the 30 by 30 target.

“30 for 30 is a primary goal, but you can’t deliver 30 for 30 without a whole range of other things being agreed to as well,” he said. “We are not going to have 30 for 30 without financing. We are not going to have it unless other countries do what Costa Rica has done and break the link between agricultural productivity and land degradation and deforestation. And we won’t be able to do any of these things if we don’t address … subsidies.”

Even the objectives of protection are still the subject of disputes. Many countries believe that 30% is an admirable goal, but some countries are pushing to water down the language to allow, among other things, sustainable activities in those areas that conservationists fear could result in destructive logging and mining. Others want forms of linguistic reference to better manage the other 70% of the world that would not be protected.

Other disagreements revolve around the best way to share the benefits of genetic resources and enshrine the rights of indigenous groups in any agreement. Some indigenous groups want direct access to funding and a voice in the designation of protected areas that impact indigenous peoples.

“Any protected area that affects indigenous peoples must have the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples, otherwise there will be the same old patterns of indigenous peoples being displaced by protected areas,” Atossa Soltani, director of global strategy for the Sacred Amazon. Headwaters Initiative, an alliance of 30 indigenous nations in Ecuador and Peru working to permanently protect 86 million acres of rainforest, in an email interview.

The other challenge is to include language, similar to the Paris Agreement on climate change, that creates a stronger system for reporting and verifying the progress that countries are making. Many point to the flaws in the 2010 biodiversity framework, in which only six of the 20 targets were partially met before the 2020 deadline.

“It is very important that the parties see what the others are doing. It is important for civil society, people like you, to keep track of our progress or sometimes, sadly, the lack thereof,” Guilbeault said. “It’s an important tool to help keep our feet on the fire. If it is effective in the weather. We should have it in the wild too.”

Follow Michael Casey on Twitter: @mcasey1

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