UN Convention on Biodiversity The conference opens in Montreal on Wednesday with a huge challenge: to conclude a historic agreement in two weeks. It is presented as a “last chance” to save species and natural environments from irreversible destruction.
Representatives from more than 190 countries are meeting until December 19
But, like the climate, time is running out: a million species are at risk of extinction, a third of land is severely degraded, fertile soil is disappearing, while pollution and climate change are accelerating the degradation of the oceans.
Humanity as a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”
“Humanity has become a weapon of mass destruction,” says the UN. The secretary-general thundered during the summit’s curtain-raiser on Tuesday because of “our boundless appetite for unbridled and unequal economic growth”.
This COP15, in the shadow of the twin sister, COPs on climate, he declared, is “a chance to stop this extravaganza of destruction”. However, the negotiations have been stalled for three years.
It is a question of ratifying a treaty with about twenty objectives, the most important of which aims to protect 30% of lands and seas. Others provide for the restoration of natural environments, the reduction of pesticides, the fight against invasive species, or the conditions for sustainable fisheries and agriculture.
A staggering expense for years to come
Antonio Guterres recalled that the cost of environmental degradation was estimated at 3000 billion dollars per year by 2030.
Before his speech, a dozen aboriginal activists protested during a speech by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, explaining the fever caused by the environmental crisis in these communities.
Their territories contain 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. One of the burning issues to be addressed is recognition of their role in the final agreement, including funding.
No progress in preliminary talks
In an attempt to reach a conclusion, three days of preliminary discussions were held from December 3 to 5. But they have ended without significant progress – only five objectives have been approved – prompting growing concern among experts and NGOs.
“This summit is an opportunity the world must not miss, perhaps the last chance for governments to turn the tide and save our precious life support system,” WWF Advocacy Officer Bernadette Fischler Hooper said on Tuesday.
“We are on the finish line and it’s time for everyone to take a step forward, it’s becoming critical,” Inger Andersen, head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), said on Tuesday.
No world leaders in Montreal
But the summit, led by China and headed to Canada because of Beijing’s zero-covid policy, is taking place without the support of world leaders, although they turned out in large numbers for the climate COP in Sharm-el-Sheikh in November. Therefore, from December 15, environment ministers are responsible for bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.
The stated ambition is to seal a deal similar to the Paris Agreement on climate in 2015. But some fear “planned strategies to provoke a situation similar to Copenhagen”, where the COP climate failed in 2009. NGO Awas.
To avoid this, countries must agree on measurable and monitorable targets to avoid repeating the failure of the previous framework adopted in Aichi, Japan in 2010.
Call the Biodiversity Fund
Funding from rich countries to developing countries will also be a decisive point. A Southern coalition has called for $100 billion a year for biodiversity, climate, and more, and $700 billion a year by 2030.
Some countries want to set up a fund dedicated to biodiversity, which is opposed by rich countries, which prefer to develop existing channels, especially public development banks.
The thorny issue of biopiracy is also a source of obstacles: many countries are demanding that rich countries finally share the benefits of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals derived from resources protected in the South.
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