Call for nations amid concerns over breakdown of UN biodiversity talks

As the UN COP15 biodiversity talks in Montreal enter the home stretch, CEOs from three of the world’s largest environmental NGOs on Friday sent a clear message to world leaders: time is running desperately short for countries to secure a global deal capable of turning the tide on biodiversity loss and safeguarding nature and people.

Critical to the package is embedding human rights for all, which has the power to make this agreement truly transformational.

Mobilising domestic and international finance from all sources, and getting this to where it will make a difference on the ground, remains essential to deliver on the global biodiversity framework (GBF).

International development finance is critical to further unlock further domestic public finance, as well as private and philanthropic finance.

The three leaders of key organisations — WWF International, The Nature Conservancy and BirdLife International — representing civil society warned that a deal with ambition lower than Aichi will put humanity at risk.

Countries must now resolve bracketed (yet to be agreed) text and rapidly work towards consensus and ambition on the most important political agreement for nature this decade, they said.

In one of the many high-level side events on Thursday, a bunch of donors made a small step towards reconciliation on the finance fight.

Essentially saying they’ve doubled biodiversity finance by 2015 and maintained an average of $5bn between 2015 and 2020 (verified by OECD), and want to do more ‘commensurate with ambition’ (aka the targets).

Ahead of the final football results expected this weekend, participation of 126 ministers and 77 deputy ministerial representatives from 140 parties as well as 60 heads of international organisations at the COP15 UN biodiversity conference that’s been taking place over the last two weeks here will also be uniting in the name of football.

Delegates will be encouraged to come together under the banner of one ‘Team Earth’ and score for nature in goalposts erected in the conference centre.

Over one million species are at risk of extinction. The catastrophic decline of nature loss around the world, only puts us at more risk of climate change impacts, pandemics and ecosystem collapse.

WWF encourages governments to show their support for ‘Team Earth’ by agreeing an ambitious global biodiversity framework next week, capable of halting and reversing nature loss by 2030 and securing a nature-positive world for both people and planet.

“Nature has been kicked, punched and thrown for far too long and it can only take so many strikes — soon it will be damaged beyond repair. The last two weeks have been our toughest match yet — and losing is not an option,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

“We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to turn this around for the 8 billion of us who call this planet our home. There’s no extra time, or next season — Montreal has to be the moment to score a goal for nature, we need all to unite behind Team Earth.”

A letter from the COP President has set up a path for informal ministerial-level consultations on the most controversial matters, including the global biodiversity framework; resource mobilization; digital sequence information; planning, monitoring, reporting, and review; and capacity building, and technical and scientific cooperation.

In the run-up to the conclusion of the COP15, European countries and other developed countries that are pressing in the negotiations to dilute the language that refers to indigenous territories in goal 3 of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and are refusing to adequately finance the protection of biodiversity.

Steven Gilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada, advocated for conservation of 30 per cent of land and sea areas by 2030 (30×30 target) as well as increased funding, and referred to Canada’s recent announcements to fund indigenous-led and international action for biodiversity, and to protect the world’s largest remaining ecologically intact watershed in Manitoba.

With only three days left before the end of COP15, there are still 700 brackets, as many elements of the text that still do not have consensus. We are concerned about the attempts to dilute the ambitions and the lack of progress in the discussions. If we cannot be ambitious in a non-binding text, when will we be? Life is between brackets. So is our future,” remarked Alice Jacobee, Global Youth Biodiversity Network.

Since December 6, young people from all over the world have been meeting and mobilising at the COP15 to influence stakeholders on the new biodiversity protection targets.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

20221216-234005

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