The interim negotiations in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) ended without much progress. Delegates from the 196 participating countries worked for around a week in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on a draft for a species protection agreement that is to be agreed at the actual COP15 in December in Canada. It remains to be seen whether it will be possible to enshrine species protection in an internationally binding treaty similar to the Paris climate protection agreement of 2015.
“Nairobi was a flop,” said Thilo Maack, Biodiversity Coordinator at Greenpeace Germany. “There is a huge gap between the grandiose rhetoric for the protection of nature and the status of the negotiating text.” Maack called for a concrete timetable for implementation and a decision to provide sufficient resources and funding.
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The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) spoke of a “fatal standstill” in the negotiations. There is still a lack of ambitious commitments by the rich countries in the Global North, including Germany, for the international financing of the poorer countries in the Global South, said Florian Titze, an expert on international politics at WWF Germany.
“Most of the time was spent bickering over technical issues, with major decisions left unresolved and deferred to the COP,” said Brian O’Donnell, Campaign for Nature director. With its “30×30” goal, the initiative is promoting a total of 30 percent of the world’s land and water surface as nature reserves by 2030.
Quarrel over fertilizer and money
By 2030, some interim goals are to be achieved in species protection, which should bring the goal of the agreement within reach that mankind will live “in harmony with nature” by 2050 at the latest. One point of contention here is whether the reduction of pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture should appear in the text of the contract. According to one delegate, there is “little support” for this push by the EU: representatives of the Global South point to the need for increased food production because of the food crisis that has gripped large parts of the world as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine.
The funding of species protection measures is also controversial among the delegates.
UN Secretariat: partly “good progress”
The secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), on the other hand, spoke of some “good progress” by governments. At the end of the conference, delegates presented a global plan to slow the steady loss of species. “These efforts are significant, although we recognize that the text requires additional work,” said CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.
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COP15 takes place in Montreal from December 5th to 17th. The meeting was actually planned in Kunming, China; however, as a result of the corona pandemic, it was relocated to Canada.
This week, a UN conference in Lisbon will also deal with the protection of the world’s oceans. Scientists are already warning of an impending sixth major global species extinction that, in combination with the climate crisis, could have unforeseeable consequences.
ehl/rb (dpa, afp, kna)