Cop15 update: Delegates Walk Out in Protest

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Negotiations at the biodiversity-focused COP15 continue in Montreal, Canada, but the signs so far are not encouraging.  On Tuesday 13th December delegates from African, Asian and Latin American countries grew so exasperated with their developed nations counterparts that they walked out of the meeting in protest.  As has so often been the case in COP meetings both on the climate and biodiversity sides, the key point of contention is finance.

    A vast debt to the natural world

    Vast amounts of capital are needed to finance conservation and restoration of natural environments around the world.  The existing Global Environment Facility (GEF) has historically channelled much of the funding to Indonesia, Mexico, India, Brazil and China.  Smaller developing nations argue that at the very least the latter two should be reclassified as donors rather than recipients, given their current wealth.  European countries broadly agree with this concept, but do not want to sanction the creation of a new fund as is being proposed at the conference.  The US is not a signatory of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which means that the onus is very much on the wealthy European nations to provide the necessary financing, which adds to the pressure on the current negotiatations.

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    Slow progress in some areas

    On a more positive note, there is reported progress being made on the details of the 23 conservation targets that are intended for the final agreement, which it is hoped will be signed by the end of the conference on December 19th.  Delegates were also looking to the arrival of government ministers on Thursday 15th December to help address the most contentious areas.  The most visible targets of COP15 are the 30×30 goal of protecting 30% of the planet by 2030.  Another key objective involves requiring all businesses to report on their dependence and impact on nature by 2030, from which date they would be compelled to begin cutting their negative impacts in half.

    Culling harmful subsidies

    In addition to raising new capital for nature conservation, the conference is also considering the rapid elimination of existing government subsidies of industries and sectors that are significantly harming biodiversity.  With time running out, COP15 only has a few days left to construct nature’s equivalent of the Paris climate agreement.  It all comes down to money, and the hard realisation of the enormous global cost of having treated ecosystem and natural resources for granted in the quest for constant growth.


    Image courtesy of kbers from Pixabay
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