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A long way to go before the UN Biodiversity Plan is drawn up

#long #Biodiversity #Plan #drawn

After nearly a week of difficult talks in Nairobi, delegates from nearly 200 nations have made little progress in drafting a global compact to protect nature from human activity.

Meetings to conclude Sunday were aimed at ironing out differences between the 196 members of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, just under six months ahead of a crucial COP15 summit in December.

The ambitious goal is to develop a draft text outlining a global framework for “living in harmony with nature” by 2050, with key targets to be achieved by 2030.

Many hope that when completed, the landmark deal will be as ambitious in its goals to protect life on earth as the Paris Agreement was on climate change.

But talks in the Kenyan capital made slow progress.

“Most of the time was spent in technical bickering, with key decisions left unresolved and postponed for the COP,” said Brian O’Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature.

“It is now crucial that environment ministers and heads of state get involved, take responsibility and save this process,” he told AFP.

Delegates in Nairobi spent hours discussing wording or introducing new elements rather than reconciling differing viewpoints and refining the text rather than revising it.

– “Security Question for Humanity” –

One delegate spoke of feeling “desperate” on Saturday night. Another described the Nairobi Round as “a step” and expressed hope for more informal meetings before December.

“We must continue the dialogue with the intention of simplifying and reducing the brackets (on the controversial issues) and alternatives,” said Vinod Mathur, head of India’s National Biodiversity Agency.

For this to happen, Francis Ogwal of Uganda, one of the two co-chairs of the Kenya talks, warned “there needs to be a very big change of heart in the way we negotiate”.

Proposals include a global commitment to reserve at least 30 percent of land and oceans for protected areas by the end of the decade, and efforts to reduce plastic pollution and agriculture.

But time is ticking as a million species face extinction and tropical forests are disappearing, while intensive agriculture is depleting soil and pollution is affecting even the most remote areas of the planet.

“It’s no longer just an environmental problem… It’s increasingly a problem that affects our economy, our society, our health and well-being,” Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said at a news conference.

“It’s a security issue for humanity.”

– “Crucial” to fix the food system –

Lambertini accused some countries of “delaying tactics” and pointed the finger at Brazil in particular. Argentina and South Africa were also blamed behind the scenes.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks concerns agriculture, particularly the targets to reduce pesticides and fertilizers.

The European Union wants the pesticides issue to be explicitly mentioned in the text, but “there is little support” for this position, according to a delegate.

Delegates from the Global South have stressed the need to produce more as much of the planet is going through a major food crisis, dismissing any reference to agroecology, the application of ecological principles in agriculture.

“Agriculture is currently responsible for 70 percent of biodiversity loss,” said Guido Broekhoven of WWF International, adding that it is “absolutely crucial” to fix a system where 30 percent of food is wasted.

The countries are also divided on the question of the funding required to implement the biodiversity goals.

Brazil, backed by 22 countries including Argentina, South Africa, Cameroon, Egypt and Indonesia, again called on rich countries to allocate at least $100 billion annually through 2030 to help developing countries preserve their rich biodiversity.

The African bloc is also calling for a biodiversity fund, according to a country delegate.

Although the leaders of 93 countries pledged to end the biodiversity crisis in September 2020, the issue is struggling to gain as much traction on the international political agenda as climate change.

“We also need to see where our political leaders want us to be,” said Canadian Basile van Havre, co-chair of the Kenya talks.

“We’re looking to see who steps up to pick up that ball.”

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#long #Biodiversity #Plan #drawn

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